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Does Target Allow Dogs? (Updated in 2024)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog at the mall

Target has earned a spot as a top-selling retail store in the United States. It may not be as popular as Walmart, but it certainly holds its own when it comes to drawing families of all shapes and sizes through its front doors. With the popularity of taking dogs to stores and other outlets, people wonder whether Target allows dogs inside its stores. The answer is two-fold: yes and no. It won’t allow just any dog to come and enter their stores. However, it does allow service dogs to accompany their owners when necessary.

Any dog that enters a Target store should be registered as some type of service dog and wear equipment, such as vests or harnesses, that identify them as service dogs. You may be wondering what types of service dogs would be accepted at Target stores, so we have put together a list for your reference. Are dogs allowed in Target? Let’s find out!

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First, What Exactly Is a Service Animal?

Dachshund outside store pet parking
Image credit: Masarik, Shutterstock

Service animals have been specially trained to aid people with disabilities of various types. A service animal may help a blind person “see” when inside and outside of their homes. They may serve as a calming companion to those dealing with PTSD and other types of trauma. People with depression can also find solace in a service animal. Service animals must be trained and certified through a reputable certification organization.

Types of Service Dogs That Can Shop at Target

Although Target isn’t really dog-friendly, there are a variety of different types of service dogs that are welcome at Target stores. Owners should carry paperwork with them proving their dog’s service certification in case asked to provide it while shopping (though in some states, this is illegal). Here are a few types of service dogs that can shop with their owners at Target.

Psychiatric Support

Service dogs may be used to support people who are suffering from depression and PTSD, and they may also be utilized as service dogs for those dealing with sleep disorders and autism. Emotional support for people with anxiety and social disorders is also provided by service dogs of all breeds and ages.

Medical Assistance

People who are diabetic, who have heart problems, and who might be going through a serious illness, like cancer, may also have a service dog accompany them when spending time in public places like Target stores. Service dogs of this type typically know how to sense measurements of bodily symptoms, such as high blood sugar levels, when they are near their owners.

Emergency Response

service dog
Image By: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

This type of service dog typically assists people who may have a medical emergency at any given time while in public. People who are susceptible to having seizures and those with pacemakers and other pieces of equipment that could malfunction at any time may require the use of an emergency response service dog.

Mobility Assistance

Humans who can’t easily get around on their own might consider investing in a service dog. This type of service dog knows how to open doors, retrieve objects, and even help people get dressed in the morning. They may also help people who can’t recognize when a fire alarm goes off or a phone rings.

Severe Allergy Support

People who have severe allergies to things commonly found in society can also benefit from owning a service dog. An allergy dog can sniff out possible allergens before their owners ever get exposed to them. They can also alert others when their owner is exposed and reacting to an allergy.

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In Conclusion

While Target does not allow pet dogs inside their stores, any dog that is certified as a service dog is always welcome. But you should check with any Target location that you want to shop at with your dog beforehand to make sure that they will allow your dog to enter their store. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide whether to take your pooch shopping at Target or to leave them at home.

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Featured Image Credit: Dimitris Panas, Shutterstock

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