The participation in everyday life is something many of us take for granted, and those with disabilities, are often discriminated against. A quick trip to Walmart for the majority of us would be considered simple, but for someone with a disability– require extra assistance from either a companion or service animal, to help them with various tasks such as walking, hearing, picking up things, or similar.
What’s great is that Walmart recognizes the need for service dogs, therefore allowing all service animals to enter their stores. A service animal as defined by the ADA is a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks or duties for people with disabilities. Any other animal, including pets, is not permitted inside of Walmart and associates have the right to deny entry.
So if you’re looking to stay away from trouble and abide by Walmarts policy, it’s best to leave your furry friends at home while you shop in-store. Leave space for the presence of service dogs assisting their disabled handler to provide them the trained support they require, and you can save your one-on-one time with your pooch when you arrive home. Continue reading to learn more about Walmarts dog policy!
Is Walmart Dog Friendly?
Walmart is as dog friendly as any other of its competitors, meaning they allow service dogs to enter their store and assist their companion with a disability. If, however, you were hoping to bring your pet pooch for a shopping trip- think again.
As per Walmarts dog policy, any animal that is not a service animal as defined by the ADA is not permitted to enter the premises. This includes both America and Canada. Customers who attempt to bring their pet without adequate documentation or reason are subject to refusal of entry.
Service animals are an exception to this rule because they play an integral role in a disabled person’s life, often requiring them to undertake specific tasks or lend assistance to their owner as per his training.
All in all, if you’re visiting a Walmart and don’t want to get kicked out– don’t take your pet animals inside. Leave them at home, or in the car with the window cracked down. It’s better for you, for your pooch, and for those who truly require their assistant animals.
Walmart Dog Policy
Walmart has a strict no animals policy in-store unless they’re a service dog. Fully trained and trainee service dogs accompanied by their handler are welcome. Unfortunately for some, Walmart does not allow pets or other animals on their premises, and Walmart associates have the right to refuse entry if they feel a customer has tampered with such a policy.
Service animals are defined by the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) as referring to a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. In addition, they also state that the task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.
Walmart claims to understand the necessity and important role for which service dogs play in many disabled people’s lives, thus welcoming their presence.
Why Are Service Dogs Allowed?
The allowance of service dogs permitted into Walmart is a wonderful exception for those with disabilities that require assistance to engage in life activities. A service dog dedicates his life to help his disabled owner, and vice versa.
There are three important reasons why service dogs should be (and are) allowed inside of Walmart:
- They play an integral duty in a disabled person’s life- from assistance, support, and care
- It is Federal Law for the allowance of service dogs to enter public places
- Walmart can not be seen as a franchise that discriminates against the public with disabilities, and their need for their service animal
Service dogs can be trained for many different people with disabilities. Examples provided by the ADA include providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.
Don’t forget, try not to judge a book by its cover. Regardless of your opinion about hygiene or other personal views regarding service animals– they’re an important piece in a disabled person’s life.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walmart Canada?
Canada is no different from Walmart’s policy for animals in-store compared to America–meaning Walmart Canada only allows service animals to enter their premises. Walmart Canada’s specific wording includes “service animals are permitted to enter Walmart stores as companions to customers with disabilities.”
Walmart Canada also states that it’s usually apparent that a service animal is indeed a service animal, referring to any identifying markings like a harness or tag. In such instances, the animal will be allowed to enter the premises without question.
In a Canadian Global News article, a Calgary man retells a “traumatic” experience where he felt harassed and upset due to questioning about his service dog from a Walmart employee.
However, Walmart state where on occasions if it’s uncertain or not easy to identify if an animal is a service animal, a Walmart associate is allowed to ask the customer, and on occasion temporarily deny entry until the customer can produce a tag, card, or document from a public health authority or medical practitioner confirming that the animal is a service animal. The document must also be on official letterhead with a telephone number.
Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
This might come as a shock to some, but Walmart does not allow emotional support dogs (also referred to as therapy dogs) into their stores. In fact, they ask that any other animal refrains from entering unless they’re a recognized service dog.
The Difference Between an Emotional Support Dog and a Service Dog
In order to better understand Walmarts animal policy, it’s important to know what the difference is between an emotional support dog vs a service dog.
An emotional support dog’s purpose is to provide comfort by helping to relieve a symptom or effect of a person’s disability. Emotional support dogs are not specially tasked trained and are not allowed by Federal Law to accompany their handler in places like restaurants, stores, movie theaters, etc.
A service dog, however, is specially tasked trained and recognized by Federal Law to accompany their handler in the majority of public places. They’re also trained to assist only one person, who is the handler or the person with the disability.
Emotional Support Dogs are NOT Service Dogs
It’s important to remember that as much as help the two pooches can be, an emotional support dog and a service dog do not provide the same assistance. And as Walmarts animal policy applies, any dog that is not defined by the ADA can not enter their premises.
Are Little Dogs Allowed in Walmart?
Are you the proud owner of a little dog and curious if you’re allowed to bring her along during your next Walmart trip? Pause– there are only a few exceptions to who and what type of dog can enter Walmart, so listen carefully!
If you require assistance and use a service animal (as recognized by the ADA,) you’re welcome to bring your dog, both little or large into Walmart with you. However, if you want to bring your pet dog, regardless of size, unfortunately, you are subject to this exception.
Many people believe only large dogs can be working dogs, however, this is false. One size does not fit all, meaning small dogs can well and truly serve as service dogs. In fact, for those who require assistance but live in small complexes or apartments, smaller working dogs are preferred.
Remember; Although you might have no problem bringing your well-trained small pooch into Walmart, please consider the rules of Walmart as well as how this might affect someone of assistance if your dog begins to bark at their service dog, etc.
Rules for Dogs in Walmart
There are no specific rules for dogs in Walmart, as the only dogs or animals allowed in-store are service animals defined by the ADA. Service animals are trained dogs that assist their handler with daily tasks specific to their disability– thus, service dogs have no rules when inside Walmart.
Persons who bring their service dog inside of Walmart might be subject to questioning if their service animal is unable to be recognized by the associate that they’re a service dog. In Walmart Canada, associates have the right to obtain legal authentication through documentation, a tag, or similar to ensure the animal is a service dog.
If a Walmart associate suspects a customer to be disturbing this policy, he/she has the right to provide both the customer and the dog a temporary pass/entry inside of Walmart while certifying documentation– or on rare occasions, deny entry altogether.
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