Key Takeaways

  • Walmart's corporate policy clearly states that pets are prohibited in their stores.
  • Service animals are the only live animals allowed inside the store.
  • Employees told me they could only ask the employee questions and not for actual proof if a dog is a service animal.
  • Not just dogs but all pets are not allowed in Walmart stores.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

One common question we encounter is whether or not major stores like Walmart are pet friendly. It’s helpful to know the answer for the next shopping trip.

Walmart is not pet friendly and does not allow pets or dogs inside their stores. The only animals allowed in a Walmart are service animals. When you go to Walmart with a dog, they require the dog to be a service animal, well-behaved, and on a leash during the entire visit.

We researched to find out if Walmart is pet friendly by contacting store managers and checking their policies online. There are loopholes to the rules that I found out about by talking with store employees. Keep reading to learn more about the Walmart pet policy and what you can do as a dog owner.

Table of contents


Is Walmart Pet Friendly? [Explained In 2023]

Walmart's corporate policy states that they do not allow pets in their stores. They do make an exception for service animals. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects service dogs.

Service dogs are the only dogs allowed in Walmart. Walmart also distinguishes service animals from emotional support animals and pets. Emotional support animals are not allowed in stores.

The primary reason for this exclusion is food safety concerns and adherence to health regulations in place for grocery stores.

Walmart welcomes service animals but they are not a pet-friendly store. Non-service animals must wait outside or in the car while you shop. This is a standard policy for food-serving establishments.

Can You Bring A Service Dog To Walmart?

Customers can bring a service dog to Walmart. They abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and allow service animals to accompany their handlers while shopping.

Service dogs are specially trained to help individuals with disabilities. Walmart's dog policy states that only service animals are allowed in their stores. Emotional support dogs and pets are not.

If you plan to bring your service dog to Walmart, we recommend having the necessary paperwork or identification to avoid any confusion or delays during your shopping trip.

Why Doesn’t Walmart Allow Pets?

Walmart stores have a strict policy against allowing pets inside their stores. It's essential to understand the reasons behind this decision.

One of the primary factors is health and safety concerns. Walmart must adhere to strict health codes because they sell food products. The presence of pets poses a risk for contamination in food areas.

Another reason is to ensure a comfortable shopping experience for all customers. Not everyone is fond of dogs; some people may have allergies or fear them. Walmart minimizes potential customer issues by keeping pets out of the store.

Emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and non-service pets are not permitted, making Walmart a bad shopping destination for pet owners who want to stay close to their animals.

Rules To Remember When Bringing A Service Dog To Walmart

To ensure a smooth shopping experience with your service dog, here are some rules to remember when bringing a service dog to Walmart:

  • Service dogs must be on a leash and accompanied by their owner
  • Service dogs should be well-behaved
  • Any service animal in the store should perform a specific task related to their owner’s health
  • Service dog owners are required to answer two questions if an employee asks about their dog

A store manager also told me that customers should make sure their service dog is easily identifiable. A clear service dog vest or harness is helpful for store employees. This is an easy way for employees to know the dog is not just a pet.

Do All Walmart Locations Have The Same Pet Policy?

No pet dogs are allowed inside Walmart stores and all Walmart locations have this same policy. Walmart does have outdoor areas to relax with your dog. But the rules state no dogs indoors at any time.

I spoke with managers of a few different Walmart locations in each region of the United States. They are not dog friendly stores and can deny entry to anybody with a pet dog, an emotional support dog, or a therapy dog.

Only service dogs are allowed because they have special training and perform tasks that could save their owner’s life. Food stores like Walmart are extremely strict about this policy.

Do Walmart Employees Say Anything If You Bring A Dog?

When someone brings a dog into Walmart, the law only allows the employee to ask a customer two questions.

  • Is your dog a service dog?
  • What tasks do they perform?

The dog is allowed in the store if the guest answers these questions. It’s easy for customers to lie and get away with it. The store employees would violate the guest's rights if they asked any other questions.

This is why you may see more dogs than usual in a Walmart. Employees have told me it’s a problem because there is nothing they can do about it right now under the current laws.