Are Dogs Allowed In Target? [Target’s Pet Policy Explained]

We all love our pet, and they make great companions for most adventures. But when your day trip includes a stop at Target for some errands, you might be curious about what you can do with Fido.

Target is a great place to buy things for your pets, but can you bring your dog along with you into Target? I did some digging into the subject and here is what I found out about Target’s pet policy.

Are Dogs Allowed In Target?

Target operates on a strict no-pet policy, so customers cannot bring their dogs into any Target stores. If you have a service animal, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, all certified service dogs are allowed to enter Target alongside their disabled owners and fall under specific guidelines for entry.

So, what are the guidelines for taking your dog into Target? Read on for more information on Target’s pet policy, taking service animals into the store, and much more!

Why Are Pet Dogs Not Allowed In Target?

To ensure the safety of customers, Target refuses entry to dogs of any breed and has a strict no pets policy for any animal except for service dogs.

This is due in part to the sale of open and unpackaged food goods in Target’s food department, and the risk of contamination or animal bacterial transmission.

According to the FDA, pet dogs are not allowed into any grocery store or locations that prepare food. So, when it comes to Target, their no-pet policy is the same across all their locations, though some stores may be more lenient in enforcement.

Are Service Dogs Allowed In Target?

Yes, service dogs are the only dogs that are allowed in Target. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all businesses must accommodate valid and certified service animals.

This includes dogs trained specifically to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the disabled individual.

This includes physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental support work and tasks directly related to the owner’s disability. These animals must always be within close distance of their owners, and so are allowed into Target.

What Counts As A Service Dog In Target?

According to the ADA and Target’s pet policy, types of service dogs fall under six main categories of work or tasks that are completed by the individual dog. These service types include:

  • Guide Dogs—To help blind or visually impaired people walk safely.
  • Hearing Dogs— Who guide their deaf or hearing-impaired owners to navigate more easily.
  • Medical Alert and Assist Dogs—Service dogs who sense and alert dangerous signs in case of diabetes or another measurable body symptom for other diseases.
  • Psychiatric Service Dogs—This type of certified mental service dog will assist in cases of severe PTSD or Autism.
  • Seizure Alert and Response Dogs—Seizure service dogs predict the episode and escort their owner to a safe place, as well as alert nearby individuals for assistance.
  • Severe Allergy Alert Dogs—Highly trained animals to detect allergens before they are ingested by their owner.

If your service dog is trained for any of these tasks or services, they must be allowed to accompany you into Target.

What Does Not Count As A Service Dog In Target?

If your dog is not trained and certified as a service animal under the ADA, you cannot bring it into Target as a service dog.

For example, therapy dogs or emotional support dogs are not considered service animals under Target’s pet policy guidelines, and so will not be allowed to accompany their owners into the store, no matter what.

Can Target Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?

According to the ADA’s Handler’s Rights, employees are not allowed to ask any customer with a service animal to provide documentation or proof of their disability.

Only two questions are allowed: Target employees can ask whether or not the animal is a service dog, and what functions or tasks the dog performs. Otherwise, it is not legally allowed for employees to ask further questions or demand proof.

Keeping your service dog outfitted with the typical neon-colored service jackets or harnesses is a good way to allow employees of Target to easily spot a service animal and not a pet.

And in some states, it is a legal form of identification for service animals.

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In Target Stores?

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In Target Stores

According to ADA’s Title II (state and municipal programs) and Title III (public facilities such as restaurants or retail shops), service animals are granted entry to otherwise pet-free locations.

Service dogs must be individually trained for specific work that will assist their owner in hazardous or life-and-death situations.

Because these services are so crucial to health and well-being, service animals need to accompany their owners—thus stores like Target make a strict exception to their no-pets policy for service dogs.

Are Service Dogs In-Training Allowed Into Target?

The ADA does not explicitly cover situations where service dogs in training may be brought into public facilities and areas, but several states have their own laws on what spaces these trainee animals are allowed access to.

However, ADA Handler Responsibility still extends to service dogs in training—the animal must be under control at all times, housebroken, and vaccinated following state and local laws.

Can You Carry Your Dog Into Target?

No, you cannot bring your dog into Target even in a doggie carrier or purse. Even if they’re not walking around the store, no pets are allowed inside, including in carriers. T

his also applies to service dogs—if the service animal cannot walk on its own to carry out its duties, Target associates may take issue with the service dog classification.

How Do You Shop At Target With Your Dog?

If you absolutely must bring your dog with you to shop at Target, you can leave them outside of the store.

As long as you secure their leash tightly to an appropriate fixture outside of Target, with plenty of shade or shelter from the elements, most dogs can safely be left outside while you run a quick errand.

Make sure you don’t leave your dog unattended for long, and under no circumstances should your pet be left in the car.

Can You Bring Dogs Into Any Grocery Stores?

According to guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Guide, all grocery stores like Target must restrict access to any live animals, as they are classed as food establishments alongside restaurants.

Because of the unsanitary nature of pets, you cannot bring your animal into an environment that handles food preparation and sales.

Further, other customers may have allergies or phobias that the presence of pets in-store could activate, so for everyone’s safety and comfort, pets are not allowed into grocery stores, unless they are classed as service animals.

If you are looking to take your dog into other stores, don’t forget to see out below guides!

Conclusion: Are Dogs Allowed In Target?

Pets of any kind are not allowed into Target, as per the strict pet policy and FDA grocery and food service codes. However, if you have an ADA-approved service dog, they may accompany you into the store. Therapy or emotional support animals are not accepted as service dogs and will not be allowed in-store.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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