Are Dogs Allowed in Publix?

Publix is one of the most popular grocery store chains in the Southeastern United States, and many individuals enjoy the bright aisles, impressive bakery section, and friendliness of staff at this store.

If you are a frequent customer of Publix, you might be wondering if you can bring your furry friend into this store with you. Our article gives you essential information on whether or not your dog is allowed in Publix, what this store’s pet policy is as of 2023, and if other stores exist that you can take your pup into.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about taking your dog to Publix.

Publix – One of the Southeast’s Favorite Grocery Chains

Publix is a popular grocery store chain with over 1,300 locations throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The store was established in 1930, originally named Publix Food Store. The business was successful despite the Great Depression, and Publix began expanding its reach throughout the 1950s and into the 1990s.

Today, the store is known for its impressive bakery section, fresh foods, quality produce, and welcoming, brightly lit aisles. Customers are familiar with the bright green logo of Publix, and the store now offers pharmacy services and healthcare clinics in certain locations.

Are Dogs Allowed in Publix?

Publix, unfortunately, has a no-dogs-allowed policy, and pets are not allowed into a Publix grocery store. This policy is to ensure that the health and safety of their customers is maintained and that the food items in the store are not otherwise compromised by the presence of pets in the aisles.

Publix recently made news in August of 2023 as it started to place ‘no pets allowed’ signs around the entrances to its store, a suspected action to combat individuals bringing false service dogs or emotional support animals into their stores.

Any animal that is suspected of being a pet will be escorted off the premises, and the policy states on the sign that service animals are allowed to enter into a Publix.

Does Publix Allow Dogs at All?

If you see a dog in Publix, you might be wondering how it was allowed in the store.

Service animals are allowed into Publix, as this is an access right that is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any individual who must be accompanied by a service dog is permitted to bring them inside, and they will not be turned away by staff.

Does Publix Allow Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals differ from service animals, and they are not granted the same public access rights and legal protections as service animals.

While emotional support animals are beneficial to many, they are not specifically trained to complete disability-related tasks for their owners, and they are not considered a necessary service animal. You will not be able to bring your emotional support animal into a Publix, as only service dogs are allowed in the store.

Is Publix Pet Friendly?

The strict ‘no pets allowed’ policy that Publix maintains means that you aren’t allowed to bring your dog into the store.

No animals, except for service animals are permitted inside a Publix, and you will be escorted away from the store if you attempt to bring in a pet dog, or if you try to pass your dog off as a service animal, an act which might even be considered illegal depending on specific state laws.

Service Animal Public Access Laws

Service animals are incredibly important to the individuals with disabilities they assist, and these companion animals are granted wide-reaching public access rights because of this.

Many individuals need the assistance of their service animal while they shop so they can purchase their items or pick up medications without the fear of a medical condition or other disability stopping them from receiving equal services as another able-bodied individual might.

Both federal and state protections are in place that ensure individuals are allowed to take their service animals with them inside restaurants, businesses, malls, and other locations as needed. This means that service animals can accompany their owner even inside locations that have a ‘no pets allowed’ policy, such as Publix.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the main piece of federal regulation that ensures the protection of service animal access rights. The act was passed in 1990, and updates were made in 2008 that provided more clarifications around the definitions of service animals and their public access protections.

According to the ADA, individuals with service animals will be able to have their dog accompany them into any area needed, save for certain religious spaces.

We recommend reading the Americans with Disabilities Act closely if you have a service animal or you wish to adopt a service animal, as you can discover more about your federally protected public access rights via this regulation.

It’s also important to note that state laws regarding service animal protections vary, but you can expect every state to at least adhere to the regulations set in place by the ADA. This is because federal law is greater than state law in these cases, and every business in your state is federally required to permit access to service animals as needed.

Consult your state’s government website for more information about the specifics of service dogs in your area or local additions to the protections the ADA grants.

What Can Publix Staff Ask About My Service Dog?

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives details about what individuals are legally allowed to ask in regard to your service dog.

There are two questions that Publix staff are permitted to ask, and these questions are used to verify the fact that your dog is a service animal and ensure that they have been trained to complete a task; these are essential qualities of a service animal as listed in the ADA.

The two questions below are the only questions that you may be required to answer:

  1. “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?”
  2. “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”

It’s important to note that you will not need to show proof of your dog as a service animal, as the ADA doesn’t require official training programs or registrations, and you won’t need to ask your dog to perform the tasks they have been trained for.

If you are denied access because you refuse to engage in follow-up questions, you may be able to take legal action depending on the situation; consult a lawyer and the ADA for more information surrounding your public access rights.

Can Publix Deny My Service Dog Access?

Service dogs have extensive public access rights, and there are only limited things that Publix may be able to deny access to you and your service dog for. The following conditions may warrant a member of the Publix staff asking you and your service dog to leave the premises:

  • Your service dog is not listening to you and is out of control in the store
  • Your service dog is destroying items or creating destruction with their presence and actions
  • Your service dog is a risk of attacking otherwise or is otherwise creating a threat to the health and safety of employees and customers
  • Your service dog is not bathroom trained and is creating a health hazard or other problem in the store.

These reasons are all valid reasons for Publix to deny your service dog entry or ask your service dog to leave. For more information about the circumstances in which service animals might be denied their public access rights, consult the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Pet-Friendly Stores Where You Can Take Your Dog Shopping

Publix might not be pet-friendly, but plenty of other stores are. We list some popular stores below that you are likely able to take your dog inside for a happy day shopping.

  • PetSmart
  • Petco
  • Lush
  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Macy’s
  • Nordstrom
  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • TJ Maxx
  • Barnes & Noble

Make sure you keep in mind that some stores do have varying policies on dogs depending on state and country rules. Always check ahead of time whether or not you will be able to bring your dog into a store, and respect the pet policies in place at any local store you visit.

FAQs About Shopping With Your Dog

Shopping with your dog is a fun time for both you and your furry friend, but you likely have lingering concerns and worries about this activity. Our answers to frequently asked questions about shopping with your dog put to rest any confusion about taking your pup along for a shopping spree.

What Should I Teach My Dog Before Going in Public?

Before heading into public stores with your dog, you should ensure that your pet has basic obedience skills, proper manners, and knows how to walk alongside you on a leash. Your dog should be familiar with the skills of sitting, staying, and waiting, and you shouldn’t fight to get control of your dog.

Teaching your dog these basic obedience skills and manners ensures that they are safe and well-behaved in public, something that creates a better shopping trip for the both of you. When your dog is acting out of control or refusing to listen to you, they put themselves, you, and those around you in danger.

It’s important that you respect pet-friendly stores and their willingness to allow shopping with your pup by ensuring that your dog can safely and happily enjoy the shopping trip at your side.

Can I Pass My Dog off as a Service Animal?

We know it might be tempting to tell the staff of a store with a no-pets policy that your lovable pup is, in fact, a service dog, but this is a bad idea; passing your dog off as a service dog might even be illegal in some states, and it’s sure to land you in major trouble.

When you try to access stores with a dog that isn’t highly trained like a service dog, the difference is often noticeable. As staff have to deal with your dog, it makes it more difficult for individuals with legitimate service animals and disabilities to take advantage of their public access rights without scrutiny and questioning.

Always respect the policies of stores, even if you can’t bring your furry friend for a shopping trip with you, and plan out your shopping days in advance using pet-friendly stores only if you are determined to bring your pup along for the ride.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Stressed?

Understanding whether or not your dog is stressed and uncomfortable when out shopping is a vital step in securing your dog’s health and safety. Stressed dogs aren’t likely to enjoy their shopping trip with you, and they may act out by barking, biting, growling, or soiling themselves.

It takes consistent training and proper socialization for many dogs to be able to shop alongside you without fear, overexcitement, or stress, and if you notice that your dog is anxious, hiding, or acting aggressively, it’s time to take a step outside the store and calm down.

Once your dog has regained their manners and sense of comfort, you can try heading into the store again, or you can call your shopping trip quits for the day, trying again another time when your dog is more comfortable.

Never force your dog to be in a situation they are stressed or uncomfortable in, as this will likely result in serious issues such as biting, destruction to stores, and trauma for both you and your dog.

What if I Am Asked to Leave a Pet-Friendly Store?

Even pet-friendly stores may ask you to leave depending on local policies, and it’s always important to respect the store’s decision.

Arguing with a store employee, insisting you shop with your dog, or bringing your dog into spaces that are explicitly no pets allowed will ruin the establishment of pet-friendly stores in the future and may create serious issues for you and your pup.

If you are concerned about whether or not a store is really pet-friendly, you will need to contact them ahead of time and verify their policies before showing up with your dog.

Do I Need to Keep My Dog on a Leash?

Keeping your dog on a leash while out in public or while shopping is essential – it doesn’t matter how well-trained your dog is, leashing is necessary to avoid accidents and keep both you and your dog safe.

With a leash, you have control over your dog’s whereabouts and can stop them from wandering too far. You can also protect them in the case of traffic in public or another dog that isn’t too friendly.

Most stores that allow pets will only allow pet dogs that are on a leash, as this protects the safety of other dogs, employees, customers, and the dog and their owner.

How Do I Get a Service Animal?

If you believe that you would benefit from having the assistance of a service animal in stores and other locations, your first step is to speak with the individual overseeing your treatment plan. You may need to speak to your doctor or a licensed mental healthcare provider regarding your disabilities and whether or not a service animal will help to provide you relief.

From there, you can begin the process of finding a service dog to adopt. You have two options – purchasing a fully trained service dog or training your own service dog. Purchasing a service dog is more expensive, but you will not need to spend extensive time training your dog with the tasks you need completed.

Alternatively, training your service dog is cheaper, but it might be difficult to ensure your dog learns all the skills needed.

As you research where to obtain your service dog, keep in mind the many organizations across the United States that provide service dogs to individuals in need at low cost or free of charge. We recommend investigating these organizations for a service dog if you would not otherwise be able to obtain one.

Ensuring Your Shopping Trip Is Dog-Friendly

Shopping with your dog can be fun, and there’s no better day spent than browsing the shelves with your best friend. And while Publix doesn’t allow dogs, except for service dogs, inside its stores, there are plenty of other stores you can take your furry friend shopping in. Make sure that your dog is prepared for shopping alongside you and always keep an eye on their comfort level to ensure you both have a safe and happy day of shopping.