When we think of a big box store with a vast inventory of products, many of us think of Costco. With all our favorite items sold in bulk, what more could we need? If you’re a dog owner, you may wonder if Costco’s convenience goes as far as allowing dogs into the store, and we’re sorry to say that is not the case. Dogs are not permitted in Costco stores because they sell food, and allowing dogs into an area with food could lead to contamination or hygiene concerns. However, as with many rules, there are a few exceptions.
What Are the Exceptions?
Although dogs are usually not allowed inside Costco, there are instances where exceptions are made. One of these exceptions will always apply, while the other will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Service dogs will always be accepted in Costco due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As long as your service animal is trained and necessary for assisting you through daily tasks, you can bring your dog into the store with you. Some states may allow you to get your partially trained service animal into stores, but you must verify the specifics of your local ordinances.
Be aware that Costco reserves the right to ask you two specific questions regarding your service dog. These questions are:
These questions are asked to ensure that no health and safety laws are being broken. They are not meant to intimidate you or discourage you from bringing your service dog inside the facility. This policy lets Costco workers who may spot your dog during your shopping trip know that your dog has been previously recognized by a worker and is allowed on the premises. This saves you from the hassle of answering questions about your service animal multiple times during your shopping trip.
Therapy and emotional support dogs are not classified as service animals under the ADA, so they are prohibited in Costco. If your service dog is misbehaving or aggressive in the store, Costco reserves the right to ask you to remove your dog from the premises. Just because service animals are allowed inside does not mean they have the right to remain if you cannot handle your dog.
Refrain from lying to the Costco workers if your dog is not a service dog. If you are caught misrepresenting your dog as a service animal, you can be charged with legal or financial repercussions.
While service animals are universally accepted in Costco, your average pet may also have a chance of walking through the store doors. If the particular manager on duty is not bothered by your dog’s presence, you may be able to shop with your pup.
If you can bring your pet inside the store, respect other shoppers by keeping your dog on a leash and close by your side. Don’t assume the manager will let your dog inside the store; call first to verify the store’s policy. This exception is on a case-by-case basis and is not to be depended on.
Are There Grocery Stores That Allow Dogs?
As nice as it would be to bring your dog with you to the grocery store, don’t count on it. Due to local, state, and federal laws, animals are not permitted inside stores where food is produced or sold. This is due to the risk of food becoming contaminated from the animal’s presence. If you are permitted to bring your animal into a grocery store, be mindful of other people’s hygienic concerns and make sure your dog does not get too close to food, packaged or otherwise.
In most instances, dogs are not allowed in Costco. However, if your dog is a service animal, exceptions apply. Certain Costco stores may also allow pets inside if the pet appears well-behaved, but that is on a case-by-case basis and should not be expected. Before taking your dog to any public place, verify that animals are permitted. Some public locations reserve the right to refuse four-legged guests.
Featured Image Credit: Grant Beirute, Unsplash