Can You Bring Dogs To Costco? Costco Pet Policy Explained (Updated for 2022)
Costco is a great place to shop for everything from groceries to electronics. They are one of the largest retailers in the world. For that reason, millions of people enter the store each and every year.
Whether you are the owner of a new puppy and you’re excited to show it off or you are a seasoned dog owner that takes their furry friend everywhere, you might be wanting to know: is Costco pet-friendly?
Because Costco is a food retailer and is beholden to food regulations, Costco does not allow dogs inside. The only situation that you would be able to bring your dog to Costco would be in the case that you have a certified service animal. Emotional support animals are not allowed.
This may come as a surprise to some people, but there are a few reasons why this policy is in place.
There have been occasional calls for Costco to change its policy and allow dogs in the store, but so far the company has resisted these calls.
It’s unlikely that Costco will change its policy anytime soon, so shoppers who want to bring their dogs with them will need to find another store to shop at.
Why Aren’t Dogs Allowed Inside Costco?
Though everybody would love to be able to bring their pet dogs or emotional support dogs to Costco stores, the fact is that there are simply no dogs allowed in Costco. This includes emotional support animals.
Only service dogs are allowed under certain circumstances to Costco, which is not a very dog-friendly store. Here are some of the reasons for that policy.
Hygiene & Cleanliness
As discussed in the introduction, Costco is mainly a food store. They sell a lot of food that is not packaged or canned, and it would be easy for a dog to jump up and snatch something off the shelves.
This could not only be a health hazard for the dog, but it could also create a mess that would have to be cleaned up.
As a quick rule of thumb, grocery stores and other food-focused establishments and businesses, like restaurants, usually do not allow dogs inside their premises. And while it’s true some restaurants allow dogs, it’s typically for outdoor or patio dining only.
Furthermore, Costco is a store that sells a lot of expensive items. If dogs were allowed, they could easily knock over displays or cause damage to merchandise. It’s just not worth the risk to allow animals in the store.
Dogs may even be disruptive to other shoppers, and they may also cause damage to merchandise.
Though almost everybody loves dogs, dog owners and pet owners can understand that not everybody is comfortable with being around that. Some people have bad experiences with dogs or even have pet allergies.
So that is yet another reason that Costco employees will ask you to leave Costco stores if you attempt to enter with your pet or emotional support dogs rather than a certified dog that falls under their service animal policy.
But What About Service Animals?
The only exception to this rule would be in the case of service animals. That is, if your dog is a service animal. This policy was crated in pursuance with the Americans With Disabilities Act ADA.
Service animals are allowed in Costco, and this is because they are trained to behave well in public places and are not a danger to the store or its customers.
If you have a service animal or service dog, you should have no problem bringing them into Costco with you. Just be sure to have their service dog paperwork with you to show the store employees.
This is to prove that you do indeed abide by service dog handler responsibilities and Costco can be compliant with all health and safety laws.
Therapy dogs, however, are not considered service animals. Therapy dogs are not trained to perform a specific task, and they are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA to be brought into grocery stores. This means that they are not allowed in Costco, which is not a dog-friendly store.
Many people mistakenly use the term “service dogs” and “emotional support animals” interchangeably. The truth is that a service dog is a highly-trained animal that has gone through hours of training.
It’s easy to recognize fake service dogs because they typically do not display the same obedience and training as a real service dog.
Employees at Costco stores will allow dogs for Costco members accompanied by a certified service dog, but not those who have a fake service dog or non-service dogs.
So, if you’re looking to do some shopping at Costco with your therapy dog, you’re out of luck. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to leave them at home.
Not all stores or branches have the same policy when it comes to dogs. Some branches are more lenient with this policy, and some enforce it strictly. It really varies from store to store. It is also worth noting that it’s illegal for a Costco employee to ask for proof that a dog is actually a service animal, so this policy is not always enforced.
Tips for Bringing Your Service Dog to Costco
When it comes to service animals, there are a few things you should keep in mind before bringing them into Costco. Being prepared to bring your service dogs, which are allowed in Costco, to the store, will ensure that you, your animal, Costco employees, and other guests are safe.
First, you should have a vest or some other form of identification for your service animal. This will let store employees and other shoppers know that your animal is a service animal and not a pet.
You should be prepared to explain to employees that under the Americans with Disabilities Act and local health and safety laws, you are allowed to bring service dogs inside the store.
Costco dog-friendly policy is aimed at service dogs, so make sure that you have immediate access to your documentation to prove that your service dog is not just a pet.
Other grocery stores are similar when it comes to service animal policy, so this tip doesn’t just apply to your local Costco store.
Also, make sure that the vest is attached to a leash. Service dogs should always be on a leash when they are inside the store for their own safety as well as the safety of other people inside.
Even though they are trained to perform under almost any circumstance, Costco warehouse locations ask guests with service only dogs to always have leashed dogs.
Entering without a leashed dog inside Costco could prompt a visit from the store manager to ask that you leash your dog while in Costco warehouses.
Costco’s pet policy allows for a well-trained dog (service dogs allowed) to be in the store, but they also have a duty to other guests and must protect them and their goods as well.
Be make sure to pick up after your dog. This means bringing along a bag to pick up any waste your dog may leave behind. Stores everywhere are becoming increasingly dog friendly, but nobody likes to go to their local store and see that dogs inside Costco have caused waste to be everywhere.
There is no mention of pet waste in the official Costco policy, but it is common courtesy to clean up after your animal if you are able.
Additionally, you should make sure your service animal is well-behaved and will not cause any disruptions. It’s very important to be considerate of other shoppers. Some people may not be comfortable around dogs, so it’s important to be respectful of their space.
Be Aware of Health & Safety Laws
Even though service animals are allowed inside the store, you should also be aware of which parts of the store they are allowed in and which parts are restricted. For example, some stores may not allow dogs in certain areas, such as the food court or grocery aisle.
Generally, they are not allowed in the food court or other areas where food is served, so you’ll need to make alternative arrangements if you want to eat while you’re shopping.
Costco Pet Policy: Let’s Recap
Costco’s warehouses don’t allow pets in the store for a variety of reasons. The stores are large, and animals can easily get lost. There are also a lot of people in the store, and not all of them are pet-friendly.
Additionally, Costco also doesn’t have the facilities to take care of pets. There aren’t any pet waste stations or other accommodations.
Service animals are an exception to this rule as they are allowed in the store, and Costco has a policy of allowing customers to bring their pets into the store if they need assistance.
But it’s also important to remember that therapy animals are not considered the same as service animals.
The bottom line is that Costco doesn’t allow pets in the store for a variety of reasons. If you have a pet, you’ll need to leave it at home when you go to Costco.
Costco Pet Policy FAQ
Though Costco complies with the guidelines of ADA, it doesn’t allow emotional support animals or pets for food and guest safety reasons, according to their policy.
Pursuant to their pet policy, pets are not allowed in Costco stores, regardless of whether they are in a backpack or leashed. Some local stores may make an exception or not enforce the rule, but guidance from Costco tells us that you may not bring a dog in a backpack to their stores.