HOME QUESTIONS Pros and Cons Are Dogs Allowed In Walmart? ( 2021 Dog Policy Guide )

Are Dogs Allowed In Walmart? ( 2021 Dog Policy Guide )

Have you tried to take your pet dog to your local Walmart only to have to take them back to the car? If you have, you are definitely not alone, every day many people are stuck dealing with a similar situation. So, let’s talk about that question and see what the actual answer is to, are dogs allowed in Walmart?

Walmart, like any other store that sells or serves food, is not supposed to allow dogs or other animals. Walmart has gone as far as put a very strict “no pet” policy. However, they allow service animals to be brought in their stores to assist persons with disabilities.

This type of no pet policy in place in Walmart is done in order to adhere to the FDA (Food And Drug Administration) determination that most animals present a sanitary concern and any store that serves and or sells food must not allow animals. This includes dogs, cats, birds, and any other animal.

The FDA’s Health codes identify seven things that they have determined why dogs should not be allowed in stores that sell or serve food. The list below does include health and other reasons to keep dogs and other animals out of stores like Walmart.


 7 Reasons To Keep Dogs and Other Animals Out of Stores

  • Shoppers could have adverse reactions to the animal fur
  • Food could become contaminated from dogs or animals in the store
  • Fleas or ticks could be carried into the store by dogs or cats
  • They could trigger fears in people who are afraid of them
  • Not all pet owners can or do control their animals
  • You cannot prevent an animal from going to the bathroom in the store
  • A leashed dog can be a potential tripping hazard in the confined spaces of the aisles

 Is There An Exception To The FDA’s Policies?

FDA letters

The short answer is absolutely, however, there is a very small exception to the rules and they have rules controlling them. The only exception to the FDA’s ruling is the allowance made for service animals.

The main reason for this is because these service animals must be allowed to accompany their human handlers anywhere they go. This is due to a law that was passed by the US Congress in 1990. It was a landmark piece of civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

 Service Animals And The ADA

service dog

Under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) registered service animals of a wide range of types have to be allowed to accompany a person with a disability. So, this is likely the reason why you may at some point see a dog walking down an aisle at Walmart.

The same can be said about a cat or other species of animal being carried by a person. Certain animals are frequently trained to be service and animals. The stores have to be cognizant of this and respect the individual’s right to have the animal in the store.

What kind of training does a service animal go through?

service dog training

Service animals have been filling a need for humans for many years. While dogs are thought of first when people think about service animals, however, truth be told, there are actually a large number of different species of animals that have been certified as service animals.

In order to be designated a service animal, there are several kinds of training that they must go through.

Basic Training – All animals that are considered for use as service animals must go through basic training. In the case of service dogs, they are best to begin training as puppies.

This makes it fart easier to acclimate them to the rigors of basic training. Basic training includes learning the standard commands; sit, come, heel, stand, and stay. The last and most important part of the basic training is how not to get distracted.

Advanced Training – In advanced training dogs go through reinforcement training for all the basic commands. They also add obedience training to the list and add specialty moves like emergency down in order to accomplish a specific task.

They also include off-leash commands for unique situations. They may also focus on extended heel periods for certain types of tasks.

Public Access for Service Dog Training – This type of training is important for a service dog who will be helping a human that is outdoors in public.

This type of specialized training can also be used for a service animal that will be taken into stores. There are likely to be a large number of distractions.

Task Training for Service Dogs – A big part of service dog training is when the dog is trained to carry out a specific task. This task must be mastered for them to be considered service dogs. These tasks are always unique and specific to the person the dog is going to help.

What Can a Store like Walmart Do to Challenge The Use of a Service Animal?

walmart exterior

Since Walmart and any other store have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of the people who are inside their store and those who buy the food they sell.

The same guidelines that allow the service animal to be in the store also include a provision that store employees are allowed to challenge the person with the service animal and request that they produce legal credentials for a service animal.

With that said, it is on the employee to be respectful of the person’s rights to have the service animal when requesting to see documentation to their need to have the service animal in the store.

Final Thoughts

no dog sign

Not just any dog or animal is allowed to be inside Walmart or any other store that sells or serves food. Their “No Pet” policy does have an exception that allows a service dog to accompany a person with a disability to Walmart. The person must produce the credentials for the service animal to be allowed in the store.

About the author: Driven by his lifelong passion for dogs and an insatiable curiosity about their diverse breeds, Pablo Pascua founded dogbreedsfaq.com. Through this website, he seeks to expand his knowledge and share his findings with fellow dog enthusiasts. Having owned several dogs throughout his life, Pablo’s experiences have fueled his interest in learning more about these beloved animals. His mission is to provide accurate and comprehensive information to help pet owners make informed decisions about their furry companion.