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Pups in Public: Which Stores and Restaurants Are Dog-Friendly?

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It’s always a pleasure taking your dog out in public. He gets to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the town, and he loves all the attention he gets from strangers “ooh”-ing and “aww”-ing over him.

And it’s a bit of an ego boost for you, too. Yep, that’s your sweet, adorable dog, and you’re proud of him!

However, not all businesses agree. Many stores, restaurants, and other public places prohibit animals from entering their premises, citing health reasons, messes and the potential for disruption.

So which businesses are dog-friendly, and which ones should you visit without your pup? Here’s your guide to the dog policies of Walmart, Target, McDonald’s and other popular chains.

Department Stores

Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart?

Dog in the department store

Walmart’s official policy is pretty cut-and-dry, and most stores have large signs at the entrances to remind you of it. In short: unless your dog is a service animal, you can’t bring him in.

The policy specifically excludes emotional support, therapy, and comfort dogs. Only dogs that have been trained to perform a specific disability-related task are allowed into the stores.

This has always been Walmart’s policy, but in recent years, the company has begun cracking down on those who disobey it. After countless instances of dogs peeing and pooping in the store, damaging products, and behaving aggressively towards staff and other customers, it’s no wonder why.

Walmart’s animal policy aligns with ADA guidelines, which state that service animals must be allowed into businesses unless the animal becomes disruptive, destructive or otherwise threatening to health or safety.

So even if your dog is a trained service animal, if he starts causing a ruckus or making a mess, Walmart will have no problem asking you to leave the store. And it’ll be fully within its rights to do so.

Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

Walmart’s big red cousin, Target, has an adorable bull terrier with a target around his eye as its mascot. That means it’s cool to bring your dog in with you when you shop, right?

Well, not really. Like Walmart, Target bans all animals except trained service animals from its stores.

Emotional support animals do not fall under the service animal umbrella, so they’re also prohibited from Target just like regular pets. Leave your dog at home next time you go on a Target run to avoid getting in trouble.

Hardware Stores

Are Dogs Allowed in Home Depot?

The big orange hardware store is the go-to place for DIYers — and their dogs. Yes, Home Depot is a dog-friendly store!

This includes pets, emotional support animals and service animals. As long as your dog is leashed and well-behaved, he’s welcome in Home Depot.

However, it’s worth calling ahead to your specific store and double-checking that dogs are allowed. Some Home Depot customers report being turned away with their dogs despite the company’s dog-friendly policy.

Are Dogs Allowed in Lowes?

Lowes isn’t quite as dog-friendly as Home Depot: official corporate policy prohibits animals other than trained service dogs. This means that emotional support animals and pets need to be left at home.

However, enforcement seems to vary based on location, with some individual stores having no problem allowing well-behaved pets inside. And almost all stores allow dogs into the Outdoor Living section, so if you’re just picking up some plants, pavers or potting soil, feel free to bring your pup.

Restaurants

Dog in the restaurant

Are Dogs Allowed in McDonald’s?

For health reasons, dogs aren’t allowed into McDonald’s. There’s an exception for service dogs, but all other dogs need to be left at home or outside.

However, if your McDonald’s has an outdoor seating area, your dog is welcome to sit there with you while you eat. Just don’t try to bring him inside!

Are Dogs Allowed in Wendy’s?

As with McDonald’s, health codes prohibit Wendy’s from allowing dogs other than service dogs inside. It makes sense — nobody wants dog hair in their burgers or Frosties!

Some Wendy’s locations have outdoor dining areas, and if yours is one of them, you’re welcome to bring your dog there.

Are Dogs Allowed in Starbucks?

Dogs aren’t allowed inside Starbucks unless they’re trained service-dogs. But it’s fine if you want to sit out on the patio with your dog while sipping your coffee.

Make sure to ask your barista for a “puppucino” — a little cup of whipped cream for your dog to enjoy. Most locations are happy to give your dog a treat!

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Miscellaneous Dog-Friendly Stores

Many businesses other than the ones listed allow pets, including dogs, inside.

If you need a new outfit and want your dog’s opinion, both Macy’s and Nordstrom (including the outlet-like Nordstrom Rack) allow dogs. And if you’re looking for a good deal, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx are pet-friendly, too.

Barnes & Noble generally welcomes well-behaved dogs, though they may not be allowed in the cafe section of the store. Another mall mainstay, Lush Cosmetics, also welcomes dogs.

Interested in splurging with your dog at your side? Well, Pottery Barn and the Apple Store are kind enough to allow dogs to peruse their high-end merchandise during non-peak hours.

Harbor Freight Tools and Tractor Supply Co. both welcome dogs, so bring your pup along next time you need a new power drill or lawnmower part.

And finally, pet stores like PetSmart and Petco almost always allow dogs inside. So when it’s time for a new toy, bring your dog with you and let him pick one out!

Last update on 2020-11-25

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