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Is Target Dog Friendly? All About Taking Your Furry Friend To Target

Is Target Dog Friendly? All About Taking Your Furry Friend To Target

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We all love going to Target, don’t we? Well, what about our lovely canine companions? Do they love going to Target? Perhaps a better question would be does Target love canine visitors? Is Target dog friendly?

At first, we were not quite sure whether or not Target is dog friendly. In fact, we didn’t know if Target stores were animal-friendly. Naturally, some research had to be done to find the correct answers and provide them to curious dog owners — you!

So is Target dog friendly or not? There are two straightforward answers to this question and you may not like them — yes and no!

We have lots of explaining to do, we know. Stick around with us and find out why Target is both dog-friendly and dog-unfriendly!

Is Target Dog Friendly?

targer entrance

Target is one of those retail stores/grocery stores like Costco and Walmart that do allow bringing dogs, but not any kind of dogs. To be more precise, Target stores are dog friendly for service dogs.
That means that owners can not bring their non-service animals A.K.A. pet dogs to Target.

This reminds me that any animal can be a service animal, but most of them are dogs because, you know, dogs are better than cats anyway. Just kidding, both animals are pawesome!

Anyway, Target IS dog friendly for service dogs ONLY. And no, you can not get yourself a service dog unless you suffer from certain disabilities.

Do not be one of those people with fake service dogs just to get into Target. It is utterly rude and disrespectful to people with disabilities!

Does Target Allow You To Bring In Dogs?

As we have previously mentioned, service dogs such as therapy dogs and emotional support dogs are more than welcome at all Target stores around the United States.

In case you did not know how many types of service dogs there are, let me clear that up for you. So, Target allows any of the following types of service dogs to walk in with their human in need: guide dogs, medical alert dogs, seizure alert dogs, hearing dogs, severe allergy alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs.

If your pooch is not a service dog, then Target will not allow you two to get inside.

Service Dogs Are Allowed At Target

All this talk about service animals that are allowed in Target is making me want to explain each type of service dog and what each of them does. And that is exactly what I am going to do, tell you all about these wonderful canines!

Okay, so, you already know that service dogs are very important and super intelligent companions that help their owners get by. They also help their fellow owners overcome daily obstacles and challenges.

For some people, picking up groceries at Target can be quite challenging, and for some, even going to the store can be a chore.

This is when service dogs step in with a helping paw! Here are the type of service dogs that you can find walking alongside their owners in Target:

1. Medical Alert and Assist Dogs

woman and her service dog in store

Know a medical alert and assist dog when you see one in Target because it will most likely wear its service dog uniform.

Medical alert and assist dogs do exactly what their name implies — they sense when their owner is about to have a medical condition such as low blood sugar, high blood pressure, or rapid heart rate.

As you can see, medical alert and assist dogs can react to medical signs that are measurable because they are trained to do so.

These hero canines will become distressed and start barking to inform their troubled owner and others around that something is about to happen.

2. Seizure Alert and Response Dogs

Unlike medical alert and assistance dogs, seizure alert and response dogs sense oncoming seizures in owners that suffer from epilepsy. Not only do these canines alert their owner and others nearby, but they also aid in relieving epilepsy symptoms.

They respond to an epilepsy attack by approaching their owner and lying next to him/her.

This provides comfort and security to the owner because the seizure-alert dog stays by his/hers side as long as the symptoms are ongoing. Moreover, seizure alert and response dogs put their bodies between their owner and the floor in order to prevent injuries. Really cool, right?

Like other service dogs, seizure alert and response dogs will have their working attire, as well as proper documentation.

3. Mobility Assistance Dogs

When pet owners have troubles getting by on their own, mobility assistance dogs are here to help. Walking around Target can be quite tiring for people who are physically disabled or have certain mobility issues.

Picking up groceries can also be a hard task for them, so mobility assistance dogs jump in to help with the groceries.

Shopping at Target is no exception for these canines because Target stores allow mobility assistance dogs, just like any other service dogs.

Mobility assistance dogs are very obedient and do not make a mess around Target; they are kept clean and neat, so no bacterial food contamination can occur.

4. Psychiatric Service Dogs

woman holding her white dog in store

Now it is time to find out what psychiatric service dogs are! These incredible pooches are also called PSDs (short for psychiatric service dogs) which can be written over their uniforms. However, most of the time you will find “service dog” written across their harnesses.

Psychiatric service dogs are there to help their fellow owners who have psychiatric problems such as anxiety, autism, PTSD, ADHD, and so on. These clever dogs are trained to become psychiatric service dogs and they should not be disturbed when doing their job.

For dog owners with psychiatric problems, daily tasks at shopping in Target can be troublesome, so their psychiatric service dogs help them get by.

5. Guide dogs

Guide dogs are really helpful little workers that walk alongside their owners who are visually impaired. These dogs are also extremely helpful for blind owners as they help them get by around Target and other retail stores that allow service dogs.

As intelligent as they are, guide dogs learn routes and they know how to react to auditory instructions that their owners give.

6. Hearing dogs

Hearing dogs are similar to guide dogs except their main task is to alert deaf owners about anything in the environment that they might miss.

For example, if Target employees want to get their deaf owner’s attention, then the hearing dog will alert the owner by walking around and in front, or nibbling lightly on their owner’s hand.

7. Severe Allergy Alert Dogs

People who suffer from severe, and in some cases life-threatening allergies, own severe allergy alert dogs that make their lives easier.

As it states in their name, severe allergy alert dogs alert their owners by literally “smelling” the potential allergens that can be found in retail stores like Target.

When you think about it, there can be a lot of allergens in Target that have the potential of putting sensitive allergy sufferers into anaphylactic shock.

Are Emotional Support Animals At Target Stores?

woman holding her dog while walking in store

Let’s do a comparison here: service dog vs emotional support dog. Many paw lovers are not aware that these two are not the same. So, everyone is surprised when they find out that emotional support animals are NOT allowed at Target, but service dogs are. So, what is the difference between the two?

Well, service dogs are pooches that work a full-time job around their owners. In other words, service dogs are highly trained to help their owners complete everyday tasks, such as, in this case, shopping at Target.

That said, service dogs can only be assigned to people who are diagnosed with health issues, be it mental health issues or mobility issues.

In contrast to service dogs, emotional support dogs are considered as pet dogs because you do not need a certification or a medical condition to own one. In other words, any kind of animal can be a comforting support animal.

I mean, when we put it like that, all dogs are emotional support dogs because they make us happy and calm.

Do They Allow Animals In Target?

Dogs are not the only animals that are not allowed in Target, nay, nay. Target does not want any cats or birds inside. That also goes out for bearded dragons, rodents, and other interesting pets.

The reason behind all of that? It is not that Target hates animals, they just don’t want any animal business inside their stores. They are not fond of animal secretions such as urine, feces, and dirt, which are pretty unsanitary.

This is totally understandable because not all pet owners pay attention to how clean their pets are when visiting a grocery or retail store. Target employees should not be the ones to clean up after other people’s pets which is also one of the reasons why pet dogs, cats, and other animals are not allowed in this store.

Another reason is the Law on food contamination — having dogs and other animals that are walking around Target may contaminate the food and groceries that are found on shelves.

Is Target A Pet-Friendly Store?

If you are wondering “Can I bring my pet to Target?”, I hate to be the bearer of the bad news but, you can’t. I mean, you technically can but Target employees will kindly ask you to leave. This is a strict Target pet policy as of the year 2022.

So, it is safe to say that Target is not among the dog-friendly stores. But, there is an exception. Target only approves service animals which means only dogs that are labeled and certified as service dogs can enter the store!

I also want to mention that this dog policy applies to all Target locations — wherever you are located, no Target store will welcome dogs (pets) and other non-service animals.

Next time you want to take your dog or cat grocery shopping, I recommend that you search for local stores that are pet friendly! You can also try bigger dog-friendly stores like PetCo, Home Depot, Bass Pro Shops, PetSmart, Lowe’s, and even Apple stores!

Does Target Allow Dogs In Backpacks?

target store

If dogs are prohibited from walking in stores because they can contaminate groceries, does Target allow owners to carry their dogs in backpacks when they go shopping? Well, no, not really.

When it comes to carrying your pooch in a backpack, Target does not allow it. Even in backpacks, dogs in Target stores violate the health code and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

Can I Take My Dog To Target In A Stroller?

It is the same with dogs in backpacks — pet dogs in strollers can not enter Target stores unless they are service animals. Even if your dog is a service dog, you must put a leash on it in order to get in and shop inside Target stores.

Target employees want service dog owners to keep their socialized pooches close and well-behaved, which is how any other store would like dogs to behave.

What Is The Policy For Dogs At Target?

At Target, dog policy and pet policy, in general, is “no pets”. Again, unless they are service animals which totally changes the game.

Owners of pet dogs should not be upset with non-dog-friendly stores such as Target, Walmart, and Starbucks because these companies are following the law.

Service Dog Policy At Target

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issued the service pet policy to make it easier for people with disabilities to go shopping with their service animals carefree. Therefore, it is a must for all grocery stores and retail stores to allow service animals (dogs, cats, birds).

I would also like to mention that service dogs at Target, or any other store and place, should not be distracted. That means no petting, no whistling, and no calling of any service dog you see because you are going to interrupt it at doing its job. You may also put the disabled dog owner in an awkward position.

Whenever you see a service dog in its uniform at Target (or anywhere else), know that this pooch is on duty and should not be distracted.

What Aren’t Pet Dogs Allowed In Target?

people waiting in line in target store

Pet dogs are not allowed in Target for various reasons and the majority include hygiene and food safety. Other than that, pet dogs may disturb other shoppers either by barking, whining, or simply being there.

Some of these reasons why dogs aren’t allowed in Target may be odd to you, but trust me, they make sense.

Not All People Like Dogs

It may be surprising to you and me, and every paw lover, but not all people are fond of dogs. That means that some of the people who enter Target may have a problem with you casually walking your four-legged companion.

They may take their dissatisfaction so far as to call the Target store’s manager to deal with you and your dog. Unfortunately, there are plenty of those negative nellies around Target.

Some People Are Allergic To Dogs

There is no denying that some people who love dogs are unfortunately allergic to them. This is a total bummer because most of them can’t own dogs, but they also can’t share the same space with dogs.

So, if a person who suffers from dog allergies finds themselves in Target and you approach with your pooch, you may be responsible for what comes next.

Keep in mind that even if you bring a hypoallergenic dog breed like the Cavapoo with you, no one can guarantee that it won’t cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Dogs Can Carry Parasites

Many dog owners may not be aware that their dog is carrying parasites that can be transferred to humans. Now, that makes their beloved pet a walking hazard, especially if it is in a store such as Target.

You see, dogs can transfer parasite eggs through their saliva, and if you have an infested dog drool over groceries and other items at Target, it puts all shoppers at risk of becoming infested.

It is a matter of public safety and the main reason why many retail stores (not only Target) do not allow pet dogs inside.

Not all dog owners are responsible which means that their dogs may not receive deworming treatments and will continue to spread parasitic eggs through their drool and stool.

Dogs Can Be Messy

Target and other retail stores pay attention to keeping the place tidy as much as possible. Now, as dog owners, we know our fellow companions are far from being clean.

We can not ignore the fact that our pooches carry lots of germs on their noses, tongues, and paws. Those germs and impurities can pose a threat to groceries in Target stores and that is the main reason why pet dogs are prohibited from entering.

Moreover, if dogs are not potty trained, Target is definitely not the place to leave dog poop in. Some dogs may have trouble with pooping a lot, which can be super embarrassing if it happens in a Target store.

Dog Can Be Aggressive

Some pet parents do not socialize their dogs well, which is why Target and many other grocery stores do not want to risk dog bites or even dog fights.

Any dog can become aggressive toward another, but it can also act aggressively toward humans. Even if you do not own any aggressive dog breeds, shoppers at Target may not feel safe around you and your Fido.

Aggressiveness can be mistaken for playfulness when younger dogs attack older dogs, but Target is no place to show off this juvenile behavior.

Dog Can Be Loud

There is no guarantee that pet dogs won’t make a lot of noise in Target stores. If pet dogs can’t get tired of barking, Target employees as well as other shoppers will become very annoyed.

If they are feeling anxious, some pet dogs may bark at nothing which will undoubtedly startle all shoppers at Target.

Unlike pet dogs, service dogs are highly trained to be obedient and to not make a sound unless to alert their owners and others about oncoming dangers or medical crises.

Dogs Can Damage Target Inventory

Even socialized and trained dogs can get the zoomies and start making a mess around Target. Besides knocking off groceries from shelves, such dogs can cause discomfort in people who are shopping at Target.

As for damaging inventory, a dog owner whose pooch has chewed on, broken, or torn items at Target will most likely have to pay for them.

Final Thoughts

happy woman holding her dog in store

Not allowing service dogs in retail stores and grocery stores is globally frowned upon. But, taking pet dogs to stores that only allow service dogs should also be frowned upon. Each store has its rules and as buyers, we should accept and respect those rules.

Most paw lovers who are wondering “is Target dog friendly” somehow become upset when they hear the answer “no”.

But in reality, they should not be upset because it is not the end of the world if their dog can’t get into a retail store. Besides, isn’t it more interesting to surprise the dog with new dog treats and yummy dog food from Target?

If you like going to Target but do not want to leave your dog alone in the house, then you can shop from their website or order items from Amazon.

The pet policy at Target is clear and strict, but for a good reason, don’t you agree?

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