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So, we are here to answer the question, are dogs allowed in Walmart? Walmart is one of the biggest retail corporations in the United States of America, and the rest of the world too. They employ about 2.3 million people and provide people with access to a wide variety of merchandise at competitive prices.
Maintaining a position as the biggest retailer in the United States and the rest of the world with a 14% retail market share in 2021 (about 1.5 times Amazon’s 9%), it isn’t unusual to find yourself in one of their supercenters when you need to buy one thing or the other.
But, are dogs allowed in Walmart? If you’re a new dog owner you might be wondering, can my dog come with me to the place where I do a majority of my shopping. It could be a chance to get some exercise and maybe they could meet some other dogs and the both of you could make new friends. I’m sure you also love having them as a companion when going to different places and if you leave them by themselves for too long sometimes, they might get into trouble.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
Sadly, the answer is no. They have a strict no-pet policy. They allow service animals that fit the definition by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but no pets are allowed.
But My Friends Say They Saw Pets at Walmart
People have been sent back because they came with dogs or other pets on multiple occasions and they usually claimed that they had seen people with their pets at Walmart. However, according to a statement on their official website, they only allow service animals and not pets so these might just be mistaken or false claims. You most likely won’t see any pets there if you tried to find any yourself.
Why Aren’t Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
The FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) regulations for grocery stores and restaurants and similar establishments prevent the presence of pets where food is prepared because of the risk of contamination. According to them it is a health risk and it is unsanitary to bring pets into these food preparation areas.
As a result of this, they can’t let you in with your dogs. Even though they aren’t primarily a grocery store they still can’t let you in with them because they have a food section and have to abide by these rules.
Another reason is the safety and comfort of the customers present. Not everyone likes dogs and some people are very afraid of them and won’t be comfortable in their store if you bring your dog in.
Somewhere between 10% and 20% of the world’s population are allergic to dogs and cats and that number is 15% for the United States so bringing in your dog will put those people at serious risk. There is also the concern of your dog making a mess and even though your dog is properly trained not everyone has trained dogs like that.
Finally, there’s the major risk of someone getting attacked and you might argue that your dog is properly trained but not everyone can confidently make that argument and there’s really no way to prove it.
For the safety and comfort of their customers, you can see why they won’t let you in with your dogs. However, how strictly these rules will be enforced will vary from store to store depending on who’s in charge and the staff present.
Service animals are not legally seen as pets. They are specially trained to assist people who have varying disabilities and separating them from their owners can be life-threatening in some cases for the owners. Walmart and similar establishments are legally required to let the owners and their service animals access any space that is open to the public.
However, the owners must be in control of their service dogs. These dogs are trained to be friendly and calm so they don’t pose any threats to anyone around. Sometimes pigs, small horses, and even parrots can be trained as service animals but in most cases, dogs are used.
Types of Service Dogs
1. Guide Dogs
These are more common than other service dog and you’ve probably come across one before. They aid visually impaired people when navigating their surroundings and they usually wear a harness or have something attached to them that their owners can hold on to so the dogs can guide them. They are trained to make their own decisions based on their owner’s commands. For example, if the owner wants to cross the street, they give the command and the dogs will make sure it’s safe to cross before pulling them across. This is called selective disobedience and they go through extensive training to be able to navigate these situations.
2. Allergy Detection Dogs
Because dogs have a superior sense of smell, allergy detection dogs are trained to detect allergens that will start a reaction in their owners and alert them or prevent them from going near those places. They can pick up the scents of these allergens before their owner even gets near them and act as a passive guide nudging you in safe directions.
They usually wear vests and medical information about their owners and any required medication are stored in their pockets. They are more commonly paired with kids because they are not as careful as adults when it comes to avoiding allergens. This also gives their parents peace of mind because their children won’t come in contact with any allergens and their dogs can be with them 24/7 to constantly keep them safe.
3. Autism Service Dogs
They are trained to assist people with autism and are equipped to perform varying tasks like interrupting behaviors that might be harmful to their owners, alerting parents of autistic children if they’re in danger and being able to find them if they run away or preventing them from running away. They also help them with navigating social situations and serve as a companion to help boost confidence and control emotions.
4. Diabetic Alert Dogs
Diabetic alert dogs can tell when there is a change in the blood sugar levels of their owners and they alert them. Because of this the owners know when to perform tests and can then treat themselves accordingly. If there’s an emergency, they will alert other members of the family and if they’re alone they can be trained to call 911 on special phones. The wear vests with medication and information just like allergy detection dogs so responders can make informed decisions easily.
5. Mobility Assistance Dogs
These dogs are trained to help people with mobility issues perform simple tasks like bringing objects they can’t reach, using switches like light switches, opening doors, and a host of other tasks. They can even perform tasks like pulling wheelchairs or provide support to help their owners with balance but dogs that are to perform tasks like this have to be large enough so they can actually support their partners.
6. Hearing Dogs
These dogs are trained to respond to sounds for owners who have hearing issues. They hear sounds and respond accordingly by taking their owners to the source of the sound like a ringing phone or alarm clock or taking their owners to the appropriate place of response like a fire alarm or a doorbell ringing. They can also be trained to get the owners attention when their name is being called.
7. Seizure Alert Dogs
Seizures can happen at any time and having seizure alert dogs can be a lifesaver. They can be with their partners all the time and will get the attention of family members if their partner is suffering from a seizure and can also call 911 on special phones if they’re alone. They will also pull their owners to safe locations if seizures happen in unsafe areas and can perform activities to help shorten the seizures and help their owners regain consciousness. They also have vests containing medication and information and will bring their owner’s medication when they recover.
8. Psychiatric Service Dogs
These dogs serve as companions to people who suffer from different mental conditions like depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can tell when their owners are about to start experiencing symptoms of any of the disorders and are trained for these situations. They also help to boost confidence and navigate through social situations.
What About Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support dogs aren’t allowed because they are not classified by the ADA as service dogs. They aren’t trained to help with any disabilities and are legally seen as pets and Walmart doesn’t allow pets.
Walmart isn’t one of the places you should be taking your dogs to so you won’t run into any issues and avoid embarrassment. It’s best to respect their store policy when shopping at their stores.
Out readers also read: Are Dogs Allowed in Target