Are Dogs Allowed in REI?

Recreational Equipment Inc (REI) is the outdoorsman’s dream store. It’s packed with plenty of things to help you along your outdoor adventures. They carry a wide range of products, from tents to shirts, and visiting REI can help you and your dog experience more of the great outdoors.

That said, it’s important to understand REI’s dog policy if you plan on visiting one of their locations. While REI does sell some products for dogs, that doesn’t always mean they’re allowed inside. There are laws in each state that may impact when you can bring your dog inside, but most REIs must allow service dogs by law.

To learn more about whether or not dogs are allowed in REI we’ll also look at company policy and how they treat emotional support animals (ESAs). Read on to learn everything you need to know below.

What Is REI?

REI, otherwise known as Recreational Equipment Inc., is a store that sells outdoor equipment. It’s known for selling camping gear, apparel, snow travel equipment, and just about anything you can use to spend time outdoors. The focus of REI is to ensure that you’re equipped to handle most environments without having to worry. This also applies to supplies for your dog. You can find all sorts of gear for your dog at an REI store.

REI has dozens of locations across the United States and an online store. So, you can visit their location in person or shop online. Depending on your needs, going in person is often a good idea because you’ll get a better feel for the outfits that way.

Where Is REI Located?

You can find REI locations in 41 states, including Washington, D.C. REI used to have locations in other countries but has ceased its operations there. For example, there was an REI store in Japan in the early 2000s, but this store is now closed. That said, REI still operates more than 181 stores across the United States, so it’s important to know if you can take your dog there with you.

It’s also good to know that REI only operates in the U.S., so you’ll only have to worry about one country’s service dog and ESA laws. This means that the only relevant laws you need to focus on are the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Still, always check with the REI in your state to see if dogs are allowed.

Are Dogs Allowed in REI?

Yes, dogs are allowed in REI. As long as your dog is well-behaved and on a leash, most REI locations will allow you to enter with a dog. However, that doesn’t mean this works in every location. Some managers may be less than enthusiastic about having dogs in their store, which can hinder your ability to bring in a dog.

Aside from bringing in your pet, REI follows laws and guidelines outlined within the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act states that businesses, tenants, and public access spaces must allow people to bring their service dogs with them. While this law used to also apply to emotional support animals (ESAs), this is no longer the case. Instead, an ESA is treated like any other pet.

Is REI Pet-Friendly?

REI doesn’t have an official policy about dogs and how they’re allowed in store locations. However, their website does suggest that dogs are allowed in REI stores as long as they’re on a leash and accompanied by their owners. Managers at REI are also trained to spot a service dog, which helps them avoid wrongly asking someone about their service dog’s status.

Ultimately, REI’s policy comes down to the manager’s discretion. In some cases, the manager might not allow anyone to bring a dog in unless it’s a service dog. So, make sure you check your specific store’s policies or reviews before you plan on visiting.

Does REI Sell Dog Gear?

Yes, REI sells dog gear and other pet supplies. However, the gear that REI sells for dogs is to help them on outdoor adventures. So, you’ll find things like backpacks, leashes, harnesses, straps, and gloves. Depending on your dog, they might not have all sizes available. Most products tend to be designed for larger dogs that can cover long distances in one hiking session.

Can a Dog Try on Gear at REI?

Yes, dogs can try to gear at REI if the location you visit is pet-friendly. However, some of it may be behind packaging that you’ll have to open when you leave the store. Also, if the location is not pet-friendly, then you’ll have to purchase the item and have them try it on at home. We always recommend doing this outside the store if you can; this way, you can return the item sooner rather than later.

Always check with REI’s return policy because it’s subject to change. However, you can usually return an item within 30-60 days. Typically, it depends on the store, item, and its condition.

Are Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) Allowed in REI?

Yes, emotional support animals are allowed in REI. Emotional support dogs (ESAs) have to follow many of the same rules that other dogs must follow when entering REI. This means that you’ll need a leash or harness to bring them inside most locations. However, the manager may allow you to bring your animal in without one if you have an ESA letter or if your dog is exceptionally behaved.

That said, it’s unlikely that REI will allow animals other than dogs into REI locations. You might get lucky with a more relaxed location, but this usually isn’t the case. For example, we doubt that the staff will allow you to bring in a hamster or cat. So, if you have an emotional support dog, you shouldn’t have to worry, but any other animal might be a problem.

Learn more about what an ESA is and how to go about getting one below.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is classified as a pet that helps someone with a mental health disability, like anxiety, depression, and some other conditions. Unlike service dogs and other similar animals, emotional support animals can be any type of animal. This means that if your cat, mouse, or hamster helps with your mental health illness, it can be classified as an emotional support animal.

An ESA has a few of the same protections in place that service dogs have. The most notable example is outlined in the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which doesn’t allow landlords to discriminate against tenants who have a mental health disorder. As long as you have an ESA letter, you can live with your dog at a place that’s otherwise not pet-friendly.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

The process for getting an ESA isn’t challenging as long as you know how to get started. The best place to get an ESA is U.S. Service Animals because we handle the process for you online. In fact, we can even connect you with a licensed mental health professional from the comfort of your home. That said, there are also in-person therapists available who can write you the ESA letter you need. Therefore, if you already have a therapist, it’s not a bad idea to work with them.

To get an ESA with U.S. Service Animals, start by visiting our ESA registration page. Then, follow the steps below:

  1. Enter your personal information. This includes your name, date of birth, and some details about your mental health problem.
  2. Navigate to the next form and enter details about your dog. This includes their weight, height, breed, and temperament.
  3. Schedule a call with a licensed mental health professional.
  4. Take the call and chat about your ESA needs.
  5. Wait for your ESA letter.

Overall, the steps to get an ESA with U.S. Service Animals are simple. Most in-person therapists will also make you follow similar steps as well as other websites. Typically, it will take a week or two for your ESA letter to arrive.

Once you have the ESA letter, you can begin enjoying the benefits that it provides.

Does REI Allow Service Dogs?

Yes, service dogs are allowed in REI. Unlike ESAs and other types of pets, service dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which allows them to accompany people into most locations. Service dogs are allowed in any REI and most public spaces because they’re directly helping someone with a disability. That said, getting a service dog isn’t the same as getting an ESA, and there is a rigorous training and testing process that needs to be completed.

What Is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are a unique type of dog that is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act (FHA), and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). These laws determine where a service dog can and can’t go, even if company policy doesn’t allow them on the premises.

Therefore, service dogs can enter any REI because of the laws stated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Furthermore, they can travel on planes and stay with you in your home, even if the landlord doesn’t have a pet-friendly property.

The reason this is all possible is that service dogs go through years of extensive training. This can cost time, money, and patience. Plus, the outcome might not even be desirable. For these reasons, it’s best to adopt a service dog that’s already completed its training.

How to Register a Service Dog

Getting a service dog isn’t much harder than getting an ESA once it comes to the registration process. However, you’ll have to follow a handful of steps first to get the dog trained. That said, make sure you choose U.S. Service Animals when it’s time to register your service dog. Doing so streamlines the process and makes everything easier.

To register your service dog with U.S. Service Animals, simply follow the steps below once you navigate to our service dog registration page.

  1. Enter your full name and other relevant information about yourself. This may include your date of birth, address, and email address.
  2. Enter information about your dog. Make sure you include their weight, height, and temperament.
  3. Schedule a call with a licensed mental health professional.
  4. Wait for the call.
  5. Complete your registration.

Unlike an ESA letter, registering your service dog is more impactful, especially if you plan on visiting public spaces. Once your service dog is registered you can visit most public spaces, including REI.

What Can You Train a Service Dog For?

Service dogs can be trained to handle just about anything. The only criterion is that they must be trained to help someone who has a disability. This can be a mental or physical disability. Some examples of reasons to train service dogs include:

  • Service dogs that can help their owners walk
  • Therapy dogs that calm someone down
  • Guide dogs for blind people
  • Service dogs who can pull wheelchairs or open doors
  • Therapy dogs that will guide someone out of stressful situations or relieve a panic attack

These are only a few examples of the things that you can train service dogs to do. Keep in mind that specific things can be trained depending on your unique situation.

How Much Does it Cost to Train a Service Dog?

Service dogs are great pets and can help you out if you need them. However, they do need a lot of training, especially if you plan on bringing your service dog to REI and other public locations. The good news is that you can adopt fully-trained service dogs from reputable trainers or train them on your own. Training them on your own is free, aside from the gear you need, while having them trained will cost between $10,000 and $20,000 on average.
chihuahua holding three bags

Tips for Bringing Your Dog to REI

REI is a dog-friendly store in most cases. However, that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want when you’re inside. This also applies to service dogs, ESAs, and regular pets. Learn about some of our top tips below for bringing your dog to REI locations.

Call Ahead

If you’re ever unsure about whether or not it’s okay to bring your dog to an REI location, there’s no harm in calling ahead. Locate the store’s number online and make sure you ask for the manager and respect their wishes if they say no to your request.

This may work for traditional pet dogs, but it’s also the best method if you plan on calling ahead for an ESA. Letting the store know you have an ESA letter will help you get through the doors faster if there is any confusion.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Dressed the Part

If you have a service dog or an ESA, ensure they’re wearing their equipment when you take them to REI—while this isn’t a legal requirement, it can definitely help employees identify that your dog is a working dog. Doing so ensures that the staff doesn’t ask any questions or delay your entry. Plus, it’s not legal for them to ask about your mental disorder or why you have a service dog anyway. Therefore, it speeds the whole process up.

This tip only applies to dogs that are ESAs or service dogs. Never dress a dog that isn’t an ESA or service dog as one. Doing so can result in fines that can cost upwards of $500, depending on your state.

Always Have Your Dog on a Leash When Possible at REI

According to REI’s store policy, most dogs are allowed as long as they’re on a leash. So, make sure you keep your dog on a leash if you plan on visiting any REI locations. You can use a leash or harness as long as your dog is comfortable and well-behaved.

Many dog owners have their dogs trained to behave without a leash, but this usually isn’t acceptable in public settings. Even if it’s not the most comfortable option for either of you, keep your dog on a leash whenever it’s possible.

Train Your Dog

Training is everything when it comes to bringing your dog out in public. Train your dog to handle public settings and to understand basic commands like sit, stay, up, or down. This will make your experience more pleasant and avoid any potential complications that may occur if you take your dog out in public without training.

You can also train your dog to become a service dog or ESA if you have a disability. That said, make sure you remember that service dogs have more rights in public spaces than ESAs.

As long as you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have any issues bringing your dog into an REI location.

Can You Order REI Products Online?

Can’t bring your dog to your local REI? Why not try ordering online? Doing so can help you get the REI products you’re looking for without having to visit the store.

Even if you have a service dog or an ESA, ordering online is sometimes the best option. It speeds up the process and allows you to avoid dealing with people or stressful situations. Ordering products online is also a breeze when you visit REI’s website. You can order from just about anywhere.

Bring Your Dog to REI Today

REI is one of the best outdoor stores to shop in, and you can find a lot of great items for your next adventure. Just make sure you understand how the rules and regulations surrounding service dogs and ESAs in your state work. Otherwise, you might be asked to leave if you bring your dog with you.

Still, most REIs will allow you to enter with your service dog or ESA, and some employees might even allow you to enter because they like your dog. So, in many cases, it comes down to the location and the staff working there.

To improve your odds of getting into REI with your dog, make sure you bring your ESA paperwork or get to know the staff before entry, and service dogs are always welcome.

As long as you remember the laws and tips we covered, you should have no issues bringing your dog to an REI near you.