Dog owners love to take their pets everywhere they go. Dogs are often permitted in hotels, restaurants, some malls and many other places also where you might think that having a dog there would be off limits. More and more stores are adopting pet-friendly policies to entice more customers to shop there too. The question is then, are dogs allowed in grocery stores?
Most of the state and local health regulations don’t permit animals in places that are public where food is sold. Plus, federal law doesn’t permit the mixing so to speak of food and pets in a grocery store. But, the law does exempt service animals from these rules. So, if you have a service animal, you should be permitted to grocery shop with your pet.
Why are Service Dogs Allowed in Grocery Stores?
If you do have a service animal, the laws that regulate animals in stores would not interfere with your right to have these valuable and important animals with you. The FDA even states that disabled people can bring service dogs into a grocery store. But you must be in control of your dog at all times. Also, the store can put restrictions on what parts of the store your service dog can enter into so that there aren’t health and safety issues.
Because of this though there are some people who will say that their dogs are service animals, but really aren’t, who abuse this right. The problem is that grocery store owners can ask people if their dogs are service dogs and what function the animals perform, but can’t ask for proof. So, some stores will just ignore the animal in the store because they don’t want to offend the customer with a pet.
So what kinds of dogs are service dogs. A guide dog for a blind person is one such kind. Also, a dog which helps a soldier handle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a service animal. Other dogs which provide comfort though are considered to be therapy dogs. These are not considered to be service dogs and wouldn’t be covered under FDA rules. So, if the dog is a therapy animal, the grocery store doesn’t have to let the dog inside the store.
So, to answer the question, most grocery stores don’t allow dogs inside unless the animal is a service animal.
Grocery Stores That Allow Dogs Inside
However, there are some places which sell groceries which will allow your pet to come in with you or be in the area where food is being sold, whether your dog is a service animal or not. Below is a list of some of these places:
- Stockbox First Hill Grocery: This grocery store opened in August 2013 in the heart of Seattle, Washington’s historic First Hill Neighborhood. It’s adjacent to the Harborview Medical Center and is the place to buy fresh groceries and meals, which are prepared in a community that is bustling. So, if you’re out walking your dog, and you’re out of milk; you can just pick some up at Stockbox if your dog is friendly.
- Capitol Hill in Seattle WA: This is an outdoor market with food vendors; produce and groceries, fresh meat and artisan cheese. The market is pet-friendly and welcomes dogs.
- The Winter’s Park Farmer’s Market: This farmer’s market is held Saturday mornings at the old train depot located in Winter Park, Florida. With all the booths of fresh veggies, baked goods and other items; you and your dog can spend time just walking around browsing. It’s a popular attraction and a great way to spend a Saturday morning.
- Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market: This market is located in Lake Eola Park, in downtown Orlando. There’s farm fresh fruits, veggies and other seasonal produce here. Live music is played, and you can take a break from shopping in the wine and beer garden. Best of all, vendors sell pet treats, pet clothing, supplies and even pet travel accessories. Pets are welcomed here.
- River Market District: The River Market District in Little Rock, AR, can be found along the downtown waterfront. The Farmer’s Market is held on every Tuesday and Saturday running from May through October. Also, located in the area are quirky and quaint shops; and good restaurants. Dogs are permitted in the River Market District in the open-air streets and in some of the restaurants which have outdoor dining areas. Your dog must be on a leash always, and you need to clean up if your dog takes a bathroom break.
- New Smyrna Beach Farmers Market: The New Smyrna Beach Farmer’s Market at Norwood is in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. You can shop for produce which is locally grown. There is also fresh fish which is caught locally sold as well as farm fresh eggs, organic European breads, jams and freshly squeezed juices and citrus.
Taking your dog grocery shopping with you is usually not permitted unless your dog is a service dog. But there are some places where you can buy groceries which will allow both you and your dog to stroll through the aisles.