Is Walmart Pet-Friendly? Walmart Dog Policy Explained (Updated 2022)

Woman saying no to dogs allowed in Walmart

According to the National Pet Owners Survey 2019-20, about 85 million American families own one or more pets. That’s almost 67% of the total number of households! Without a doubt, we love having pets–and we love taking them places.

But owning a pet comes with its responsibilities. Besides taking good care of your pup’s health, you also need to make sure whether or not it is allowed to the places you are taking it to. One such commonplace is Walmart. 

As you are preparing for your trip to the store, you might stop and think: “Wait, are dogs allowed in Walmart?”

We’ll cut to the chase: Walmart is not pet-friendly. According to its corporate policy, Walmart does not allow pets in its stores. Walmart allows Service Animals in their stores, as defined by the ADA. Emotional Support Dogs and pets are not allowed in Walmart stores.

Not all dog owners are aware of this policy or how it might affect them. So, we’re doing the hard work required to uncover all of the knowledge that you’ll need to know before you make the decision whether to bring your dog or leave them at home.

In this article, we will try to answer all your remaining queries about taking pets to the store. Does Walmart grocery stores allow dogs in its store? What about service animals? Are they allowed? Is there anything more I need to keep in mind while taking my pet to the store? Keep reading further to know all about it.

The Details: Does Walmart Allow Pet Animals In Its Store?

So if you were thinking about taking your four-legged friend with you to run the next errand, you should consider dropping the plan. Yes, we have some bad news for you here. According to Walmart’s Corporate Policy, Walmart strictly prohibits pet animals in its stores.

Walmart Stores Pet Policy

Here’s what the official Walmart Pet Policy says, verbatim:

“Walmart welcomes service animals as defined by the ADA in our stores, and we recognize the important role they play in many of our customers’ lives. We do not allow pets in our stores.”

As evident from the image above, the official website of Walmart has a tough stance in this case. The site clearly mentions, “We do not allow pets in our stores.” So the best thing to do is to leave your pet child at home while you are on your way to the store. 

Why Doesn’t Walmart Allow Dogs?

Odd Dog No Dogs Allowed

Many pet lovers would love for Walmart to be dog-friendly and for pets to be allowed in Walmart, but that’s simply not the case. Dogs and pets are prohibited from Walmart, aside from a service animal.

Honestly, it is pretty understandable. No matter how much we love our pets, at times, they can be tough to manage. Store managers can face issues related to hygiene and security.

There are many concerns and potentially health hazards that accompany the prospect of bringing pet dogs or dog strollers into food stores.

If you find yourself struggling to understand

Socialization Issues

You never know which pet is socially anxious. Maintaining peace with hundreds of pets in a store is certainly not an easy task! If pets were allowed in Walmart stores, you never know what might happen. Not all of our furry friends are friendly towards other people and dogs.

Having Dogs in Stores Could Violate Health Codes

A pet owner that doesn’t pay mind to this could be putting other people in danger by bringing their pet dog to a store. Regardless of how friendly their dog may be to them, it’s never known how they will react to unique and tough situations.

And for a company like Walmart, with a chain of retail stores across the country and the world, customer experience is its top priority. They can’t constantly be concerned about an emotional support animal or pet attacking guests or causing issues in their stores.

Hygiene Concerns

Dogs Pose a Food Contamination Risk

Another very understandable reason for Walmart’s dog policy of not allowing pet dogs and only permitting real service animals is the hygiene concerns that could rise up. Can you imagine the store that you love to shop in being covered with dog hair?

While this is acceptable for pet stores, your local Walmart manager will be none too pleased if their store has an un-trained pet roaming the aisles.

Walmart Managers Will Lose Focus on Customers, and Pay Attention to Dog Messes Instead

Allowing dogs into Walmart stores, and especially areas that serve food, poses local applicable food safety regulations violations, food safety concerns, health and contamination risks, and overall can earn them a visit from the local health department.

Large retailers such as Walmart prefer to keep things safe and clean. Though company policy does not allow for pets, therapy dogs, emotional support animals, and other dogs that do not have special training, they do allow highly-trained service dogs inside the store for those that require service animals.

Many service dogs are very well-groomed and highly-trained to help a disabled person shop, despite the no dog policy that applies to most dogs.

Pet and Shopper Safety

The final reason that we want to go over for Walmart instituting a ban on bringing a dog into Walmart (aside from service dogs) other than the food hygiene and potential socialization issues is for simple pet and shopper safety.

Walmart Employee and Shoppers are Safer Without Dogs, and are More Able to Serve Customers

When you put a dog into a situation that they aren’t familiar with, they could cause danger to shoppers. Aside from simple aggression on the part of our four legged friends, you could also cause another shopper to have an allergic reaction.

So, the best option to save itself from any uncalled trouble is to ban the entry of pets into its stores. This eliminates the potential for people to get upset or injured, and it also reduces the risk of your pet becoming injured or stressed.

Are Service Animals & Service Dogs Allowed?

While bringing your dog, emotional support dog, and other non service animals to a Walmart store is strictly prohibited, bringing only service dogs is allowed. Walmart complies with ADA requirements, which provide protections for those with a service dog.

Service Animal Shopping at Walmart

It’s important to note that this rule does not allow for emotional support animals. It only provides protection for service dogs. Service animals are typically not provided for people with basic mental health issues or PTSD dogs, but they are in some cases. There are dogs that are specially trained to help this category of person.

If you were feeling disheartened reading the article all this while, don’t worry, we finally have something positive to tell you here. Walmart allows the entry of service animals into its stores. Let’s have a look at the official website one more time to know what it has to say.

As the highlighted part makes it all clear, Walmart has no issues in allowing service animals into its stores. Walmart says it recognizes the important role service animals play in many of its customers’ lives. 

They also cite the reference to ADA guidelines. ADA stands for Americans with Disability Act. According to Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, service animals as those who are individually trained to perform tasks for a person with disabilities.

The tasks should be directly related to the person’s disability. Usually, service dogs wear a bright harness or vest, although it’s not made compulsory by the ADA. 

Remember, therapy pets are not included in the category of service animals. We know that you are emotionally attached to your therapy pet, but it’s better to leave it at home and get back to it after running errands.

You can’t just bring dogs to most Walmart stores or other stores, especially in a stroller or sling carrier bag. Store management, Walmart managers, and Walmart employees could ask you to leave if you attempt this.

So if your dog qualifies for all the above criteria, then yes, Walmart would have no issues in allowing it to the store. Feel free to bring your service dog to the store next time!

Emotional Support Dogs Walmart Policy

Despite the fact that some people depend on emotional support animals, these are not dogs allowed in Walmart. An emotional support dog is different–they are non service animals and they are not dogs allowed in a Walmart store.

Some dog owners will be dismayed to hear this, but the main problem that these are not dogs allowed in Walmart is that people all around the country have abused the privilege of bringing dogs into grocery stores and other retail stores.

Some Tips for Bringing Your Service Dog to the Store 

Now that we know that only service animals are the ones that are allowed into Walmart stores, let’s have a look at some tips that would be helpful to know when you are with your service dog at the store. 


Firstly, if you have a small dog, carrying it in a portable backpack can be a great option. Make sure that your carrier is soft, convenient, and large enough to comfortably fit your pet in. A sling pet carrier or a carrying case of appropriate size would work.

Use Leashes or Harnesses

Dogs should be leashed at all times if brought into a store

For bigger dogs, having a good quality collar and a leash is a must. Here too, you need to ensure that the collar is comfortable on your pet’s neck. And although not compulsory as per ADA guidelines, it’s always better to place a “service dog” card on your pet to save yourself from any inconvenience. Many owners prefer having a harness for easy control. 

Investing in the best leash for your service dog is also necessary. For example, a LED leash can be really helpful for night walks. Similarly, having a traffic leash can save you in emergencies. 

Socialize Your Dog

Moreover, before walking into the store with your dog, you should ensure that it is already trained to socialize. If not trained, a crowded environment can be a stressful scenario for your dog. 

For instance, an infant’s loud cry and the regular public buzz in a retail store can easily make your pet uncomfortable. It is always recommended to ensure that your dog is well trained to socialize and is not anxious in public places. 

Be Proactive

And although you do not need permission to walk into a store with service dogs, it can help to contact the store manager beforehand. If requested, many store managers are kind enough to allow your furry friend into the store even if it’s not a service animal. If that doesn’t work either, then maybe it’s time for you to find a pet-friendlier store nearby. 


So that was it! Everything you needed to know before bringing your pet into the store. To sum it all up, unfortunately, Walmart doesn’t allow entry for pets in its stores. But if you have a service animal, you will have no issues bringing it to Walmart. 

Choosing the best collar and leash for your pet is essential. Moreover, it is also recommended to have your dog socially trained before you take it to public places. So the next time you are planning to run errands along with your furry friend, hope this article will help. 

Walmart Pet Policy FAQ

No, Walmart does not allow animals inside of their stores. The only exception is for certified service animals, per the ADA guidelines. No pet dogs or other animals are allowed. 

Yes, Walmart employees and managers can and will ask owners if their animal is a service animal. You can identify your animal as a service animal by having it wear a bright-colored vest. 

No, emotional support animals are not allowed in Walmart stores, per their company policy.

Pet Friendly Report Card for Walmart

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Editorial Staff
Author: Editorial Staff