Is Target Pet-Friendly? Target Pet Policy Explained (Updated for 2022)

Psychiatric Service Dogs are allowed in Target stores, but they must be registered.

If you’re planning a day trip with a stop at Target to run some errands, you may be wondering if you can bring your pet along. When looking for pet supplies, Target is a great place to shop, but can you bring your dog inside the store with you? You may have never thought about it–but now you are wondering and you need to know fast!

Let’s cut to the chase. As of the latest 2022 Target Pet Policy, pets and dogs are not allowed into Target. The exception to this rule is for certified Service Animals, per the ADA requirements.

As of 2022, customers will no longer be allowed to bring their dogs into any Target location due to the company’s no-pet policy. Target’s corporate claims that store policies regarding pets are consistent nationwide. 

Some policies guarantee access to Target for people with disabilities Act, and service animals that meet the ADA’s requirements are welcome. Target customers should avoid bringing pets to the store and carry necessary proof if they own a service animal.

By reading on, you can learn more about the Target pet policy, bringing service animals into the store, and tips for getting your dog to the store if you fall into one of the allowed categories.

FDA’s Policy On Bringing Pets To Target

Dogs Allowed in Target only if they are a certified service animal.

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a blanket ban on pets entering any commercial kitchen or food store. In most Targets, there are food courts and restaurants. As a result, all Target stores have the same no-pet policy, though some may be more flexible than others.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Guide classifies grocery stores like Target as “food establishments,” along with restaurants, and therefore requires that all such stores prohibit selling or possessing live animals.

The uncleanliness of pets makes it impossible to bring them anywhere near where human food is prepared or sold. This policy is in place for the safety of both pets and people, especially those that take part in the food court at their local store.

The potential for cross-contamination or the animal bacterial transmission is a contributing factor, as is Target’s policy of selling some food items in their food section that are not individually wrapped or otherwise sealed.

Without these safety measures, customers of Target could be forced to seek medical treatment or new measures would need to be put in place to detect allergens.

Emotional Support Dogs are not allowed in target, neither are pet dogs. This doesn't make Target pet-friendly.

For the safety and comfort of all customers, pets are not permitted in grocery stores unless they are service animals. Some shoppers may have phobias or allergies triggered by pets’ presence in the store.

In other words, Target’s no-pet policy is strictly enforced at all stores, though some may be more lenient than others.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that all establishments make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities who train and recognize service animals.

Exceptions To The Rule: Service Dogs & Service Animals

Although it is the rule that dogs cannot come in grocery stores, there are exceptions. Police dogs can go into stores when accompanied by an officer. Service animals and service dogs for the disabled are also allowed in supermarkets. Here’s a rundown of what animals are allowed in Target stores.

Service Dogs Are Permitted Inside Target

Registered service dogs allowed in Target, while therapy dogs and emotional support dogs are not allowed.

Physical or psychiatric service dogs are among the only dogs allowed in Target as long as they are an ADA approved service dog. Non-service animals, pet dogs, and emotional support dogs are not afforded the same rights and are not allowed in Target.

Only dogs certified as service animals can get inside Target, and businesses are required to welcome legally recognized service animals.

Rules for Service Dogs Allowed in Target

Even though a certified mental service dog, severe allergy alert dogs, medical alert dog, and other service dogs are allowed in Target, there are still some restrictions and guidelines to follow. These pets are permitted in the store so long as their owners stay within arms’ length. They also must bring proof or certification to verify that they are allowed service dogs.

Target does allow dogs that are trained to retrieve objects or pick up on measurable body symptom for a disabled person, but does not allow pets inside.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, pets are not allowed in programs covered by Title II (which includes programs run by state and local governments) or Title III (which provides public accommodations such as restaurants and stores).

It’s important for service dog owners to know the rules of bringing service dogs into retail stores like Target. By representing theirselves clearly and accurately, they can help to ensure that certified service dogs and medical response dogs continue to be allowed in Target.

Service Dogs in Training

Although the ADA does not address whether or not a dog in training for service can enter public areas, many states have passed legislation regulating the kinds of places such dogs can enter.

The rules concerning service dogs in training and in-progress seizure service dogs training to provide a reliable seizure alert or store navigation are a bit of a gray area.

It may depend on your location when it comes to whether guide dogs and service dogs inside Target will be allowed while going through training or whether they will not be considered service animals and thus be subject to Target’s strict no pets policy.

Service dogs in training are exempt from some ADAs requirements. However, the handler is still responsible for ensuring the animal is well-behaved and up-to-date on vaccinations.

Can Target Employees Ask for Documentation?

Target and Apple store employees can enforce the no animals allowed policy by asking for proof of registration if there is a safety concern.

If you are wondering whether you can consider Target dog-friendly for assist dogs or a non-service dog, then you might want to know whether Target employees are allowed to ask for documentation that verifies the highly-trained animals.

Employees should not request documentation or proof of disability from customers accompanied by a service animal, per the ADA’s Handler’s Rights.

However, if a dog reacts and employees become alert dangerous signs, they may ask for proof that your dog is a post traumatic stress disorder dog, seeing eye dog, or other certified service animal.

Target’s pet policy allows for this type of question. Furthermore, in some jurisdictions, service animals are required to have identification.

Tips For Bringing Your Service Dog To The Store

Across the country, there are millions of service dog owners that can help hearing impaired owners, those with sleep disorders, alert nearby individuals of health conditions, and other types of service dogs.

Obviously, they need to be able to bring their dog into a store with them. So, their choices are to go to a pet-friendly store or secure their dog’s access through preparation to distinguish themselves from other pets and other animals.

Service dogs are not simply a furry friend, they are crucial tools for visually impaired people or those that need mobility assistance. Here are some of the steps that you can take to ensure your service dog is allowed in your next retail shopping destination.

Call Ahead or Research Service Animal Policy

It may be challenging to locate the official dog policy of Target on the website, but you can always call your local Target store to find out the information. Only service animals are allowed inside retail establishments.

Although the pet policy at Target is straightforward, different stores have varying degrees of leniency regarding the rules regarding dogs.

Target may post a “Service Dogs Only” sign or a similar phrase on the doors of your local Target store.

Most Target locations rely on the honor system, and store employees are not permitted to inquire as to whether or not a customer has a service dog.

Getting Your Dog Ready

When introducing a dog to something new, it’s best to take it slow and steady so that the dog can adjust to the situation at its own pace.

When looking at a store from a dog’s perspective, an aisle is similar to a narrow tunnel.

The design of store aisles and shelves can send a dog into one of the natural avoidance modes (fight, flight, or surrender) because they have no idea what stores are.

We also tend to forget that the store shelves in stores can block a dog’s line of sight, adding to the already confusing environment.

When we bring our dogs into a store, we must ensure they are well-behaved and never get out of control.

Most service dogs have the necessary training to be in social situations, and it can be easy to manage them in the store.

Use Adequate Leashes or Harnesses

Service dogs only can get into Target stores. However, just because your dog is on a leash doesn’t mean it can come with you to the store.

Employees cannot request documentation or proof of disability from customers accompanied by a service animal, as per the ADA’s Handler’s Rights.

However, to avoid inconveniences and misunderstandings, it is a good idea to keep your service dog outfitted in standard neon-colored service jackets or harnesses to help the employees at Target recognize that your dog is a service animal, not a pet.

In certain circumstances, the store manager has the right to ask you to leave if it causes a disturbance.

You can inquire about Target’s dog policy by dialing your nearest store.


Target has a no-pets policy in line with FDA regulations for stores selling food and other consumables. 

However, customers with ADA-approved service dogs are welcome inside the establishment. The store allows service animals, including emotional support animals and therapy dogs.

Target Pet Policy FAQ

The only circumstance under which you may bring a dog to Target is if it is a service animal. You cannot bring your pet dog to Target. 

Animals are not allowed in Target. Certified service animals are allowed, per ADA guidelines. Pet animals are not permitted inside Target. 

No, you cannot take your dog to Target, whether they are in a stroller or on a leash. Target has a strict no pet policy. 

Pet Friendly Report Card for Target

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Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff

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