If you’re a dog owner who shops at Walmart, then you must be wondering if you can bring your furry friend along with you on your next shopping trip.
Like all major grocery retailers, Walmart only allows service dogs in their stores. Unfortunately, non-service dogs and all other pets are not allowed at Walmart.
This is due to strict health regulations designed to keep the food supply safe and sanitary for all shoppers. Service dogs are the only exception because the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees equal access for people with disabilities, including those who require assistance from trained service animals.
Walmart’s Pet Policy
Walmart has a very simple pet policy. According to Walmart.com, “Walmart welcomes service animals as defined by the ADA in our stores, and we recognize the important role they play in many of our customers’ lives. We do not allow pets in our stores.”
Keep reading to find out how the ADA defines service animals.
What Kinds Of Dogs Are Allowed In Walmart?
The only dogs allowed in Walmart stores are service dogs as defined by the ADA.
The ADA defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”
Emotional support animals (ESA) are not considered service animals in this context.
Categories Of Service Dogs
If you have a trained service dog, your dog might be trained for any number of the following tasks:
- Allergen detection
- Autism support
- Diabetic insulin monitoring
- Guiding for the visually impaired
- Hearing for the hearing impaired
- Mobility assistance
- Seizure alert
- Psychiatric services
By Walmart’s definition, if your dog has been trained for any specific task or function that aids in your access, mobility, health, safety, etc., then your dog is considered a service animal and can be allowed in any Walmart location.
Walmart does not require service animals to be registered in order to accompany their owners into the store.
Service Dog Handler Responsibilities
As a service dog handler, you have a few responsibilities. First, you are responsible for ensuring that your service animal is properly trained and suited to its task. This can happen either through individual training or through a training program provided by a service animal organization.
Keep reading to find out what your other responsibilities might be if you are confronted by a Walmart employee while shopping with your service animal.
Can Walmart Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?
If you are confronted about your service dog while shopping at Walmart, then you are also responsible for answering the questions you might be asked by an employee, up to a certain point.
The permitted questions you might be asked are:
- Is your dog a service animal?
- If so, what task or function is your dog trained to perform?
If you are asked any other questions about your service animal, you are not obligated to answer. Walmart employees are not legally allowed to ask you to show documentation of your dog’s service animal status.
Please note that while Walmart is not allowed to request verification of your dog’s service animal status, fraudulently representing your dog as a service animal can carry hefty fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on where you live.
Other Stores That Allow Dogs And Pets
As a general rule, stores that do not sell food or groceries are more likely to allow dogs and other pets. In accordance with health regulations, grocery stores cannot legally allow non-service dogs or pets.
Some stores that allow non-service dogs and pets include:
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- The Apple Store
- Tractor Supply
- Bass Pro Shops
- L.L. Bean
- Pottery Barn
- TJ Maxx
- Barnes & Noble
Are dogs allowed in all Walmart stores?
Service dogs only are allowed in all Walmart stores. However, non-service dogs are not allowed in any Walmart stores.
Are dogs allowed in Walmart carts?
No. The only dogs allowed in Walmart stores are service dogs, which are expected to be prepared to perform specific tasks and functions. It would be unusual for a trained service dog to sit in a grocery cart.
Are non-service dogs allowed in Walmart?
No. Walmart does not allow pets in their stores.
Are dogs on leashes allowed in Walmart?
Yes, but only if they are service dogs. Pets are not allowed in Walmart even if they are on a leash.
As with all other major grocery retailers, Walmart does not allow dogs or any other pets in their stores. However, if you are accompanied by a trained service animal, then you are covered by the ADA any time you’re shopping at Walmart.
Walmart cannot ask for verification of your service animal’s status, but employees can ask what task your service animal is trained to perform.
If you have a dog or other pet you’d like to bring shopping with you, remember to leave them at home any time you need to go on a big grocery run.