Costco has quickly become a favorite bulk grocery store for many shoppers around the world, ranking second in total revenues only to Walmart. It may have many great features, including offering product samples, but will Costco allow you to bring your dog in to shop with you?
In compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities) regulations, Costco does allow you to bring in a service dog. However, it seems they won’t allow in emotional support animals or other pets, no matter how much you want to take Fido along with you to go shopping for bulk groceries.
But which dog qualifies as which category of pet? If you’re wondering what the difference is between a service dog and an emotional support animal, then read on. We’ll dive further into the details below.
Different Pet Categories
Let’s take a look at what qualifies as a dog that Costco will allow inside their store. First off, a service dog (allowed in the warehouse) is an animal that has been specially trained by qualified individuals or institutions to assist an individual affected by certain types of disabilities.
Service dogs may be trained to perform any number of tasks, but the main task they are trained to carry out will reflect the capabilities of their owner. If their owner is blind, for example, a service dog will be trained to help them be aware of their surroundings when out in public and at home.
An emotional support animal (not allowed in the warehouse) differs in many aspects from a service dog. Most of the time, they lack the special training needed to be able to carry out a specific task for their owner.
As the name suggests, their main purpose is to provide emotional support. They may help to alleviate loneliness and depression in their owners by providing them companionship, but this alone does not qualify them as service animals.
It’s important to note the differentiation between these two categories of animals, as service dogs are not technically recognized as “pets,” but as assets who assist their owners in the daily functions of life where they are not able to be self-sufficient themselves.
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What to Expect When Bringing a Service Dog into Costco
If you need to bring a service dog into Costco to help you shop, you can expect Costco employees to approach you and ask a few questions to gauge whether the dog’s presence is necessary or not.
A few questions they may ask include whether or not the dog is required to attend you due to a disability, or they may ask the specific task the dog is trained to perform to assist you.
Be prepared to answer these questions in a quick and efficient manner and the employee will see you on your way with no further questions. If it’s determined that your dog’s presence is not required within the store, you may be asked to speak with management to clear up any possible misunderstandings.
Depending on how management decides to run their warehouse, they may allow you to bring your dog inside even if it is not determined to be a necessary service animal. However, the official policy is to not allow in any pets other than service dogs, so you should keep that in mind.
The Reason Behind Costco’s Dog Policy
As stated previously, your local Costco’s policy on pets may differ from others, and this is mostly up to the management of each individual location.
Some customers in certain locations have had varied experiences when shopping at Costco, where some have seen multiple dogs shopping with their owners, while many others have never seen a single dog inside their local Costco.
Whether or not your Costco allows dogs (besides service dogs) inside the warehouse, you’re sure to have seen signs around saying “no dogs in cart.”
This is a policy that does not differ from location to location, as having a dog ride in a shopping cart is a direct violation of health codes. Shopping carts are receptacles for groceries, and it’s unsanitary to put an animal where other people’s food will be carried.
In addition to sanitation, letting your dog ride in your shopping cart can leave dog hair behind, which can be an agitator for those with dog allergies.
If your dog is untrained, it could also defecate or urinate on the floor or in the cart, which would cause obvious issues for other shoppers and employees alike.
Ways to Recognize a Fake Service Dog
We’re sure you’ve seen a few dogs in Costco or other stores that may not seem well-behaved enough to be highly trained service dogs.
If you do see a dog like this in Costco, it could be a fake service dog. It’s true, there may be dishonest people out there who want to pass their dogs off as service dogs, when in reality, they aren’t.
Whether you’re an employee or customer, you should learn how to spot the difference between a real service dog and a fake one. There may be a number of signs that will clearly denote the presence of a fake service dog, including:
- If the dog is overly aggressive to other people around it
- If the dog is rowdy and barking
- If the dog approaches you or other customers for attention
- If the dog attempts to steal food
- If the dog is struggling with its owner to get away
Additionally, the ADA only recognizes dogs as service animals, so if someone is trying to pass their cat off as a service animal, you can know right away that they’re lying. What’s more, trying to falsely pass an animal off as a service animal is considered a punishable offense in many US states.
Costo Dog Policy In Other Countries:
Animals are not permitted in Costco warehouses unless admission is required by applicable law.
Costco UK and Costco Canada
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Costco has adopted a service animal policy. Be assured that Costco members accompanied by service animals have immediate access to our warehouses.
Costco’s official policy on pets is very clear: No pets are allowed at all unless a service dog is required. This policy may vary by location, which is entirely up to the current management of each Costco location, so it can be a good idea to check with your local warehouse ahead of time before trying to bring your dog inside.