Many of us enjoy exercising, playing, and even traveling with our pooches, so it makes sense that we’d also want to take them out on shopping trips too. Though before we do, we have to consider whether the store we visit will permit dogs indoors. While some retail stores and cafes around the country are very dog-friendly, others can have strict policies for hygiene reasons or a bad past experience.
So what about the biggest retail giant of them all – does Home Depot allow dogs? Yes, most Home Depot stores across the US allow dogs into their stores. The company’s corporate policy states that dogs must be leashed at all times and that generally, only service dogs (those trained to assist people with disabilities) are allowed. However this seemingly strict ‘service dogs only’ policy is not normally enforced at a local level.
Home Depot customers may have noticed that employees themselves often use service dogs to help them in their job if they have vision problems. The aisles in HD stores are also fairly wide to accommodate pets that may want to tag along – even the shopping carts come in different sizes if customers want to push their dogs around! Read on to learn a bit more about Home Depot’s pet policy here and in Canada, plus a look at why some stores are not dog-friendly.
What is Home Depot’s Pet Policy?
Home Depot’s official policy on allowing pets in their US stores states that only service dogs are permitted, however, many customers have also come across the following notice in their local store: “Leashed dogs are welcome inside, but they must be under control and cleaned up after.” This is the policy as seen quoted on related sites and customer review pages.
Unsurprisingly, this has caused a lot of confusion for customers, which is why it’s best to go by the rules or etiquette set by your local Home Depot store. It’s important to note also that the pet policy at any HD store can change at any time at the manager’s discretion, particularly in specific circumstances of biting and safety concerns (more on reports of dog bites at Home Depot later).
While the pet policy is fairly relaxed across stores in the states, this will not reflect official policies in Home Depot stores outside of the US, so keep in mind that countries will set their own rules when it comes to allowing dogs or any pets inside their store.
Is Home Depot Dog Friendly?
Home Depot stores are dog friendly by and large, since many branches across the US have a relaxed view of the official ‘service dogs only’ policy. Many customers who shop at HD with their dogs have reported that they have never been asked to provide their dog’s credentials before entering the store.
In the interest of clarification, even Home Depot employees have taken to Twitter to share their views on how dog friendly their stores are. One commented: “Management have told us that as long as a dog doesn’t mess on the floor, scare customers or act aggressive then they are fine to come in the store”. Another claimed that their manager told them that asking dog owners for documentation at the door was “too awkward” and “too much of a grind.”
Another reason behind Home Depot’s reputation as a dog-friendly place to shop is the layout of the stores themselves. Most stores have wide aisles that can accommodate dogs on a leash without making other customers feel crowded.
Is Home Depot Pet Friendly in Canada?
Unlike the US stores, the Canadian Home Depot has a rigorous ‘no animals in-store’ policy. In their official statement on the Home Depot Canada website, they state that: “The safety of our customers and associates is our number one priority. Certified service animals are an exception to this policy and are welcome in our stores.”
Following an incident in 2011 where a customer’s dog “bit a Home Depot staff member”, stores across Canada imposed the strict ban on pets (excluding service animals) from entering. To ensure your dog qualifies as a service dog in Canada, click here. And for certifying a service dog in the US, check through this guide.
Why Does Home Depot Allow Dogs?
As their official pet policy states, Home Depot allows dogs in their stores on the understanding that these are certified service dogs. Service dogs are necessary for customers who need assistance while out and about, so they may be trained to perform certain tasks that will aid the owner in their shopping experience, such as guide dogs for customers with vision impairment.
As above-mentioned, many Home Depots already have dogs inside their store before customers show up. Employees at HD with disabilities and those in need of extra assistance often have their own service dog with them on shift to help them out with certain tasks and duties.
Recognizing a Real Service Dog from a Fake One
Because of the relatively relaxed Home Depot pet policy, some customers may feel justified in bringing any dog along with them – even ones that may be poorly-trained and unpredictable. If you know that your Home Depot does enforce the ‘service dogs only’ policy and you are concerned that another customer has brought in an obviously fake service dog (it happens), there are some tell-tale signs to look out for.
While we don’t wish to encourage the unnecessary reporting of every customer with a nuisance dog in store, if you witness a dog that is off the leash or behaving aggressively – especially if they could pose a danger to children – then this should be reported to a member of staff. Not only for the sake of customer safety but for the protection of Home Depot employees too.
Dog Friendly Stores
Home Depot isn’t the only retail chain with a relaxed view on allowing dogs indoors. Here are many other popular stores that claim to be dog friendly:
Barnes & Noble
The book megastore allows service dogs inside their stores under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Certain stores may not permit dogs in the in-store coffee shop area though, so always call ahead.
The clue is in the name. Like many pet stores across the country, Petco happily welcomes leashed and well-behaved dogs, though how restrained your dog will be at the sight of treats and toys everywhere is your call!
Lowe’s has a similar policy to Home Depot, some stores stipulating ‘service dogs only’ while others are more relaxed, so be sure to check and call ahead.
The Apple Store
Apple stores are happy for customers to bring their dogs inside, although they do ask owners to carry their pet pooches if the store starts filling up.
While it seems like a dog in Pottery Barn is akin to a bull in a china shop, the high-end homeware store does in fact permit dogs indoors – as long as they are on a leash, well-mannered and preferably small purse-sized pooches.
Quick tips for shopping with your dog:
- If you’re bringing a smaller dog with you and don’t want to use a leash, using a sling or sturdy rucksack to carry them may offer you more support.
- Use a harness-style collar on a larger dog for better control of them.
- Opt for a traditional flat leash instead of an extendable one. This will give you greater control over your dog and avoid any unnecessary accidents should they wind their leash around a display or around other customers!
Reports of Dog Bites in Home Depot
Unfortunately, not every dog to enter Home Depot is trained or well-behaved, which is why all Canadian stores and select stores in the US remain strict on their ‘service dogs only’ policy. The following are just a few reports of dog bite incidents in recent years that have forced some stores to make tighter rules:
(2011) Toronto Home Depot
When 39-year-old Home Depot greeter Anne Riel bent down to pet a customer’s Shih Tzu at an Ottawa branch, the dog lunged at her face and began viciously attacking her nose. The bite was so severe that doctors had to reattach Riel’s left nostril, and she required multiple plastic surgeries before her nose looked “somewhat normal.” This incident prompted a nationwide ban of pets (besides service dogs) in Canadian Home Depots.
(2018) Illinois Home Depot
A 3-year-old girl was bitten by a dog in the Downers Grove Home Depot of Illinois. Finja Simon suffered an eye injury which required several stitches after she tried to pet a Doberman Pinscher. Simon’s parents rushed to her aid after she dropped to the floor crying and bleeding, while the dog owners paid up and left the store.
No Home Depot staff member offered help other than one person at the counter who provided some paper towels for her injury. 3-year-old Finja still has “horrible nightmares” about the incident, according to her father, Randy Simon.
(2019) Colorado Home Depot
A man was attacked by a dog in the Arvada Home Depot store in Colorado. The victim was said to have puncture wounds on his hands, and once the incident occurred, a woman – later identified as the dog’s owner – fled immediately from the store. Thanks to CCTV footage and a community appeal, the dog owner was eventually tracked down and charged.