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Are Dogs Allowed In Grocery Stores?

Are Dogs Allowed In Grocery Stores?

Many dog owners love to take their canine friends to different places they visit. So are dogs allowed in grocery stores?

Pets such as dogs and cats are often allowed in restaurants, hotels, malls, and other places where you might think taking your dog there would be off-limits.

Many stores across the United States of America are now adopting dog-friendly policies to entice more customers to shop. Most local and state health regulations do not allow animals in public places where food is sold.

Besides, federal law does not permit the mixing of pets and food in a grocery store. However, the law does not exempt service animals or dogs from these rules. Therefore, you can be allowed into a grocery store with your dog if it is a service animal. 

dogs in grocery stores

Definition Of A Service Animal

According to ADA, a service animal is a dog that has been taken through special training to perform a specific task for its handlers or owners. The task must be related to the owner’s disability.

For instance, a seeing-eye dog is trained to guide the handler with a visual impairment through outdoor and indoor environments.

Some dogs may be trained to perform different tasks such as reminding someone with depression to take medication, signaling to someone with epilepsy that a seizure is imminent, and alerting somebody with diabetes that their blood sugar is low.

Store owners will have to train their staff to allow service dogs into their establishment. Many dog handlers place a special jacket or harness on their pets to indicate their status as service dogs.

Handlers are not required to produce any documentation to show that their dogs are service animals. However, you can ask them these questions as the store owner:

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In Grocery Stores?

If you have a service animal, the laws that regulate pets in grocery stores will not interfere with your right to have these important and valuable creatures with you inside the store.

However, you will be required to be in control of your canine friend all the time. According to the FDA, disabled individuals can bring their service animals into a grocery store.

The store has a right to put restrictions on some parts of the store your pet can enter without safety and health issues. Grocery store owners can ask you if your dog is a service animal and what tasks it performs.

However, they will not ask for proof. In some cases, some stores choose to ignore the dog because they do not want to offend the customer. Grocery stores do not allow emotional support animals inside their premises.

Grocery Stores That Allow Dogs Inside

A few grocery stores will allow you to go in with your dog in areas where they sell food, whether the dog is a service animal or not. Here is a list of some of these grocery stores.

Stockbox First Hill Grocery

Stockbox First Hill Grocery was opened in August 2013. It is located in Seattle, Washington’s historic First Hill Neighborhood.

The store is adjacent to the Harborview Medical Center and is one of the best places to buy fresh groceries and meals prepared in a bustling community. 

The store will allow you to walk inside with your dog, whether it is a service animal or not. Therefore, if you are out walking your dog in Stockbox First Hill Grocery and you are out of milk, you can just pick up some at the store if your dog is friendly. 

grocery store

Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA

Capitol Hill is an outdoor market with food vendors, artisan cheese, produce and groceries, and fresh meat.

The market is dog-friendly and will welcome your canine friends, whether they are service animals or not.

It is one of the best groceries stores that you can freely visit with your dog. However, you will have to control your pet and ensure that it is friendly to other shoppers in the store because employees can decide to keep it outside if it proves unfriendly to others.

The Winter’s Park Farmer’s Market

This farmer’s market is usually held on Saturdays at the old train depot in Winter Park, Florida. The store has a wide range of items that you can choose from, such as fresh veggies and baked goods. You will enjoy every moment at the grocery with your dog without limits to access some areas.

This grocery store is a popular attraction and will offer you a good way of spending a Saturday morning with your dog doing shopping. Just make sure that your dog behaves well and is friendly to other shoppers in the store. 

Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market

Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market is located in Lake Eola Park, Orlando. The market has been around for several years and has won a reputation for itself because of its produce.

You will find veggies, fresh fruits, and other seasonal produce. They play live music, and shoppers can take a break from shopping in the beer and wine garden. 

The market is dog-friendly and allows dogs, whether it service animals or not. Shoppers are allowed to move around shopping with their dogs as long as they do not interfere with others. In addition, they sell pet clothing, pet treats, and pet travel accessories. 

River Market District

The River Market District, located in Little Rock, AR, is along the downtown waterfront. The market is held from May to October every Tuesday and Saturday.

There are good restaurants as well as quaint and quirky shops in the neighborhood. Shoppers are allowed with their dogs in the River Market District, some restaurants with outdoor dining areas, and open-air streets.

They will not ask if your dog is a service animal. However, the dog must be on a leash throughout while in the market. You will also be required to clean up if your canine friend takes a bathroom break.

dogs in grocery stores

New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market

Norwood’s New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market is located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is one of the best grocery stores that will allow you to enter with your dog and shop.

They will not ask you to give any proof that your dog is a service animal. However, they will expect you to monitor your dog closely and ensure that it does not cause any disturbance to other shoppers in the market.

You can shop for locally grown produce with your dog at the New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market. The other things that you can buy include locally caught fresh fish, organic European beans, freshly squeezed juices, and farm-fresh eggs.

Popular Stores That Do Not Allow Dogs

It is upon the management of the store to permit dogs or any other pets. Some stores will not allow you to shop with your dog. It is always important to check or call to be sure that an establishment or store allows dogs before you visit. Here are some stores that are considered not dog-friendly:

  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • IKEA
  • Target

Tips Before Taking Your Dog To The Store

It is always good to prepare your dog it out for shopping in a dog-friendly grocery store. Here are a few tips for you before taking your canine friend to any store.

  • You should understand that not all dogs should or can go into the grocery store, and not all of them will enjoy the experience. Therefore, if your pet is easily distracted or shows signs of anxiety, stress, or fear, you should turn back around, go home, and try other fun activities together.
  • Before taking your dog to the store around other people or even other dogs, you should ensure that the dog is socialized and has successfully learned basic training. The dog should also be able to respond to cues and recall.
  • While in the store, ensure that your dog is on a leash. This means that your pet should be comfortable on the lead.
  • Pack treats and a bowl of water to ensure that your pet remains hydrated depending on how long you will be away and the prevailing weather.
  • Have a record of the dog’s vaccination just in case the store management asks for it.

How Do I Qualify For A Service Dog?

To qualify for a service dog, you will require written documentation from your healthcare provider indicating that you have and are being treated for an emotional or psychiatric disability or disorder. It must clearly explain you need the assistance of a dog because of the disability.

Can You Take An Emotional Support Dog Into A Grocery Store?

Emotional support animals are not permitted in grocery stores or other businesses such as restaurants. These animals do not have the same level of public access as service dogs. However, it is upon the management of any business to accept or deny their customers to shop with emotional support dogs.


Most grocery stores do not allow dogs. However, they allow service dogs. It is always important to check online if the store allows dogs before taking your pet there.

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