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Does Petco Allow Dogs? All You Need To Know (2024 Update)

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By Nicole Cosgrove


One of the most common questions asked by dog owners who shop at Petco is whether you can bring your dog into the store with you. Most people enjoy shopping for toys and treats with their dogs. Not only does it allow you to bond, but your pet also gets to pick out the toys they want, making the entire shopping experience more enjoyable. Fortunately, Petco allows dogs in all locations. However, all pets within the stores must be leashed and appropriately restrained. If you are considering taking your dog shopping, read on to learn the rules you should follow.

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What Is Petco’s Pet Policy?

Petco allows you to bring in domesticated, licensed, and vaccinated pets. Additionally, all pets should be leashed or placed in a carrier to prevent them from disrupting other customers. Dogs that don’t meet these requirements and pose a threat to any strangers or other animals will be asked to leave immediately to prevent the situation from escalating.

Petco also allows service animals and other support animals in the store. However, they also need to be properly leashed and socialized.

black labrador in a pet store
Image Credit: celyi, Shutterstock

Is It Okay to Bring a Puppy to Petco?

Yes, but this mostly depends on your puppy’s age and whether they are up to date with their vaccinations. However, even after puppies are vaccinated, they can still be exposed to certain diseases which could be deadly to young dogs as puppies are extremely vulnerable. So if you want to take your puppy to the store with you, it’s advisable to wait until they are a bit older and use extreme caution.

Puppies can also be difficult to control, especially if they have not undergone obedience training. On the upside, they are small and light compared to mature dogs, and you can easily carry them out.

What Dogs Are Not Allowed in Petco?

Petco does not allow any unleashed dogs inside their stores. Aggressive dogs are also not allowed inside since they are dangerous to shoppers and other animals. Dogs with visible illnesses, fleas, and ticks are also not encouraged to enter the store. All it takes is one sick dog inside the store to spread the disease to other dogs and animals.

Before taking your dog shopping, ensure you wash and brush them first.

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How To Shop Safely With Your Dog

Shopping with your dog can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. Before you take your dog to Petco, determine whether they are ready to be in a store. Are they trained and socialized to handle the situation? Just because they make a good running and hiking companion doesn’t mean they will make a good shopping buddy.

Pet stores can be excellent places to socialize your pet, especially if they don’t interact much with other people and animals.

If you’d like to take your dog shopping, you should follow a few rules to make the experience more enjoyable and bearable. They include:

1. Make Sure They Relieve Themselves First

Dogs get anxious in new locations and may get the urge to relieve themselves on the spot. You can prevent this by walking your dog and ensuring it has the chance to pee or poop first.

Dog walker strides with his pet on leash while walking at street pavement
Image Credit: alexei_tm, Shutterstock

2. Use a Short Leash

Stores are not the place to use a long leash—it can cause many problems since there are many obstacles in the store. Consider using a 4-foot-long leash or shorter when shopping with your dog.

3. Start Small

If your dog has never been in a store, consider starting small to avoid overwhelming them. Try shopping in a smaller pet-friendly store for a shorter period until your dog is comfortable. From there, you can move on to larger stores and extend the shopping period.

4. Visit at a Less Busy Time

Your dog can get overwhelmed quickly if exposed to too many strangers at once. On their first visit to the store, it’s advisable to pick a quiet time, like early morning, and let your dog get used to the store. You don’t even have to do any shopping the first time you visit.

man and his dog at a pet store
Image Credit: Erickson Stock, Shutterstock

5. Give Other Shoppers and Their Pets Plenty of Room

Ensure you give other shoppers and pets in the store enough room to navigate. You can do so by always keeping your dog at your side using a leash and treats. It’s also advisable to steer your dog clear of other dogs to avoid altercations.

6. Watch Their Body Language

Using their body language, your dog will let you know when they are stressed or agitated. Keep a close eye for signs such as excessive shaking, yawning, stiffness, and lip licking, especially when encountering new things like store announcements, shopping carts, aisles, and automatic doors.

7. Clean up Any Accidents Your Dog Causes

Even after ensuring your dog takes a walk and relieves itself beforehand, it can still have an accident. If this happens, ensure you clean up the accident as best as you can. You should always pack a poop bag and a few paper towels in your bag for this exact reason. Your dog may also knock over a few items in the store, creating a mess. If you can, ensure you put them back in their original place.

a man holding a poop bag
Image Credit: Alina Nikitaeva, Shutterstock

8. Avoid Shoppers That Look Uncomfortable

Remember that not everyone is comfortable with dogs and your dog may scare them even though they are not portraying any aggressive behavior. Avoid walking over to strangers and greeting them unless they approach your dog first. Also, ask permission before allowing your dog to get close to another dog.

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Final Thoughts

Petco is one of the few pet stores that allow dogs, irrespective of whether they are service animals or not, unlike most stores. They welcome all dog breeds inside the store and at other in-store events, including big breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Great Danes, Akitas, Pitbullls, and Dobermans.

They might even have treats at the register for your dog. Since their employees are trained to work alongside pets, including dogs, they will know how to respond in case of an altercation. Most store customers are also likely to be animal lovers and will rarely do anything to make your dog agitated. All these factors make Petco the best store for shopping with your dog.

See Also: Does Sam’s Club Allow Dogs? 2023 Store Policy and Advice

Featured Image Credit: Petco, Mike Mozart, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic

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