Target's Dog Policy for a Woof-Worthy Retail Experience

Whether or not dogs are allowed in Target stores isn't clearly stated on their website, but we did some digging to find you the answer.

Published January 19, 2024
Dog sitting in basket

Doing a search to see if dogs are allowed in Target won’t get you very far because, unfortunately, their pet policy isn’t online. So we did some digging and discovered that Target’s official stance is that only service animals are allowed in stores. However, different locations have different policies, and some do allow pets.

Target’s Pet Policy Varies by Location

Target’s official policy is that only service animals are allowed in stores. Their customer services state, “This policy exists to help provide a safe, distraction-free shopping experience for all guests.” But many locations have more flexible rules around animals. Some Targets will let you bring your dog in with you even if they’re a pet.

This means you’ll have to call up your local Target and ask about their specific policy. When I phoned mine, I was told that all dogs, including service animals and strictly pet dogs, are welcome in their store. There are some caveats, though. They told me that dogs who are noisy would be asked to leave, but “well-behaved dogs are encouraged to come in.”

Related: Home Depot's Dog Policy for Home Improvement Hounds

Service Dog Rules for Target Stores

Disabled person in weelchair shopping with Labrador mobility assistance dog in supermarket

If you have a trained service dog, they’re allowed in all Target stores as well as all other businesses. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a dog qualifies as a service animal if they “are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”

Target does have some guidelines around service animals, which comply with ADA regulations. As stated by the customer service rep, these include:

It's Your Business

Team members may not inquire about a person’s specific disability or ask what service the animal provides.

Identification Not Required

Guests aren’t required to provide a license or certification for their service animals.

Well-Mannered Service Dogs Only

If the service animal is disruptive and puts the guest’s or team members’ health and safety at risk, the store may ask the guest to remove the animal.

Four Paws on the Floor, Please

Service animals are not allowed to sit or ride in shopping carts.

Quick Tip

Make sure your dog is on a leash and under your control at all times while in the store.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed?

Emotional support animals (ESA) don’t have all the same rights as service animals, so there’s no guarantee you can bring your ESA into Target. But if all pet dogs are allowed into your store, then your emotional support dog is more than welcome, so long as they’re well-behaved.

Dogs Best Left at Home

Is your dog allowed into your local Target? Awesome! Just know that not all dogs will do well in stores. For their safety and the safety of others in the store, leave your dog at home if they fall under any of the following:

  • Dogs that aren’t good around strangers.
  • Dogs that aren’t fully housetrained.
  • Dogs that are noisy or bark.
  • Dogs that aren’t good with other dogs.
  • Dogs that are reactive or anxious
  • Dogs that aren’t up to date on all vaccines.
  • Dogs that are sick or infectious.

Other Options

If you’ve learned that your dog isn’t allowed in your Target or simply won’t do well in the store, there are other options.

  • Opt for Target’s Drive-Up option, where you can order your items and then have them delivered to the parking lot. You and your pup don’t even have to get out of the car!
  • If you’re with someone else, have them hang out in the air-conditioned/heated car with your dog or walk them outside while you shop.
  • Take your dog to doggy daycare or a boarding facility for a few hours (or the whole day) while you shop.
  • Hire a pet sitter to care for your pet while you’re at Target. 
  • Drop your dog off at home, then return to Target and do your shopping.

Is Target Dog-Friendly? Yes & No

Target’s pet policy isn’t clearly stated, so it’s really up to the individual stores to enforce their policy. Reach out to your local store to find out whether your dog is welcome. If they are, make sure they’re on a leash or in a pet stroller at all times to keep them safe and prevent any disturbances. 

Target's Dog Policy for a Woof-Worthy Retail Experience