If you’re running errands with your pup, you might wonder whether dogs are allowed in Walmart. Unfortunately, no, not unless your dog is your service animal. Walmart has a strict no-pets policy that prevents companion animals from walking through their doors and down the aisles. You do have other options, though.
What Is Walmart’s Pet Policy?
Walmart’s official pet policy states that they only allow service dogs inside. Some chain stores (like Target and Home Depot) have dog policies that vary from store to store, but when I called my local Walmart, I was greeted with the same strict no-pets rule.
It’s worth a try to phone your local Walmart to ask about their pet policy, but don’t be surprised if they say dogs aren’t allowed.
Service Dogs Are Allowed in Walmart Stores
Service dogs, as animals classified and trained to help with specific disabilities, are the only exception to the rule. The distinction is that these dogs aren't considered companion animals. They’re working dogs that are “individually trained to [...] perform tasks for a person with a disability,” as stated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Walmart's website notes, “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.” By law, service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners with them wherever they go, even if the establishment isn’t pet-friendly.
What About Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support animals (ESA) don’t have the same rights as service dogs and aren’t allowed in Walmart stores. Even though these dogs can provide essential comfort and support for their owners, service dogs must pass specific training and registration that emotional support animals do not, and they're not seen in the same light under the ADA. (You can read more about the differences in service animals vs. emotional support animals here.)
What to Do Instead
If you have a pet dog or emotional support dog, unfortunately, you can’t bring them into Walmart. But there are other options for your canine buddy while you get your shop on.
- Drop your dog off at home and return to Walmart alone to do your shopping.
- Hire a pet sitter to watch your dog while you’re out if they can’t stay at home alone.
- Have a buddy sit in the air-conditioned car with your dog while you shop.
- Drop your dog off at doggy daycare or a boarding facility for the morning or entire day.
- Order your Walmart items to be delivered to your house.
- Place an order for curbside pickup so you don’t have to leave your car.
- Opt for a pet-friendly store instead.
Never leave your dog tethered outside a store alone. This leaves them in jeopardy of being stolen, escaping and getting lost, getting into a dog fight, and more.
No, Walmart Isn’t Dog-Friendly
Unfortunately, you can’t bring your dog inside Walmart stores. This makes sense, considering they do sell food items in their grocery department. Instead, leave your pup at home for everyone’s safety or use an alternative option to get your grocery shopping done without breaking the store’s pet policy.