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Does Whole Foods Allow Dogs? 2024 Update & Tips

Kit Copson

By Kit Copson

Whole_Foods_Markham_Canada

If you often run errands with your faithful canine companion in tow, you might be wondering whether or not you can take them with you to grocery stores like Whole Foods. Unfortunately, Whole Foods does not allow pets in its stores unless they’re service dogs.

Read on to find out more about why Whole Foods and other grocery stores don’t permit dogs in-store, and some popular dog-friendly establishments in the U.S.

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Whole Foods’ Pet Policy

Though the grocery chain does not elaborate much on the topic, it has a very clear no-pets policy. Only service animals are welcome in Whole Foods Market stores in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This is pretty standard across the U.S., as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t allow live animals, including dogs and cats, to enter grocery stores or restaurants for reasons of hygiene. For this reason, retail giants like Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Costco, and more cannot allow non-service dogs to enter.

Service animals, however, are welcome in all of these establishments, and do not have to carry any form of identification to prove that they are service dogs. Contrary to what some may think, not all service dogs wear vests, and they do not need to be “registered” in some way.

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

What About Emotional Support Animals?

Whole Foods only mentions service animals in its animals in stores policy—not emotional support animals. The ADA does not consider emotional support animals to be service animals, so you can safely assume that your emotional support dog won’t be allowed into Whole Foods.

The ADA defines service animals as animals that have been trained to perform specific tasks to support an individual with a disability. A few examples of this include giving medical alerts (like if the owner experiences seizures or psychiatric episodes), guiding people with sight, hearing, and balance difficulties, and performing household tasks like switching on lights or fetching items for their owner.

On the other hand, while emotional support animals offer support to people experiencing issues like stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and phobias, they’re not trained to perform specific tasks like service animals are. This is the difference between how the ADA views service animals and how it views emotional support animals.Divider 2

The 6 Other Stores That Welcome Dogs

Though you will only see service dogs in grocery stores and restaurants, there are some dog-friendly retail stores you can visit with your pooch. These include:

1. Petco

Petco welcomes all well-behaved, non-aggressive animals as long as they’re leashed, in a carrier, or travel habitat. They must also be vaccinated.

Petco Pet Store
Petco  (Image Credit: Mike Mozart, Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)

2. Orvis

All Orvis stores welcome dogs. In fact, the store holds a month-long celebration of pooches in August, so you can expect to be greeted with free treats (for all dogs) and doggy items for Orvis Dog Club members.


3. Apple Stores

Despite there being no official pet policy online, Apple stores are known for being pretty pet-friendly, typically allowing leashed dogs in-store. This may not apply to every location, however, so you might want to ask before you head in.


4. Tractor Supply Co.

On its Facebook page, Tractor Supply Co. states that it welcomes “all leashed and friendly animals”. Some patrons have even brought their cows, horses, and goats into stores!


5. Lush

If, like some of us, you can’t resist the waft of those gorgeous soapy (and cruelty-free) scents that emanate from Lush stores, you’ll be pleased to know that dogs are welcome to pop in with you.


6. Home Goods

Though we couldn’t track down Home Goods’ pet policy, the general consensus is that most stores welcome dogs. However, you might want to call your local store in advance, as pet policies may vary by location.

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

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Final Thoughts

If you were hoping to peruse the Whole Foods aisles with your (non-service) dog in tow, you’ll no doubt be disappointed by its no-pets policy. However, this is due to the FDA’s rules on animals entering certain premises, so you might want to consider ordering online or leaving your pooch at home while you shop for groceries.


Featured Image Credit: A Whole Foods Market in Markham, Ontario. (Image Credit: ChadPerez49, Wikimedia Commons CC0 4.0 International)

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