Your dog probably goes everywhere with you. That’s why you’re probably thinking of tugging him along to Target this weekend for some shopping. But are dogs allowed in Target?
A complete ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will not suffice as an answer. But, you should know that Target isn’t pet-friendly.
Accordingly, if you want to take your dog along for shopping, he has to meet certain requirements.
So, where does Target stand regarding dogs being allowed in their stores? Are they strict or are they laid back about it?
So, are dogs allowed in Target? As we mentioned, it’s neither a complete ‘yes’ nor ‘no.’
Yes, dogs are allowed into Target only if they are service dogs.
The no part is that your pet dog will not be welcome.
What Is Target’s Official Dog Policy?
Target’s dog policy is pretty straightforward. They have a strict no-dog policy!
The only exception is if your dog is a service animal.
You probably aren’t going to find Target’s dog policy on their website. But, that’s pretty much the rule.
To avoid doubt, you might want to phone customer care to learn more about their dog policy.
Still, you’re probably going to find a sign on any Target store saying ‘service dogs only.’
Why Are Dogs Not Allowed In Target?
Target is very clear why they do not allow any dog, aside from service dogs, into their stores.
They state in their rules that it’s to make the place safe for their customers. But, that’s not the only reason.
In addition to the 1,001 items, Target sells, they also deal in groceries and other food items. Allowing dogs or any other animal into their stores may increase the risk of health hazards.
This modus operandi is simply in compliance with FDA rules. The FDA, being the body in charge of dictating food and retail service codes in the USA, forbids the entry of animals into food service establishments.
There are a host of reasons for this. Some people are allergic to dogs.
Others may be scared of dogs. Again, dogs may act out of character and be a danger to other dogs. Or dogs may get giddy and disturb the peace by creating too much noise.
Still, chief among the reasons why the FDA frowns on the entry of animals into food establishments is because of the hygienic implications of their presence.
Dogs may sniff around the groceries. They may also lick food items in the store. Worse still, you’re likely to find them peeing and pooping around in the store.
These create very unhygienic conditions that may have dire health implications for customers.
Does Target Allow Service Dogs?
Absolutely! And it’s exactly what we’ve been repeating throughout this article. Pet dogs are a big no! Service dogs, though, are warmly welcome.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates all businesses. including food establishments, to allow service animals and their handlers into their establishment.
According to the ADA, service animals are dogs trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
Quite clearly, without his service animal, an individual might find it difficult and stressful to shop at Target.
Forbidding handlers with service dogs from entry would go contrary to ADA rules. Thus, Target, like most establishments, is bound by law to let in service dogs.
Do You Have To Show Proof That Your Dog Is A Service Animal?
No, you don’t! The ADA rules are very clear about that. You don’t have to carry any certification to Target to confirm to them that your dog is a service animal.
There’s also no need for your dog to wear a vest, patch, or special harness for easy identification as a service animal.
If an employee casts any doubt about whether or not your dog is a service animal, they cannot request any documentation for your dog.
Employees are also forbidden from asking you to let your dog demonstrate its task. They can’t also ask for details about the nature of your disability.
However, they may only ask two questions. First, they can ask if your dog is a service animal required because of a disability.
Secondly, they can inquire about the work/task for which the dog has been trained to perform.
The List of Service Dogs Allowed in Target
If your dog is a service dog, it has a right to enter Target.
Service dogs, though, have been trained to perform particular tasks depending on the disability of their handler.
Here are some types of service dogs.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
These dogs help people suffering from anxiety, PTSD, depression, social anxiety, and other similar conditions.
Psychiatric service dogs must be differentiated from emotional support dogs.
Psychiatric service dogs are trained to help their handlers avoid or reduce the impact of psychiatric disorders like anxiety or schizophrenia.
They don’t merely provide comfort as emotional support dogs do.
Medical Alert And Assistance Dogs
These dogs are trained to identify when their owner is not feeling well due to a heart condition, diabetes, or anything else along those lines.
For instance, for people with diabetes, these dogs can easily sense when blood sugar levels have dropped or spiked to dangerous levels. It doesn’t end there.
They’re able to alert their handlers to these conditions while reminding them to take their medication.
They may also reduce their handler’s potential anxiety when out in public.
Seizure Alert And Response Dogs
Seizures can be pretty devastating to persons that have them. If no one’s around, the situation may become fatal.
Of course, it isn’t possible to have people around all the time when seizures strike. That’s where a seizure alert and response dog comes in handy.
These dogs can accurately predict when a seizure is about to strike. Moreover, they can guide their handler into a public zone while barking to alert people of the situation.
We have decided to include dogs that help people who are blind, deaf, or physically disabled in some other way into a category called ‘mobility assistance’.
For blind people, these dogs can help them walk easier and safer.
For the deaf, these dogs can alert people to sounds from doorbells, the phone, or alarms. Consequently, they can lead them to or away from the source of noise as the case may be.
Taking Your Dog To Target
Target’s rules concerning dogs are pretty much clear. But will you be turned away if you took your dog to target? Maybe.
It’s not always easy to differentiate a service dog from a pet dog. Especially if there’s no vest, harness, or any form of identification on the service dog.
As we’ve stated, under ADA rules, it is not mandatory to have your dog wear any of the aforementioned items.
Thus, if employees don’t ask the two questions they’re by law required to ask, you may have a free pass into Target with your dog.
But, we don’t think such a course of action is too wise. If found out, you risk being turned away. It’s not worth the embarrassment, to say the least.
Remember, though, that if your dog – whether service dog or otherwise – misbehaves or defecates/pees in the store, employees are entitled to ask you to leave.
Are Service-Animals-In-Training Allowed In Target?
As the name suggests, service animals in training are dogs that are not fully-fledged service animals.
These dogs are still being trained to develop the necessary skills that’ll help them perform tasks for individuals with a disability.
So, are service-animals-in-training allowed in Target? No, they aren’t.
Under ADA rules, your dog must be fully trained before you can take it into establishments.
Thus, Target still maintains the right to turn you away if they find out your dog is still undergoing training. They will not be breaking the law by doing so.
Still, some state and local laws may permit service-animals-in-training entry into establishments. So, depending on where you live, you just might be able to get your dog into Target without any problems.
Generally, there’s no need to register your dog as a service animal.
However, service animals aren’t free from licensing and registration requirements as dictated by local laws.
So, if your local laws require your dog’s registration as a service animal, you must comply.
Again, your service dog isn’t exempt from local animal control or public health requirements. So, you must vaccinate your dog before allowing it to accompany you to any establishment.
More importantly, you must ensure to keep your service dog under control at all times while shopping in Target.
Under ADA rules, you must keep your dog on a leash the entire time you’re in public. If the leash interferes with the dog’s tasks, you may be excused from using the leash.
However, you must still be able to control your dog through voice or signals.
As mentioned earlier, if your dog starts to cause a commotion by barking excessively in a quiet public place or acts violently, you may be asked to leave.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Dogs Be Allowed Into Target If They Stay Away From The Grocery Section?
No! It doesn’t matter that you’re not shopping for groceries. Target’s no-pets policy is clear. If your dog isn’t a service animal, you cannot let it in with you.
Can I Shop With My Dog In A Stroller?
If it’s your pet dog you’re talking about, then the answer is no! Target doesn’t allow pet dogs in the store. So, it still doesn’t matter if you bring your dog in a troller.
What’s more, it’s unimaginable for service dogs to perform their tasks perfectly while in a stroller.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed In Target?
If ’emotional support’ means the mere provision of comfort to the handler, then the answer is no! Target doesn’t make exceptions regarding animals allowed in the store.
The rules only permit dogs that have been specifically trained to assist with one form of disability or the other.
Are Other Animals Allowed In Target?
No, they aren’t. Target’s strict no-pet policy means dogs, cats, pet birds, and all other kinds of animals aren’t allowed in the store.
So, are dogs allowed in Target? Generally, dogs aren’t allowed in Target. But, if your dog is a service animal, then yes, entry is allowed.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom if your dog isn’t a service dog.
You may still be able to spend quality time with your pup while you order your supplies online.