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Loving pet owners are always looking for a new pet-friendly activity in their free time. And this includes shopping trips to popular stores like Target.

Showing up at a location like your local Target on a hot day only to be told that your pet must wait in the car can quickly ruin your mood. It’s best to become familiar with the pet policies and find out whether Target is pet friendly.

Target is not pet friendly. They do not allow pets of any kind in their stores. However, they allow service dogs to visit stores, but there are strict rules to follow. Your dog must be a service dog for a specific disability, and the dog should be on a leash at all times during the store visit.

Because Target is considered a grocery store by the FDA, the rules for pets in stores are much stricter than in other retail franchises. The objective of these policies by the FDA is to avoid animals and food coming into contact and causing contamination. This guide will explain the pet policies at all Target stores.

We have compiled all information by contacting local Target stores and visiting the online policies enforced by Target. There is also more information directly from the ADA and FDA mentioned below.

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Is Target Pet Friendly?

Target is a retail store that has a strict no pet policy. They don't allow customers to bring their pets to the store. This policy is in place to ensure the best safety and cleanliness of the store for all customers.

The only animal allowed inside Target stores is a service dog approved and trained to assist its disabled owners. This policy exists because most Target locations are considered authorized grocery stores.

Allowing pets would violate the rules enforced by the FDA. If you bring your service dog with you, there are strict rules we will discuss in detail that you must follow.

Which Pets Are Allowed In Target?

Target currently has a strict policy that only allows customers to bring service animals into store locations. No pets are allowed.

If your pet is not recognized as a service animal through the ADA under titles II and III, Target restricts entry. And because the ADA approves only dogs under these titles, no other animals are allowed in Target.

Service dogs are trained to perform unique tasks to deal with an individual’s disability. However, these dogs are not required to be registered with the ADA, so the policy is loosely enforced.

Law enforcement dogs are also allowed inside Target stores, but an officer must accompany them at all times.

What Happens If I Bring My Pet To Target?

The ADA policies and federal laws significantly favor pet owners because no stores are legally allowed to ask for any form of documentation to prove your dog is a service animal.

If you were to bring your dog to Target, the chances are low that any workers would say anything to you. They are allowed to ask if your dog is a service animal and what type of task the dog is required to perform.

But you have no obligation to show any type of paperwork. You also don’t need to ask your dog to demonstrate anything for store workers; questions about the owner’s disability are also off-limits.

If you bring any other pet into the store, Target employees would ask you to leave. They only allow service dogs, so bringing a different pet is considered against the rules because the ADA currently only recognizes dogs as service animals.

However, we recommend checking your state’s policy. For example, California state laws require all service dogs to wear a unique tag that identifies them as service animals.

Types Of Service Dogs Allowed In Target

There is common confusion about the difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog. Emotional support dogs are not allowed in Target stores, and the only types of service dogs allowed in the store are listed below.

  • Guide Dogs
  • Hearing Dogs
  • Mobility Support Dogs
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs
  • Seizure Alert Dogs
  • Psychiatric Service Dogs
  • Autism Service Dogs
  • FASD Service Dogs
  • Allergy Detection Dogs

Service dogs are unique because they have been trained for a specific reason. This could include any of the above disabilities, allowing them to react appropriately if something goes wrong for their owner.

Rules To Follow If You Bring A Service Dog To Target

Pets are not allowed in Target stores. However, if you bring a service dog to Target, there are some rules that you should follow.

Always Keep Your Dog On A Leash

You should always keep your pet on a leash and ensure the leash does not extend more than six feet from your body. They should never be left unattended in the store, either.

Dog Must Be Under Control At All Times

Dogs must be controlled and away from bothering other guests at Target stores at all times. This doesn't tend to be an issue because most service dogs have excellent training and are well-behaved.

Service Dogs Must Be Vaccinated

Service dogs must also be vaccinated and immunized for approval from the ADA. Without these immunizations, becoming a registered service dog is not possible.

These immunizations include rabies, parvovirus, and canine distemper virus. This ensures your dog is protected, healthy, and in the best shape.

Does The Target Pet Policy Apply To All Store Locations?

Unlike other retail stores, Target must enforce its strict pet policy across all locations. As a grocery store, organizations like the FDA monitor you, and breaking the rules could result in severe consequences.

Retail stores with fewer restrictions could keep a more relaxed policy that varies based on the location. There are also state rules to consider.

For many states, you are not required to provide any proof that your dog is a certified service animal. But a few states like California force owners to label their dogs with a tag to verify their status.

Why Are Pets Not Allowed In Target?

Target does not explicitly state why they don’t allow pets inside stores. The primary objective is to keep the store comfortable and safe for all guests.

However, Target does qualify as a grocery supplier, and the FDA does have a strict policy that severely limits the presence of pets inside stores. The only exception applies to ADA-approved, registered service animals.

This rule is because dogs and other animals have thick coats of fur and present a risk of contamination with food products. These rules can only be broken for service animals or law enforcement dogs.

Will Target Ask To See Service Dog Papers?

There have been reports of Target employees asking to see papers before, but this is prohibited for a few reasons.

1. You Cannot Ask For Proof Of A Disability

Businesses and stores are not allowed to discriminate against persons with a disability. Because of this, no proof of a disability can be requested by any employee.

Doing so is a significant risk for the store because it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

2. Service Dog Documentation Is Not Required

Service dogs are not required to get any official documentation. Many owners opt to register a service dog because it can provide added benefits, but because it is not required, a store like Target cannot ask for proof.