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Are Dogs Allowed in Target Stores?

By Molly Weinfurter


Updated on

Are dogs allowed in Target? It might seem like they should be since their mascot is a dog. Many people have even spotted dogs inside Target. Yet, if you’re planning to bring your dog to any store, you should check that business’ rules before entering with a pet. So, does Target allow dogs?

Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

Are Dogs Allowed in Target Stores

No, pets aren’t allowed in Target. Every location has the same rule. It doesn’t matter if your dog is well-behaved or barely sheds, they can’t enter Target if they’re just a regular companion.

Why Aren’t Dogs Allowed in Target?

The main reason dogs aren’t allowed in Target is because Target has a grocery section. Having pets near food at an indoor business goes against health regulations. It’s the same reason dogs can’t go inside restaurants (although there are plenty of dog friendly restaurants with outdoor patios). You can’t bring your pet to the grocery store, so you also can’t bring them to Target.

However, no store needs a reason to deny pets. As much as we love our furry friends, they can be messy and disruptive, so many stores will deny them inside even if there isn’t food present. Stores are allowed to do that since it’s their business. However, if you’re dying to bring your dog shopping, there are some dog friendly stores you can visit.

What to Do with Your Dog if You Stop at Target

If you need to go to Target, it’s best to leave your dog at home. Even if your dog is already with you, you should swing back home to drop them off before running errands. The only exception is if you have someone who can wait outside with the dog by either sitting in the running car with them or walking them around outside.

Just because you can’t bring your dog inside doesn’t mean you should leave them in the car alone. Unless your car has some kind of pet-safe mode, your dog could easily overheat in the car, especially on a hot summer day. So, it’s better for everyone involved if you leave your dog at home during your Target run.

If you have the Target app, you may be able to place your order online and pick up the order in your car without ever having to leave your pup alone.

Are Service Dogs Allowed at Target?

Are Service Dogs Allowed at Target

Yes, service dogs are allowed in Target. Service animals are always allowed in places that don’t allow pets because they’re essential for their owner’s wellbeing. So, they don’t have to follow the Target pet policy.

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service dogs as dogs trained to perform a task on someone with a disability. In the United States, service dogs are not required to wear vests and their handlers don’t have to show their paperwork when they’re at stores like Target.

There are only two questions someone can ask about a service dog:

  1. Is this dog a service animal that’s required because of a disability?
  2. What task is this dog trained to perform?

Service dog handlers aren’t required to show the dog’s skills or answer any further questions. So, if you see a service dog in Target, it’s best to mind your own business. Please do not ask to pet service dogs because they’re busy focusing on their jobs.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed at Target?

No, emotional supports dogs aren’t allowed in Target. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) don’t have the same rights as service dogs because they’re not trained to do a specific task. In public, they have the same rights as pets. The only difference is that they can live in apartments that aren’t pet-friendly and their owners don’t need to pay pet fees in pet-friendly apartments.

Have You Seen Dogs at Target Before?

A lot of people assume dogs are allowed in Target because they’ve seen dogs in Target before. However, if you’ve seen a dog in a Target store, it’s likely one of the following situations:

  • A service dog or a service dog in training
  • Someone breaking the rules

If you bring a dog into Target, you might not get called out right away, but that doesn’t make it okay. Bringing any dog that isn’t an official service dog is unsafe for everyone involved, so please leave your furry friend at home.

Some people may pretend their dog is a service dog to bring them into stores, but that’s illegal. You could be punished with jail time or a fine if you get caught doing that. A real service dog will be quiet, well-behaved, and won’t seek out attention from other people in public. If you suspect that someone has a fake service dog, you can contact a non-emergency number for the local police or contact that ADA.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Stores Allow Dogs

Here are a few follow-up questions for “is Target dog friendly?”

What Stores Allow Dogs?

Almost any pet supply stores, such as PetCo and PetSmart, allow dogs. However, there are a few regular stores that welcome dogs, such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Half Price Books, Nordstrom, and Tractor Supply Company. Each location may have different rules, so you should contact the business before bringing your dog inside.

What Breed is the Target Mascot Dog?

The Target Dog is a white Bull Terrier with the Target symbol over her eye. Her name is “Bullseye,” and she first appeared in 1999.

Why is Target’s Mascot a Dog?

When Bullseye first made her appearance in Target’s advertising campaign called “Sign of the Times,” people quickly fell in love with her. So, Target kept her as their mascot because of how memorable and lovable she is.

Dogs Can’t Come Everywhere

You may wish your dog could come everywhere with you, but sadly, that’s not how the world works. Dogs are not allowed in Target or in any stores that have a grocery section. Dogs can pose a health risk for customers, so it’s best to leave them at home.

Yet, there are plenty of dog friendly vacations that your pooch can tag along for. For tips on traveling with your dog, you can read about pet friendly airlines and RV camping with dogs.


About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

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