Costco sells a wide range of cheap products and treats for pet owners, which is one of the many reasons animal lovers return to their stores.
However… will Costco allow the furrier members of your family inside? Or, in other words, does Costco allow dogs, and are they pet-friendly? Here is what I discovered!
Does Costco Allow Dogs?
Costco does allow certified service dogs in-store in compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. However, Costco does not allow everyday pets or emotional support animals (dogs, cats, birds, etc.) in-store. While some Costco locations take a relaxed approach to dogs in-store, most Costco locations are very strict.
Got more questions? I’ve pulled together all the information I could find on bringing service animals into Costco and why Costco does not allow pets. Read on to find out more!
Is Costco Pet Friendly?
No, Costco is not a pet-friendly store, meaning it does not allow pets of any kind into its warehouses (however, there do seem to be some exceptions to this, see below).
This is because of rules set out in the Food And Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Service Codes, which rule that live animals are not permitted into any establishments that sell or serve food.
This includes restaurants, cafes, and, of course, grocery stores.
The only exception made is for service animals. However, service animals can also be refused entry or their owners asked to leave if they do not adhere to certain rules.
While Costco “Does Not Officaly Allow Dogs,” Some Stores Bend The Rules
After some further digging, several customers and dog owners on Reddit discuss an abundance of dogs in Costco stores.
Some users have stated that:
As long as the dog is on a leash and is well behaved, I have always been able to bring my dog into my local Costco store.
Additionally, there have also been some Walmart employees that have stated:
Our Costco store is very relaxed on allowing dogs in-store, aslong as they are relaxed, on a leash, are well behaved, and are not aggressive. Also, the managers at our location love it when there are puppies bought into the store! However, I know of other Costco’s that are incredibly strict.
While this can be seen as a glimmer of light for dog owners, it does seem that these occurrences are few and far between, as many Costco locations are very strict in enforcing their policies.
Why Does Costco Not Allow Pets?
Costco does not allow pets of any kind in-store, including dogs, cats, birds, and other animals, primarily due to health and safety concerns.
The guidelines rule that stores that sell food cannot grant entry to live animals, due to fears of contamination. Dogs and other animals could carry dirt, drool, urine, or something else unsanitary into the store and contaminate Costco stocks’ products.
Another reason is that some customers may not like animals. For those who have a phobia of animals or are allergic to animal hair, shopping in stores that allow pets could be distressing.
Does Costco Allow Service Animals?
The ADA rules that all service animals must be allowed into places such as grocery stores and restaurants, where FDA guidelines typically prevent dogs and other animals from entering. So, any dog that meets the following definition of a service animal is, by law, allowed in Costco:
“a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”
Further, service animals tend to be better trained and more well-behaved than most pet dogs! As such, it is generally considered to be less risky to allow service dogs in Costco.
Are All Service Dogs Allowed In Costco?
According to Costco policy, any Costco member accompanied by a service dog or other service animal will be allowed immediate access to any of Costco’s warehouses.
But, before a person takes their dog with them into Costco, they should first be aware that certain rules do apply.
For one, both the dog and the owner must adhere to health and safety laws during their shopping trip. So, the owner must be in full control of the dog at all times, and the dog must be on a leash.
Additionally, the service dog is not permitted to wander freely because it may contaminate or otherwise damage the store’s products, or cause other customers concern.
Can Costco Ask If Your Dog Is A Service Dog?
While customers can legally take their service dogs with them into any Costco store, Costco employees do have the right to ask whether the animal in question is, in fact, a service dog.
This is in compliance with ADA guidelines and is intended to help ensure that no health and safety laws are breached.
Employees are also allowed to ask what tasks precisely or functions the service animal is trained to perform, but that is all. Any requests to see proof of disability in the form of documentation are not allowed.
Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed In Costco?
No, emotional support dogs and other emotional support animals are not allowed in Costco. This is because, under the ADA, they are not classed as service animals.
Emotional support animals do not provide practical assistance to their owners. Rather, they offer therapeutic benefits to people struggling with mental health issues, helping to minimize their owners’ symptoms through companionship.
Can You Put Your Dog In Your Shopping Cart At Costco?
Some customers have apparently reported seeing dogs and other animals carried around Costco stores in shopping carts.
However, this is strictly against FDA guidelines. Shopping carts are used for transporting groceries and other products. Carrying an animal in a shopping cart is, therefore, unsanitary and not permitted.
If a Costco customer with a service dog carries their animal in a shopping cart, they may well be asked to leave by a Costco employee. By carrying their dog in a shopping cart, the owner is not adhering to the necessary health and safety laws.
Are Dogs Allowed In Costco Canada?
Just like the United States, Costco stores in Canada only allow certified ATPDR service dogs in-store. Additionally, Canadian Costco locations do not allow emotional support animals or dogs that are unattended or not on a leash.
Conclusion: Can I Take My Dog Or Other Pet Into Costco?
You can take a dog or other animal with you to Costco and other grocery stores, but only if it is a registered service animal. Any pet animals are prohibited due to FDA and ADA rulings. According to the guidance, pets pose a hygiene risk in-store. On the other hand, service dogs are likely to be well-trained and, therefore, better able to adhere to health and safety laws.
Just remember that, if you do take your service dog with you into Costco, it must abide by the rules. Costco employees can also ask you to verify that your dog is, in fact, a service dog, and to inquire as to what task or function it is trained to carry out.