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Does CVS Allow Dogs? 2023 Policy & Rules Update

Grant Piper

By Grant Piper


It is tempting to try to head into a local CVS when you are out and about with your dog. They are everywhere, and they stock everything you might need for a day out. But if you try to enter a CVS with your dog, you will likely be turned away at the door. Dogs are not allowed in CVS stores, and for a good reason. This guide will go over everything you need to know about dogs and CVS, including why they aren’t allowed, potential exceptions, and the typical policies you should be aware of.

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CVS Dog Policy

CVS stores do not allow dogs inside. That means if you have your dog with you and you are just trying to pop in and grab some sundries and pop out, you are going to be disappointed. It may sound unfair that CVS does not allow dogs, but when you read the reasons, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, CVS is not alone in this attitude. CVS is not anti-dog. They are just trying to follow the rules. Other pharmacies, convenience stores, and small grocers all disallow dogs from entering the premises. Similar stores like Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and Dollar General all have the same policy.

Why Doesn’t CVS Allow Dogs?

dog leashed at designated dog parking area of shopping mall
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

Dogs are not allowed to be on the premises of certain types of businesses for health and safety reasons. Grocery stores and stores that stock an appreciable amount of food do not allow dogs. Businesses and regulators do not want dogs disrupting a food supply store.

This policy is in place to protect people in two ways. First, it prevents dogs from getting the idea that they can eat food off the shelves. Second, it protects the sanitation of the food items so that they do not get contaminated by dogs. Any store that stocks a large amount of food, especially raw food or prepared food, will not allow dogs.

There are similar rules in place regarding pharmacies and other medical offices. CVS deals with vital medications. Some CVS locations also provide basic medical treatments such as shots. These environments cannot allow dogs inside due to health reasons. In some places, these rules are mandated by law, and in others, CVS errs on the side of caution.

Service Dogs Always Welcome

A service dog with a blind lady in the park bench
Image credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

That being said, service dogs are always welcome. Legitimate service dogs are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). This law guarantees that Americans with service dogs are allowed to bring their dogs anywhere they need to go in public. That includes CVS. If you have a service dog, CVS has to accommodate you by law. However, if you have an emotional support animal or a beloved pet with you, CVS does not, and likely will not, have to give you entry into their stores.

If you try to bring your service dog into CVS, do not be surprised if you are questioned on your way in. All employees have the right to require your dog to be properly marked with a service vest. They can also ask you two questions regarding your service animal.

  • Is your service animal required because you have a specific disability?
  • What type of work or task is your service animal trained to perform?

If you cannot give satisfactory answers or if your service dog misbehaves inside of the store, the manager can still exercise their right to remove your dog from the premises. If you plan on entering a CVS with your service dog, make sure you have everything you need before you go.

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When you realize that dogs are not allowed in CVS stores for health and safety reasons, it makes a lot of sense. That doesn’t mean it is not inconvenient at times. But CVS is not alone in its policy. Every similar store has the same policy for the same reason. Service dogs are always welcome because they are protected by law; just be sure to know your rights and the rules before you go.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: CVS Pharmacy, West Hartford, CT (Image Credit: Mike Mozart, Wikimedia Commons CC0 2.0 Generic)

Grant Piper

Authored by

Grant is a freelance writer with years of experience writing about a diverse range of topics. His days are spent writing and caring for eight animals (two horses, two donkeys, two goats, and two dogs). In his free time he enjoys slowly carving out a quaint hobby farm from the Southern scrub. He currently lives in his native Florida with his wife and son.

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