Is Target Pet-Friendly? Do They Allow Dogs?

8 mins read

It’s an important question! So many of us have furry friends at home, and it’s no mystery that dogs love to come with us wherever we go. So, of course you’re wondering whether you can bring your dog with you on your next trip to Target. Keep reading to find out whether Target is pet-friendly!

Target Pet friendly

Is Target a Pet-Friendly Store?

Unfortunately, while Target has so many benefits to offer its shoppers, a welcoming pet policy isn’t one of them. Target only allows pets in their stores if they are certified, ADA-approved service animals. Therapy and emotional support animals do not qualify under Target’s policy and are not allowed in their stores.

The reason for this strict policy isn’t Target’s own anti-pet mentality. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a strict set of regulations governing the presence of live animals of any kind on the premises of a grocery store. Because Target sells food, they are beholden to these regulations and are therefore unable to permit dogs or pets of any kind into their stores.

This policy applies to all physical Target locations. But don’t worry! You can still shop at Target from the comfort of your own home while cuddling with your pets.

Does Target Allow Dogs?

Due to FDA regulations, Target does not allow dogs at its stores unless those dogs are registered and ADA-approved service animals. For an overview of the ADA service animal requirements, click here. You can also learn all about the process of registering your dog as a service animal by clicking here.

Types of Service Dogs

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. However, when it comes to shopping at Target, the only kind of service dog that is accepted is an ADA-approved and registered service animal.

If you have a registered service dog, your dog might be trained for any number of the following tasks:

  • Allergy detection
  • Autism support
  • Diabetic insulin monitoring
  • Guiding for the visually impaired
  • Hearing for the hearing impaired
  • Mobility assistance
  • Seizure alert
  • Psychiatric services

By Target’s definition, emotional support animals, therapy dogs, and unofficial service dogs are not considered official service dogs and are therefore not allowed in Target’s physical locations.

Can Target Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?

While Target does have a strict no-pets policy for dogs who are not service dogs, Target employees are not allowed to ask shoppers whether or not their dogs are service animals. According to ADA policy, it is illegal for any establishment to discriminate against a disabled person for needing assistance. Because of this, it is also illegal for Target employees to request documentation from their shoppers to prove the service status of their animals. Chances are, if you bring your dog to Target, you’ll probably just be left alone.

Some stores will try to enforce the policy by asking shoppers to leave if their dogs are not wearing indicative markers such as a service dog vest; however, many Target locations do not enforce their pet policy at all.

If you do have a registered service animal, you will be provided with a service dog vest similar to the one shown on the ADA website below.

Why Is Target Not Pet-Friendly?

In short, Target is not pet-friendly because the law limits their ability to welcome pets into their stores. Because Target is a grocery supplier, the FDA limits them from being able to welcome dogs and other pets unless those pets are registered service animals. However, according to ADA regulations, Target employees are not allowed to question shoppers about their animals or request documentation showing that the animals are ADA-approved.

Due to the fact that these are federally enforced regulations in the US, no major grocery retailer allows pets inside unless they are ADA-approved and registered service animals.

FAQs

Does Target allow pets in strollers?

No. According to Target’s formal policy, pets are not allowed inside of their stores no matter what, unless those animals are ADA-approved and registered service animals.

How do you shop at Target with your pet?

Technically, the only way that you will be able to shop at Target with your pet is if they are a certified service animal registered with the American Disabilities Association. However, Target employees are not allowed to enforce this policy and cannot legally ask shoppers to provide documentation showing their dog’s ADA registration. So, if you want to take the risk, you can probably get away with shopping at Target with your dog even if you don’t have ADA documentation.

Why are service dogs allowed in Target?

Service dogs are allowed in Target because the store is compliant with ADA regulations that require establishments not to limit a person’s access to a support animal or any other necessary accommodation.

Are other animals allowed in Target?

No. The only animals allowed in Target are registered service animals.

Conclusion

In short, shopping at Target with your furry friends isn’t the simplest thing in the world. While shoppers with registered service animals are more than welcome to shop as they please with their service animals in tow, other shoppers are technically not supposed to bring their dogs inside. That said, Target will likely not chase you down to check for your paperwork, and if they do, you can remind the employee that it’s a violation of ADA law. Just remember that if you do decide to take the risk and bring your non-service dog into Target, you will be violating important FDA regulations that are intended to keep the supply of food safe and sanitary for all consumers.

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