We all have walked into a Target retail store with the intention of making a purchase.  They have groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, etc.

If you’re a dog lover you must ask yourself can your dog enter this store with you.  I mean, after all, you consider them family.

Retail stores have different views and thus different store policies.

In this article we are going to answer the question – Is Target dog friendly and explore their pet policy so you can make the right choice.

Here we go.

Is The Target Retail Store Dog-Friendly

Overview Of Dog-Friendly Stores

People find it convenient to shop with their companion and a best friend instead of shopping alone. It is observed that shopping by yourself can emotionally exhaust us and we can feel stressed after a period of time.

To lessen this situation and feeling, some stores provide a dog-friendly environment. The key is to train your dog accordingly so that you may not face any store policy violations while shopping.

The best way to shop with your dog is to use a leash and ensure control of your dog, common sense.

Rules and regulations of most of the grocery stores and food serving areas are not dog-friendly. These stores require you to keep your dog outside the store while buying groceries.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Is The Target Retail Store Dog-Friendly?

If you want to bring your dog to the Target store, then you have to understand its pet policy.

Although Target stores have a pet policy, unfortunately, these stores are not dog-friendly in a broader view. According to Target’s pet policy, they can only permit service dogs to enter the stores while they can refuse the entry of the ones that don’t fulfill this policy.

In short, if your dog is not trained enough to be a service dog then you cannot bring your dog into the store.

How Target Is Not Dog Friendly?

Pet policies vary from store to store, where some permit entry of pets and some do not.

Stores that don’t permit dogs to enter are mainly to follow a standard health code to maintain good hygiene and hence for maintenance of a healthy, germ-free environment.

As target stores sell groceries, it is their obligation and responsibility to strictly maintain government health standards and to be cautious about sanitation. All steps are designed for the protection of customers and hence to provide them a very healthy environment.

But target stores have a lenient policy about pets. Although this policy doesn’t cover all pets but does allow the entry of some pets into their stores. Service dogs are welcome as they are trained enough to understand the environment of the Target store. 

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Is My Ordinary Dog Allowed Inside Target?

No. The lenient pet policy although allowing the entry of some pets strictly prohibits the entry of ordinary dogs into the store.

Even those who don’t follow the Target pet policy are turned away. Understand, Target’s pet’s policy is strictly enforced.

It might not be true in all branches of Target store, because the branch manager has a right to formulate a policy about the store to maintain standards and decorum according to the area.

So, there may be some deviation from the rule and some stores may permit the entrance of ordinary dogs under certain circumstances.

Why Target Stores Allow Service Dogs?

Why Target Stores Allow Service Dogs?

Americans Disabilities Act Title II and Title III have defined service dogs.

According to this Act, service pets are the dogs that are trained to perform different tasks or that master the working capabilities that are beneficial for any disabled individual with any physical, psychiatric, sensory, or any other mental disability.

Only trained dogs are considered to be service animals, thus any other species of animals that are untrained do not fall into the category of service animals.

Service dogs are specifically trained to perform actions that can assist a disabled person.

For example, a diabetic patient may have a service dog that is trained for a specific task that is he becomes alert when his owner gets symptoms of lower blood sugar levels.

Similarly, for a person with any mental ailment, a service dog is hired to remind him to take medicine at the time.

For a person with epilepsy, a service dog is trained to detect the prodromal symptoms and makes his owner alert for the condition so that he can remain safe during an epileptic attack.

Service dogs are important to accompany the owner, therefore, service dogs are allowed to the Target stores.

Any of the dog breeds can become a service animal through training, but some dog breeds are preferred just because of better learning abilities and for their good size and better physical abilities.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are not defined for any specific dog breed.

3 Tips For A Dog Owner At A Target Store?

Disabled people are allowed to bring their service dog that is trained efficiently for his responsibilities into the store. So, if you or know someone who is disabled and have a service dog, here are few useful tips for your store visit.

1)  For better controlling your dog’s movements you have to keep it on a leash.

2) Before going to the store, feed your dog sufficiently because craving food can surface if your dog is hungry and can see dog products in Target stores.

As the dog owner, you have to work on prevention this temptation if you plan to bring your dog with you.

3) Make your dog feel relaxed during your stay at the store, because if you lose your temper, then you may get into trouble.

What Is Target’s Pet Policy?

As discussed earlier, Target stores only allow service dogs. ADA describes the pet policy that only service dogs are allowed to enter the Target stores. The Target pet policy is summarized as:

1) No non-service animals are allowed to enter the grocery stores under the rules of food safety.

2) Service animals should be adequately trained individually to work for disabled persons.

3) None of the emotional support or comfort animal can be trained to work as service animals.

Types Of Service Dogs Allowed Into Target Stores?

1) For patients with anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression, psychiatric service dogs are available, that are loyal to their owners and can be a good handler just as a normal human. So, these are proved to be a good companion. While in Target stores.

2) For diabetic patients, in whom hypoglycemia can occur and symptoms of hypoglycemia are manifested, medical alert and assist dogs are available. This kind of dog is trained to detect any manifestation of disease and can inform its owner so that any treatment can be given in a timely manner.

3) For epileptic patients, seizures can occur at any time even in the Target store, so some seizure alert and response dogs are trained for the detection of any unusual symptom and make the patient alert of the upcoming event.

4) For helping the blind, guide dogs are trained and are allowed to enter the Target grocery store. This type of trained dog can help the owner with walking and offer assistance.

5) For people who are limited in versatility, mobility assistance dogs are allowed to enter the Target grocery stores so that they give assistance to the owner in issues like opening the door, pulling a wheelchair up a ramp, and bringing different objects.

6) And finally, allergy alert dogs are also considered Target friendly, as they are helping those folks with smelling issues that get allergic reactions frequently. The service dog helps them using their keen sense of smell and can alert the owner about the situation.

Additional Reading:
Why Do Dogs Like Mud -Yuck! (And How To Stop It)
When Can A Puppy Drink Water? (Weaning Timeframe)


Pet-loving people enjoy the opportunity to bring their dogs with them while shopping. But in some stores, the entry of ordinary dogs is not allowed.

Target stores have their pet policy, that allows only service dogs to enter as untrained dogs are prohibited due to hygiene and health issues.

For those who are disabled, diabetic, epileptic, blind, or have some hearing or smelling loss, some dogs are trained properly for their job and are known as service dogs.

These specially trained dogs are allowed to enter the Target stores but some special measures should be taken. Feeding your dog properly, don’t make them frustrated, and have a leash all the time will no doubt increase the experience of bringing your best friend into a Target store.

Wesley Buck
Wesley Buck

Hello, my name is Wesley, and I grew up in Colorado. I went to school at St. Mary's University of Minnesota and have a B.S degree in Criminal Justice. I currently reside in Georgia and have been married for over 17 years.

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