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Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

Should you be wondering, are dogs allowed in Trader Joe’s before going is essential. Knowing in advance where you can, and cannot, take your dog is necessary for any dog owner.

The difficulty is that different stores have very different policies regarding something as simple as whether your dog can enter a store.

The problem is it does mean you need to check out every store prior to venturing out. In this instance, we will focus on just one store, and that is Trader Joe’s. So, what’s their particular policy on dogs?

You may find it strange we even need to ask this question, but this policy is not always something made clear by different companies.

This confusion may lead to some individuals seeking to gain entry to a store with their dog. But is this something that happens with Trader Joe’s?

Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe's?

The Answer

Trader Joe’s is very clear on its policy regarding dogs. No dog is allowed into the store, apart from service dogs. This is something enforced at each store, and you will find no way of getting around this particular rule.

This applies across every store in the country. They state how this rule must exist due to the fact they deal in food, so it does mean the ban is from a health perspective. When you think about it from that perspective, it’s easy to understand why they made this decision.

This rule has no gray area where some stores may have a slightly different policy regarding dogs in their stores than you see elsewhere. Instead, Trader Joe’s has a countrywide policy enforced at every store no matter their location.

However, slight differences and changes to the laws may occur in select areas. This exists thanks to local laws, but the general rule of not allowing dogs into a store applies everywhere.

As Stated By The FDA

The decision to prevent dogs entering the store is something stipulated by the FDA. Their laws note it’s connected to food safety, and this is a law all food stores need to follow.

It does make a lot of sense, but the FDA also notes service dogs have permission to enter the store, but even with this the owner needs to follow certain rules.

These are the same rules for any place that has food for sale. It clearly leads to a potential hygiene issue, and also some contamination problems, so the FDA states that a blanket ban on dogs in these locations is the only way forward.

If you have any issues regarding this, then you can search the FDA website for additional information on the entire issue.

It’s a Sanitation Issue

The reason why all dogs cannot gain entry to a store selling food is easy to understand when you think about it from a sanitation point of view. You have food that is open to the air, and then dogs walking around with their hair going everywhere.

Add in the chance of fleas and ticks, and then dry skin from a dog along with saliva, and you start to see how problematic this can be.

Also, there is the toilet issue. It is not nice to think about a dog doing the toilet around food that is being sold. Thankfully, service dogs do tend to have better training even when it comes to this type of thing, so the chances of it happening with them does tend to be quite low.

service dogs in store - Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe's?

Service Dogs

Both the FDA and Trader Joe’s state that service dogs can enter the store, but note there is a difference between service dogs and support dogs. In the case of support dogs, Trader Joe’s does not really allow them to enter the store. However, this is thanks to people seeking to take advantage of the rule meaning everyone has to then suffer.

For example, individuals have sought to claim their dog is a support dog for some illness or issue. However, it can then become clear to the store manager that it is indeed a normal pet, and there is nothing special about them.

This has meant the company has had to take the view of a complete no pets policy in their stores. Sadly, the minority managed to make it difficult for those in actual need, but the only way the company can cope is to have this blanket policy.

Overall, service dogs have protection since they act as a humane necessity whether it’s for the blind or deaf. Of course, the list of service dogs is longer than those two options, but owners have various protections from different rules and regulations. 

Rules for Service Dogs

But even with service dogs, Trader Joe’s has had to implement a few rules. Here, a service dog that is making too much noise, or is actually disruptive in the store, may result in the owner having to leave.

This action is not something they take lightly, and the store manager will seek to come up with a different solution. However, times do occur where leaving the store is the only option available to the store. After all, they must take into consideration the rest of their shoppers rather than an individual.

But this is certainly a last resort. Also, rules do exist to protect individuals with a service dog, so employees need to meet these rules at all times.

What this means is they cannot ask an individual about their disability that leads them to requiring a service dog. This is against the law, so any employee doing this is at risk of losing their job.

Also, a member of staff cannot ask any questions regarding the certification of the service dog. That does the make it harder should any issues arise, but people with service dogs do often have their dog wearing a vest. This vest is designed to help others to realize a service dog is at work, and that is often enough to satisfy any store manager.

The fact that no methods of how to go about dealing with a potentially fake service dog is in place is tough for stores. Thankfully, most individuals with a service dog do follow the rules, and make it easier for everyone else.

service dog  - Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe's?

Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs have different rules to adhere to. The problem is emotional support dogs do not find themselves covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so they do not have the same legal protections as service dogs.

But this is where it becomes harder to police the policy as some emotional support dogs that help with psychiatric disorders find themselves covered by the act.

That means they should gain entry to stores, but once again it’s difficult to check if the individual does have this need without breaking any laws.

What this shows is that the issue of support dogs is not something that is easy for Trader Joe’s to deal with. So, they try to provide more of a blanket ban to stop support dogs from gaining entry in order to attempt to make life easier.

Local State Laws Make a Difference

You should also note that local laws may make a difference when it comes to accessibility in stores for dogs. These local laws can change which dogs have certain legal protections, and can then enter stores.

However, you tend to find the regulations as set out by the FDA cover every location. When we talk about variation, it does refer to only a small chance that anything is then different. 

What Happens If You Enter with Your Dog?

So what happens if you do try to enter Trader Joe’s with your dog? This is not as strange as it sounds. Reports do exist of people effectively hiding their dog in their bag as they shop. Unfortunately for them, dogs rarely keep quiet if they get excited, so ultimately they were found out.

Ultimately, you will find a member of staff asking you to leave. By entering with your dog, you put the entire store at risk, so it’s not something personal against you. 

It will certainly lead to you having to leave immediately. There is no opportunity to finish getting whatever you need to purchase. 

Ultimately, There’s No Point Going

Ultimately, there is no point heading to Trader Joe’s with your dog, unless they are indeed a service dog. Anything else will lead to them preventing entry, and considering it’s obvious why this is the case, even trying to enter with your dog is insane.

After all, you will hardly spend hours in Trader Joe’s anyway, so leaving your dog at home is the best option. This is preferable to leaving them in your car, especially in warm weather where you may endanger their health.

Overall Conclusion

You cannot take your dog into Trader Joe’s. The only individuals free to do so are those individuals with service dogs. Even support dog owners may run into some difficulty gaining access to the store. However, it may help you to contact your local store in advance just to ensure this is the policy.

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