Because Sam’s Club sells groceries, fresh foods, and prepared foods, they are not legally allowed to welcome dogs and pets into their stores. The FDA prohibits dogs and pets from entering grocery stores and other establishments that serve food in order to cut down on the spread of germs, fleas, ticks, and other pet-based factors that can contribute to the likelihood of disease.
All major grocery retailers and wholesalers, including Aldi, Kroger, Costco, and Dollar General, share a similar official store policy. If these stores were to allow dogs inside, they could face a major health violation and face potential complaints from customers and agencies that enforce health regulations.
However, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act, people with service animals must be allowed to enter all spaces without ability-based discrimination. Because of this federal law, Sam’s Club welcomes service animals, including dogs and miniature horses, into their stores. You can read more about the Sam’s Club Service Animal Policy here.
When it comes to welcoming service animals, Sam’s Club goes one step further than a lot of places. While some stores, including Target and Costco, require that animals be certified and registered as service animals, Sam’s Club allows individually trained service animals into their stores.
This means that owners can train their service animals on their own and do not need to seek registration or certification in order to bring their dog or service animal to Sam’s Club.
Sam’s Club Pet Policy
The Sam’s Club Pet Policy in 2022 is fairly simple.
Here are the main things to remember:
- Sam’s Club does not allow non-service dogs or pets into their stores due to FDA health and safety guidelines designed to protect Sam’s Club shoppers and keep public areas clean
- Sam’s Club does allow all service dogs (and/or miniature horses) into their stores regardless of whether they have been trained or certified by a service animal organization
- Service animals do not need to wear any sort of vest or other signifier to be allowed in Sam’s Club
- Sam’s Club employees are permitted to ask 1) if an animal is a service animal and 2) what task or function the animal is trained to perform
- Sam’s Club employees are not allowed to ask for documentation proving your animal’s service animal status
What Is A Service Dog?
A service dog is a dog trained to perform a specific task or function for a human who requires assistance. For example, some service dogs assist vision-impaired handlers in navigating spaces, while other service dogs notify diabetic handlers when their insulin levels are low. In general, service dogs serve the function of contributing to the independence of people with disabilities.
But the term “service dog” can refer to different things in different contexts. Some people have unofficial service dogs, emotional support animals, therapy dogs, and more. These categories are often referred to broadly as “service animals.”
At Sam’s Club, service animals are defined in the following way:
Service animals are dogs (and/or miniature horses)* that have been individually trained to work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. They come in all breeds and sizes, may be trained either by an organization or by an individual with a disability, and need not be certified or licensed. Service animals do not always have a harness, a sign, or a symbol indicating that they are service animals. A service animal is not a pet.
Categories Of Service Dogs
If you have a registered 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 Sam’s Club’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 Sam’s Club location.
Emotional support animals are not considered service animals at Sam’s Club.
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.
If you are confronted about your service dog while shopping at Sam’s Club, then you are also responsible for answering the questions you might be asked by a Club 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. Sam’s Club employees are not legally allowed to ask you to show documentation of your dog’s service animal status.
If you feel you are being discriminated against due to your need for a service animal, or if you are being asked questions beyond the scope of what is legally allowed, please see the following information provided by Sam’s Club:
Make complaints about the improper treatment of members with service animals by calling 1(800) 963-8442. An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by service animals in Sam’s Club locations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Walmart considers interference with or denial of this right to be a serious violation of company policy. Walmart will promptly investigate all complaints raising this issue and will take appropriate disciplinary action when associates fail to comply with this policy.
Can You Shop At Sam’s Club If You Have A Dog?
If you have a dog that isn’t a service animal, you will still be able to shop at Sam’s Club.
Here are some alternative ways to shop at Sam’s Club if you have a dog you can’t leave on its own:
- Shop online – Sam’s Club members always have the option of shopping at SamsClub.com and having their orders delivered at home, which is a great way to get your shopping done without having to leave your furry friend behind.
- Use curbside pickup – Curbside pickup is another great way to get your shopping done with your pooch in tow. Simply place your curbside pickup order online via SamsClub.com, then have your order brought out to you directly to your car when you arrive. Easy!
- Shop with Instacart – If you want to shop from home but need your order within 24 hours, try using Instacart. Even non-members can shop at Sam’s Club using Instacart, and your order will be delivered to you at your home on the same day you place your order!
Other Stores That Allow Dogs And 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
As a general rule, stores that sell food do not allow dogs and pets while stores that do not sell food are much more likely to have a welcoming pet policy.
Does a service dog need a certificate at Sam’s Club?
No. Sam’s Club does not require service dogs to have any sort of certification or documentation.
Does Sam’s Club allow small dogs?
Yes. If your dog has been trained, either individually or by an organization, to perform a specific task or function to support a person with a disability, then your dog will be allowed in Sam’s Club regardless of its size.
Does Walmart have the same pet policy as Sam’s Club?
Yes. Walmart and Sam’s Club share the same pet policy, which can be read here.
Does Sam’s Club offer pet insurance?
Yes, for prescriptions. Sam’s Club offers pet prescription coverage through Nationwide Pet Rx Express.
Because Sam’s Club is a grocery store that also sells prepared foods, they are not allowed to welcome all dogs and pets into their stores. However, when it comes to their service animal policy, Sam’s Club has one of the most generous policies around. Service animals do not need to be certified, registered, or identified with vests or other markers in order to be allowed in Sam’s Club. There is a chance that you might be asked about your dog’s service animal status by a Sam’s Club employee, but you are not obligated to provide any proof or documentation or licensing papers. If you’re hoping to shop at Sam’s Club with your dog that is not a service animal, then you’ll want to shop online or use curbside pickup instead of bringing your dog inside the store. Unfortunately, if your dog is an emotional support dog, it will also need to stay behind when you go to Sam’s Club.