Does Walmart Allow Dogs – Are Stores Pet Friendly?
Walmart is by far the largest and most popular store in the entire planet when it comes to everyday merchandise. Of course, they operate with sites like Walmart.com and Sam’s Club (both owned by the Walton family and originally created by Sam Walton himself), but more importantly, their supercenters are some of the most popular places to get literally anything you need. But what about pet owners? Do they cater to them? Of course, many stores have a very broad pet section that enables people to buy things for their pets, but what are their protocols that are in place when it comes to bringing your own pet in the store?
Walmart has policies in place for pet owners, and it’s to protect and give people certain rights when it comes to animals being in the store. Like many retail chains’ stores though, some stores do allow pets while others only allow service animals. In the United States, the U.S. Constitution protects disabled individuals so that if they have a service dog, their pet has to be let into the store.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
So is Walmart a friendly place to take dogs into the store? It all depends on who you are. Some store managers may allow other people to bring something like their toy teacup chihuahua in their purse, but for the majority of the stores, they’re only limited to (and their signs even say it) service animals.
This means that they’re only friendly to served dogs. Most shoppers with a service dog have to have a service dog license tag onto their dog in order to ensure access. Also, there are things you can do to further enhance your shopping experience for the better. More on that later.
Walmart Staff May Not Always Be Pet-Friendly
One thing that you may notice in the future if you have a service dog, you may realize or come across some Walmart workers who aren’t necessarily so nice. In some instances, and states, location may have a big part to play in it.
For example, in a store that’s not a superstore in the Macon, MO area that has been known to heckle people when they go into the store with a service dog. One U.S. military veteran was constantly told that he wasn’t allowed to have his service dog in the store by the staff, and the staff even argued with him when it came to him telling them that he was a veteran that had seizures and severe PTSD – his dog was to help him in case he had a seizure coming. The store clerks continued to argue with him and had to bring the manager to the front, which publicly humiliated the disabled vet. The store manager quickly ended up reprimanding his employees and letting the man shop with his service dog.
Therefore, the moral of the story is that if you’re going to bring your service dog into a Walmart store, you need to be aware of the possibilities of humiliation that you may ensue. Some stores have good reasons to have these policies (even though the store mentioned above did not), because they have to consider everyone – and some people may be allergic to dogs or the dogs may be a health threat to the other shoppers (such as young children).
How to Be Prepared
You need to make sure you have a good service dog. Most of them are well trained to make sure that you have no incidents. You may also want to not go in during the busiest hours of the day. Always place a harness on your dog, and make sure you have the service dog tag on their collar. The dog has to comply completely with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) policies according to their official regulations.
What You Can Do To Ensure a Smoother Shopping Experience
Aside from the above information that we gave you, there are things that you can do to make sure that you have a better shopping experience, and probably avoid any problems when it comes to Walmart associates giving you a hard time.
First off, you want to make sure that you call and talk to the manager before you even go into the store, or before you’re going to be there. If you know about what time you’re going to be in the store, you can tell the manager so he can inform his staff – this will keep them off your back.
Make sure that you bring something that can keep your service dog somewhat happy while you’re there. Of course, their job is to be there for you, and many of them are well-mannered for the most part. However, you may want to bring something like doggie treats.
In case of an emergency, be sure that you bring some doggy bags. Some pets have anxiety issues themselves (yes, even service dogs), and accidents are known to happen. It is up to the owner’s responsibility to take care of a mess if your dog should poop in the store, or end up peeing when it gets excited. It all depends on the dog and the owner, plus the setting.
Try to avoid the general public with your service dog. For starters, service dogs are well trained to protect their owners – therefore, they may be uneasy around other strangers. And be sure that you don’t just let anyone reach out and pet your dog without your permission.
Walmart may not be the best pet-friendly place to bring a dog, but according to the ADA, they have to provide special services to let service dogs into their building. Therefore, if you are an individual that has disabilities of any type, you can have one in the building. Even anxiety and mental disorders that require you to have a service dog (including PTSD) can qualify you to have a service dog. They must always be accompanied with a leash and that the dog has to be certified to be a service animal, which means that it has to endure special training. Even Walmart in Canada and other countries only allow service animals – and not your pets.