Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s? – Everything to Know

Trader Joe’s is one of the most recognized grocery store chains. Thousands of people shop at Trader Joe’s every day to take advantage of the many bargains to be found.

While shopping for groceries with your dog won’t be common, days might come when you have to make a quick trip to Trader Joe’s with your dog. Whether it’s to buy a refreshing drink on a hot summer day or to get essential supplies, we’re here to explain everything you need to know about Trader Joe’s policy.

Continue reading to find out if dogs are allowed in Trader Joe’s, including service dogs and emotional support animals.

What Is Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s is a chain of grocery stores with over 500 locations nationwide. The company is known for its low prices, unique products, and seasonal offerings.

Many people choose to shop at Trader Joe’s for its affordable prices. In fact, one in four households in the US shop at Trader Joe’s. This reach attracts more people, whether buying a few necessary items or stocking up the pantry.

What Does Trader Joe’s Sell?

Trader Joe’s sells various items, from seasonal produce and fresh seafood to basic supplies and houseware. You can find pretty much anything your house needs at Trader Joe’s.

Can You Buy Dog Products at Trader Joe’s?

Yes, Trader Joe’s has pet products. You can find a limited selection of dog treats, chewy bones, wet food, kibble, and more. However, the dog products sold at Trader Joe’s are nowhere near as extensive as those sold at places like Petco or PetSmart.

Nonetheless, you can get a few bags of treats for your dog to try next time you shop at Trader Joe’s.

Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s has a strict no-pet policy. Pets aren’t allowed in any of the Trader Joe’s locations. Any dog owner would want to take their pooch for a shopping trip, but it makes sense as it’s a grocery store. However, service dogs are permitted.

The pet policy of Trader Joe’s is due to FDA rules and regulations that only service animals are allowed inside grocery stores. Although they aren’t pets per se, service dogs may enter Trader Joe’s with their handlers. If you’ve seen a dog at Trader Joe’s before, they were likely a service animal helping their handler with a disability.

These no-pet policies don’t differ from one Trader Joe’s to another. Although the different locations of some companies allow dogs, all Trader Joe’s locations have the same pet policy, as they must follow FDA guidelines. Unless your dog is a service animal, they can’t enter Trader Joe’s.

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

The main reason service dogs are allowed in Trader Joe’s and pet dogs aren’t is simple. Pets are there to provide companionship to their owners, whereas service animals perform tasks for individuals with disabilities to complete daily tasks.

Additionally, the public access rights of service animals are protected under federal law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives service animals public access rights anywhere their handlers are allowed. Any establishment allowing members of the general public must also permit their service dogs.

Are ESAs Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

Emotional support animals, or ESAs, are different from service animals. They aren’t trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of a disabled person. Emotional support animals provide comfort to their owners through companionship. An ESA doesn’t have to be a dog. Cats, birds, rabbits, miniature pigs, chickens, and any other domesticated animal can become an ESA.

ESAs don’t have the same training as service animals. A mental health professional essentially writes an ESA letter for someone with a mental health condition to provide emotional support. Since only service animals have public access rights, ESAs must follow the pet policy of establishments.

As you can expect, ESAs aren’t allowed in Trader Joe’s as they don’t count as service animals. However, this doesn’t mean ESAs don’t have rights. Although emotional support animals aren’t allowed in Trader Joe’s and other establishments with a no-pet policy, the federal law protects their rights.

For example, the Fair Housing Act mentions ESAs and protects their owners’ right to rent, even if the landlord has a no-pet policy. Before January 2021, ESAs could also fly with their owners in the cabin without an extra charge. Since then, the ESA laws around this have changed, and the Air Carrier Access Act now only includes service animals.

What Is a Service Animal?

Service animals are highly trained dogs that help an individual with a disability. The ADA defines service animals as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Unlike emotional support animals (ESAs), service animals must be trained to help someone with a disability.

There are various service animals trained to achieve different tasks. These range from helping the visually impaired find direction and navigate crowds to providing mobility assistance to help someone with a physical disability walk.

Since the duties of a service dog help disabled individuals with their daily tasks, they have public access rights. Service animals can enter anywhere the general public can go with their handlers, including grocery stores like Trader Joe’s.

However, there are a few exceptions to the public access of service animals. For example, a service animal may enter a hospital’s waiting room, but they aren’t allowed to enter operation rooms or other areas that require a sterile environment. Similarly, restaurants must allow service animals, but they cannot enter the kitchen area.

Can My Dog Become a Service Animal?

Any dog fit for the tasks an individual with a disability needs can become a service dog. If you have a disability and want your dog to become a service dog, you will have two options. You can train your dog yourself or send them to a service animal training program.

However, not every dog owner can train their dog to become a service animal. It largely depends on what task they need to perform. For example, training your dog to become your own service dog if you have epilepsy isn’t a good idea. Seizure response dog training is extremely demanding as it requires various training techniques and distraction methods.

Nonetheless, you can train your dog using various online courses if you need to teach something relatively simple, such as retrieving objects from the ground. You can also book private online training with a professional trainer to help guide you.

While training your dog can be a fun bonding experience, it isn’t the easiest route. The best way for most disabled individuals to have their pet dogs as service animals is to send them to an appropriate trainer. After graduating from training, you can register your dog as a service animal to have their ID card ready.

Lastly, note that not every dog is fit to become a service animal. Your dog’s breed, size, age, and temperament all play a role. For example, a Jack Russell Terrier wouldn’t make a good mobility assistance dog. Make sure to consider your dog’s eligibility before planning.

What Type of Service Dogs Are Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

service dog opening bathroom door

All types and breeds of service dogs are allowed in Trader Joe’s. Whether you have a Lab or a Great Dane service animal, they can accompany you to Trader Joe’s. There isn’t a restriction on the type of service dog and their breed, age, or size.

Listing all types of service dogs would be too long, but here are some of the common types of service animals and a brief description of how they help their handlers.

  • Guide dogs mainly help the visually impaired by guiding them where they need to go.
  • Mobility assistance dogs help their owners with physical tasks, such as getting up from a chair, pulling wheelchairs, opening and closing doors, and retrieving objects from the ground.
  • Autism assistance dogs accompany individuals with autism, including children, and perform specific tasks that help alleviate symptoms.
  • Seizure alert and response dogs perform specific tasks during or after a seizure, such as pressing an alarm button or using their body to prevent injury.
  • Hearing assistance dogs alert those hard of hearing to certain sounds, like phone ringing, doorbells, smoke detectors, baby crying, and alarm clocks.
  • Psychiatric service dogs accomplish various tasks to comfort their handlers, such as interrupting harmful behavior, using their body to block other people, or applying gentle pressure to alleviate anxiety.

Since there isn’t a definitive description of what duties a service animal can uphold, they may be able to accomplish specific tasks to help their handlers. That’s why many individuals with disabilities get a service dog specifically trained to help their needs.

Can Trader Joe’s Ask About My Service Dog?

Trader Joe’s staff can’t ask an individual with a disability to show proof that their dog is a service animal. According to federal law, only limited inquiries are allowed, and the ADA is very clear about this. Trader Joe’s staff may only ask the following two questions.

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

Besides these two questions, it’s against ADA guidelines for the staff to ask for documentation, registration papers, or demonstration of the tasks the service animal is trained to do.

Upon answering, individuals with a service dog can enter Trader Joe’s. All these apply to anywhere the general public is allowed to enter, whether it’s a grocery store, restaurant, or office space.

Is Trader Joe’s Pet Friendly?

Trader Joe’s isn’t pet-friendly, not just with dogs but all animals (except service dogs). You can’t bring your cat, bird, or any other pet inside the store. Whether in a closed backpack or a carrier, Trader Joe’s no-pet policy applies to all pets.

Does Trader Joe’s Offer Curbside Pickup or Online Delivery?

dog looking at laptop screen

Since most dog owners must leave their best buddies at home, what about curbside pickup or online delivery? Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer any of these delivery methods. Despite the high demand, Trader Joe’s hasn’t introduced this service yet.

You can browse Trade Joe’s featured products to create a shopping list and print it from the website. Keep in mind that the majority of the products sold at Trader Joe’s aren’t listed on the website.

Still, browsing the products on the website can help you prepare beforehand. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or you don’t want to leave them alone for too long, this can help you reduce the time spent shopping.


Can Service Animals Walk Off-Leash in Trader Joe’s?

According to the ADA, service animals must be leashed, harnessed, or otherwise tethered. However, if the handler’s disability prevents them from using these, the service animal may be off-leash. Similarly, if wearing a harness or leash prevents the dog from performing the tasks to help their handler, they may be off-leash.

So, in these situations, service animals can walk off-leash alongside their handlers in Trader Joe’s. However, the handler must keep the dog under control. Not wearing a leash shouldn’t be an issue as long as the service dog doesn’t create a safety or health issue and keeps their attention on the handler.

Are There Any Grocery Stores That Allow Dogs?

Grocery stores don’t allow dogs per the US Food and Drug Administration regulations. None of the grocery stores in the US, like Trader Joe’s, allow pet dogs to enter the premises. Unless you have a service animal, curbside pickup or online delivery is your best option.

Also, you can consider training your dog to help them remain calm while you’re away. This can provide you with enough time to shop by yourself without stressing your dog, especially if they have separation anxiety.

Can I Enter Trader Joe’s With My Dog in a Carrier?

Pets aren’t allowed to enter Trader Joe’s. This includes any sized dog, whether in a carrier or a closed backpack. This rule not only applies to dogs but to any other pet. Only service dogs trained to help disabled individuals are allowed to enter Trader Joe’s.

Do Service Dogs Need to Wear Identification to Enter Trader Joe’s?

Service dogs aren’t required to wear identification, such as a vest or a harness that states they are service animals. You also aren’t required to carry documentation that shows their training or proves they are a service dog.

Although these aren’t mandatory for service animals, wearing a vest or other forms of identification makes life easier. Not knowing your service dog’s training, the staff may ask you to leave when entering somewhere new. Since vests or other identification will let them know that they are a service dog, it will make entering public spaces hassle-free.

Does Trader Joe’s Allow Dogs?

Trader Joe’s has a strict no-pet policy in all of its locations. This approach isn’t because Trader Joe’s doesn’t want dogs in the store. The FDA has a set of rules and regulations in place that require grocery stores to deny entry to pets.

Pet dogs aren’t allowed to enter Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores, but service animals are exempt from these rules. The Americans with Disabilities Act allows service dogs to enter public spaces with their handlers, including grocery stores. Your dog may enter these places without a problem if they are a service animal.

Other than service dogs, no pet is allowed to enter Trader Joe’s, including small pets in carriers or closed backpacks. Since Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer curbside pickup or online delivery, you must leave your dog at home. If your dog has separation anxiety and can’t be left home for too long, utilize positive reinforcement techniques to minimize your dog’s anxiety.