If you’re into bulk shopping, Costco is one of the best warehouse club memberships you can get. They’ve got great store brands for your whole family, including your dogs, such as pet food and products.
But while they provide quality products for your pup, does Costco allow dogs to come inside?
Unfortunately, no. Costco doesn’t allow pets to tag along while you’re shopping.
As a quick rule of thumb, grocery stores and other establishments with food (such as restaurants) normally don’t allow dogs indoors. And while it’s true some restaurants allow dogs, it’s typically for outdoor or patio dining only.
Service Animals are the Exception
Now while your pet isn’t allowed in, you will be granted unfettered access to help you navigate through Costco’s warehouses. This follows compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is federally regulated.
However, Costco is allowed to determine whether or not your pup is a service animal. And by law, they’re only allowed to ask two particular questions to make that determination.
These questions aren’t actually meant to harass, embarrass, or even determine medical eligibility. They’re only meant to protect the general welfare of the store and its personnel, other shoppers, you, and your pup.
With these two questions alone, Costco can establish that your pup is allowed inside per the ADA and that your service animal is properly trained to minimize interference with their ability to help you. Lastly, Costco is ensuring that no health regulations are being broken in allowing your dog into their warehouses.
Store Policy Varies from Store to Store
Although Costco’s main dog policy is restricted to service dogs, that doesn’t mean that your local Costco doesn’t make exceptions. Some Costco warehouses do allow dogs provided they are leashed, non-aggressive, and don’t make a mess on the floor.
However, this is not the norm. It’s all up to the store manager which policies will be enforced.
Are Therapy Dogs Considered Service Animals?
Under Title II and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, therapy dogs are not considered service animals. Therefore, therapy or emotional support dogs can’t exercise the same legal rights that service animals can, including entering normally forbidden public places.
This list of ADA-answered frequently asked questions on the topic may also be of use.
Service Dog Handler Responsibilities
Just because your dog is allowed to enter Costco doesn’t mean they can stay there. Costco does reserve the right to refuse service to any ADA service animal if the handler cannot control their dog.
Normally, this is accomplished through intensive training and specially designed harnesses and leashes. But if the handler is unable to physically tether their service dog—due to disability or otherwise—voice command is sufficient enough.
However, if the handler cannot control their pup, this could mean trouble. Any dogs showing unwarranted aggression towards any person within the Costco premises may be ejected and reported immediately.
Also, those with service dogs should ensure that their dog’s shots and vaccinations are all up to date before entering public space such as Costco warehouses.
Taking Your Dog Anywhere
Before taking your dog to any public establishment, you need to ensure that they have a right to be there. And while some stores are extremely dog-friendly, others are not. The only way some dogs can enter is as service animals. If there’s any doubt about the store policy of the particular location you’re headed to, it’s best to contact the business beforehand and seek clarification.