Target is a chain of superstores operating in the US and Canada. Target stores are a go-to grocery store for many people, with over 1930 outlets in the country alone—many people mill in and out of their local Target, a popular shopping location. There are bound to be people who would like to bring their pets to their weekly shopping.
To many of us, our fur friends are like family. We like traveling together and spending our daily lives with each other. Sometimes, it can be hard leaving them behind, even if we have to make a run to the nearest grocery store. If that happens to be Target, that begs the question: can you bring your dog (or any fur buddy, for that matter) into Target?
Does Target Allow Dogs?
Unfortunately, Target has a no-pet policy, which means any pets, including dogs, are not allowed on the premises. However, exceptions are made for licensed service dogs assisting shoppers with disabilities. Signs stating that only service dogs are permitted can be found at the entrance of every Target.
Are Service Dogs Allowed at Target?
Service dogs are dogs trained to perform specific tasks to aid people with disabilities. The categories of service dogs include:
Allergen Alert Dogs
For people with severe allergies, allergen alert dogs are vital for sniffing out potential allergens in the environment and alerting their handlers. Service dogs are especially needed in places like Target, where multiple food items or potential allergens can be found in the air.
Seizure Alert and Response Dogs
For seizure-prone individuals, seizure alert and response dogs are the first to detect and seek aid when a seizure is about to occur.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric service dogs also perform tasks similar to seizure alert dogs. They detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and are trained to assist their handlers in managing attacks or seeking help.
Guide dogs provide essential assistance to blind or vision-impaired individuals. They help them navigate their surroundings safely and alert them of obstacles.
Training dogs assist deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals by notifying them of any sounds that require their attention.
Why Aren’t Pets Allowed At Target?
The answer is quite simple: Target is a major department store that sells various daily goods. These goods also include food items, including fresh food.
Having pets on the premises increases the risk of germs spreading, primarily due to fur shedding and customers’ inability to manage their pets.
Other grocery stores such as Walmart, IKEA, and Costco also do not allow dogs past their doors for regulation purposes.
Dogs are also not allowed in Target as untrained dogs can potentially show aggression towards other shoppers or pets on the premises. Aggressive dogs can cause disruptions in the shoppers’ shopping experience.
Service dogs are the exception as they are trained occupational dogs and are required by their handlers for health reasons. Allowing service dogs to enter the premises ensures that individuals with disabilities can exercise their rights to access public spaces freely and are not discriminated against.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed?
Emotional support dogs are also crucial for the well-being of many people and are treated similarly to service dogs.
That being said, only licensed dogs approved are allowed on Target premises. Sadly, emotional support or therapy dogs are not adequately trained under the ADA guidelines (Americans with Disabilities Act) and cannot enter Target stores with the same qualifications as service dogs.
How Do You Bring Your Service Dog Into Target?
If you are bringing your service dog to Target, it would be good to have your dog wearing a service dog vest, or you could carry its corresponding ID tag with you. Your dog should also have a leash on.
Upon entry, Target staff will ask if your dog is a service dog and what type of service it provides.
Target staff is not legally allowed to ask you to present proof that your dog is indeed a service dog or prove that you have a disability.
Therefore, they would have to rely on your integrity and honesty in bringing a service dog into their stores. If your dog behaves aggressively or causes a disturbance, they have the right to request that you leave the store.
Which Stores Are Dog Friendly?
By principle, it is safe to assume that any store that sells food for human consumption would have a no-pets policy to avoid health code violations. However, there are plenty of places that will gladly welcome you and your fur buddy for a day of fun.
Some stores that are known to be pet-friendly are:
- Hobby Lobby
Home Depot also follows a “Service Dogs Only” policy. Still, it is generally more lenient towards fur buddies on their premises. However, this varies from store to store.
Dogs are a significant part of a pet owner’s life. While it would be great to bring them out to see the world and accompany us as we go about our daily lives, stores such as Target cannot allow them into their doors for valid reasons.
Target has a responsibility to protect its shoppers from any potential disturbances or health and safety risks to provide them with the best environment for shopping.
Knowing that, Target also has a responsibility to allow service dogs onto their premises, as service dogs are the ones with the responsibility to protect their handlers in public spaces.
Have any more questions about Target’s pet policies? Leave us a comment below!