Does REI Allow Dogs? REI Dog Policy Explained [Updated for 2023]

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is one of the most beloved stores out there when it comes to outdoor equipment and camping gear. They’ve been around for decades and have earned a reputation as one of the best outdoor retailers.

But, if you are an animal lover and especially if you own a dog, you may be wondering: Is REI Dog Friendly? After all, it would be nice to bring your pup along with you on your next camping trip, and you’d love to get some gear beforehand at your local REI store.

REI is not a dog-friendly store. REI doesn’t allow dogs except for service dogs in their stores. This is a company-wide policy, even though some people have reported success in bringing their dogs to their local store.

It’s a bummer to find out that REI doesn’t allow dogs in their stores, but if you have more questions, keep reading! We’ll cover which types of dogs are allowed, when there might be exceptions to the rule, and even talk about why this rule is put in place. This is the definitive source for anybody who wants to know: “Are REI Stores Dog Friendly?”

REI Official Pet Policy Explained

If you want to know the pet policy for REI–or any other store–the best way to do find out is to go right to the source. In this case, someone has already done the work for us. Let’s take a look at a recent Twitter interaction, wherein a curious customer asked REI customer support if they would be able to bring their dog into their local store:

rei dogs allowed twitter

As you can see, REI customer support has made it pretty clear that dogs aren’t allowed in the store. In most cases, we prefer to look at the site for the official store policy, but it couldn’t be found in this instance.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. We will cover more of that information later!

What Customers Say About REI’s Dog Policy

If customer support is the best source for information about a pet policy, the customers of the store are the next best source. We have gathered some comments that customers have made about their experience with bringing a dog into an REI store.

Being able to draw upon these experiences from customers is crucial, as it lets us know whether the policy is being enforced, how strictly it’s being enforced, and whether the policy varies by store location, as is the case with many retailers. This can give you the inside information that you need to decide whether you can bring your dog to your local REI store or not.

rei dogs reddit

The example above is just one such instance in which a customer was confused about the pet policy of REI. They asked: “Does REI Allow Dogs?”

This is what happens with many stores. Even though there is a corporate policy against bringing pets into retail locations, store managers of certain locations might be hesitant or unwilling to enforce the rule, leading customers to believe that the chain is pet-friendly at all locations.

Here’s another comment, this one from a former store manager at REI, who says that even though some people bend the rules to allow dogs, they did not during their time there. They enforced the policy of only allowing a dog if it was a service dog. No pet dog parents shopped at REI under their watch, and their REI was not one of the dog-friendly stores that some people talk about.

rei dogs reddit manager

In addition to giving good insight on the policy at REI for pets, this commenter also does a great job showing why the store has a no-pet policy, even though it is disappointing for dog owners.

What to Do If Your Dog Needs to Try On Equipment

dog equipment rei

REI is many people’s first destination when they need camping or outdoor equipment. Naturally, REI also sells equipment that is designed for dogs. If you aren’t able to enter the store with your dog, how are you supposed to know if the equipment that you want will fit your dog?

This presents a unique challenge that there isn’t a clear answer to. However, we are going to present some options that you might have to ensure you are able to get equipment for your dog that fits.

Ask An Employee For Help

The first thing that you should do is ask an employee for help. Showing them a picture of your dog, or even bringing in a stuffed animal that is the same size as your dog can help the employee make an educated guess about what items will fit your pet.

REI also offers free returns for all their products, so if you do get the wrong size, it’s easy to return and exchange it.

Shop Online

The next option that you have is to shop online. Most of the items sold by REI are also available on their website, so you can easily check out sizes, styles, and options before committing to a purchase.

Another great thing about shopping online for your pet is that there are often more options than what is available in the store.

Go to a Different Store

The final option that you have is to go to a store that does allow dogs. This might be a pet store or an outdoor specialty store where you can bring your dog in and let them try on the dog gear before you commit to buying it. There are plenty of pet-friendly stores out there, such as Ace Hardware.

This is an ideal situation because it will give you the assurance that the gear will fit your pup, and you won’t have to spend time returning or exchanging items.

Dogs Allowed at REI

types of dogs allowed in rei

Just because REI does not allow pets, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else to know. In fact, some dogs are allowed in REI stores under certain conditions. Here are a couple of types of dogs that are allowed into REI and other retail store locations by law.

Service Dogs

The first type of dog that is allowed in REI stores due to the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) are service dogs. A service dog will be allowed in REI, despite its non-dog-friendly policy. REI retail store locations must follow the rules outlined in the ADA, which means that only service dogs are permitted, regardless of what the store manager’s policy is.

Service dogs are highly trained to provide assistance to those with disabilities, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seizure disorders, and physical impairments. Service dogs are allowed in retail stores like REI due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). They act as a support system for their owners, performing tasks such as providing balance, opening doors, carrying items, picking up objects that have been dropped and retrieving items from shelves. By allowing service dogs in stores like REI, people with disabilities can gain more independence and access more of the services provided by the store.

Service dogs go through extensive training before they can be certified. This includes learning basic commands such as sit, stay, heel and come. They also need to understand how to interact with people in public settings, including proper etiquette and behavior among other shoppers or customers. Once certified, service dogs must wear identifying gear that denotes their status as a working animal so that store personnel and other customers will know they should not be disturbed or interfered with while at work.

Service animals provide invaluable assistance to those who are unable to perform many daily activities without them. Allowing these animals into retail locations like REI helps ensure that everyone has access to the same goods and services available in the store, regardless of any disability or impairment they may have. This not only helps level the playing field for those with disabilities but also improves overall customer experiences for everyone at REI stores.

Guide Dogs

Another type of dog that is permitted in REI stores are guide dogs.

Guide dogs, also known as seeing eye dogs, are specially trained service animals that assist people who experience vision loss or blindness. Guide dogs are highly trained to provide mobility assistance and companionship for their owners. Their training includes walking safely in public areas, avoiding obstacles such as furniture and other objects, understanding verbal commands from their owners, and taking various routes from point A to point B. Guide dogs provide people with low or no vision the ability to move around independently and offer emotional support.

Due to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), guide dogs have been granted access to public places including retail stores such as REI. This means that guide dog owners can enjoy the same freedom of access that others do; they can go into any retail location without worrying about being refused entry because of their service animal. Furthermore, since guide dog owners often require assistance while shopping due to their vision impairment, they are usually given priority checkout and customer service by retailers. The special treatment is in recognition of these highly-trained service animals’ important role in their owners’ lives.

Dogs Not Allowed at REI

For even more clarification, we are going to talk about which dogs are not allowed in REI stores. Here are a few types of dogs that are not permitted in REI stores.

  1. Pet Dogs
  2. Emotional Support Animals
  3. Therapy Dogs

Even though emotional support animals and therapy dogs have been associated with service animals in the past, the truth is that they do not meet the definition of service animals.

Does The Pet Policy Vary By Location?

According to corporate policy, all REI locations do not allow pets. Still, some people have reported that the management of their local REI does allow dogs. If you have gone to your local REI recently and you have seen dogs inside the store, it might be worth having a conversation with the manager to see if dogs are indeed allowed in your location. This will give you information directly from the source so you’re never left guessing on whether you can bring your dog to your local store.

REI Pet Policy FAQ

REI doesn’t allow dogs for a variety of reasons. The primary reason is to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests. 

Employees aren’t likely to stop you from doing this, but it would still be a violation of their no pets policy. 

REI Pet Friendly Report Card

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Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff