Walgreens is one of the most popular pharmacy and retail chains across the United States. It’s only natural to wonder if your furry canine friend can accompany you the next time you are on a quick shopping trip and need to stop at this store.
Our article gives you information on whether or not Walgreens is dog-friendly and what the pet policy of this store really is. In addition, we’ll provide you with advice on other pet-friendly stores you can visit with your pup. Read on to learn more about if dogs are allowed in Walgreens.
Walgreens – Pharmacy and Retail Chain
Walgreens is the second-largest pharmacy chain store in the United States, and this company was established under the name of Walgreen Drug Co. in 1901. Over the years, the business has expanded its reach and grown in size, and, as of 2023, more than 8,600 Walgreens stores exist around the United States.
Walgreens grew to notoriety during prohibition, where the business made most of its money selling prescription whiskey and greatly marking up the price. In recent years, Walgreens has pivoted to providing food, drinks, retail items, beauty products, and other drugstore essentials in addition to keeping its robust pharmacy business successful.
Are Dogs Allowed in Walgreens?
Unfortunately, according to several reports on Walgreens, this store has a no-pets policy in place. Walgreens maintains a dog and animal-free policy to maintain the safety and health standards of their pharmacy and retail areas. This policy is also to ensure customers are comfortable while in the store picking up their medications or other items.
That being said, service dogs are allowed to accompany individuals inside of Walgreens stores, as this is an accommodation protected under both federal and state law. So while pet dogs are not allowed to be brought into Walgreens, if you have a service dog, feel free to have them accompany you.
Does Walgreens Allow Dogs at All?
Service dogs and emotional support dogs are covered by more legal rights than regular pets, so understanding which are allowed in stores can be tricky. We give you information below about which dogs are and aren’t allowed in Walgreens.
Service animals are allowed in Walgreens, and this is the only type of dog that you can expect to see in a Walgreens. The business has a no animals policy due to the nature of its store. However, service animals have public access rights so that the individuals they assist are able to complete their daily tasks and receive proper accommodations. Service dogs are the only type of dog you can expect to see present in a Walgreens.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are different from service animals. They aren’t trained to perform specific disability-related tasks for their owners, such as guiding, retrieving items, or detecting medical problems.
As such, emotional support animals are not protected by federal and state service animal laws, and your emotional support animal will not be allowed inside a Walgreens with you.
If you believe that you could benefit from taking your emotional support dog to stores with you, you might want to speak to your healthcare provider about a service dog for this purpose.
Is Walgreens Pet-Friendly?
Walgreens is not a pet-friendly store, so you are not allowed to bring pet dogs or any other kind of animal inside with you.
Walgreens maintains this policy to ensure the safety of their pharmacy and retail areas. You will likely get into trouble with your local Walgreens if you try to bring your dog shopping against their pet policy.
Service Animal Public Access Laws
Service animals are granted wide-reaching public access rights, as they are necessary for many individuals with disabilities to complete their daily activities without issue.
There are both federal and state protections in place that allow individuals to take their service animals with them wherever they do. This includes being allowed into restaurants and businesses that don’t typically allow dogs inside. Walgreens is no exception, and they will need to permit service dogs inside their businesses.
The main federal protection of service dog access rights to businesses is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act was initially passed in 1990 and updated in 2008 to provide further definitions regarding service animals and clarifications about some aspects of the protections the regulation protects.
Under the ADA, your service animal is allowed to accompany you into any business, restaurant, or other public area, except for certain religious spaces. If you have a service dog, we recommend consulting the Americans with Disabilities Act to understand more about your federal public access rights.
Additionally, state laws regarding service animals do vary, but you can expect your state to have some kind of protection in place when it comes to service animals.
Every state will at least uphold the federal law, and there may be further additions made for state-specific service animal issues. This may also include definitions of what makes a service animal, and information about which actions may be illegal regarding service animal public access rights in the state.
What Can Walgreens Staff Ask About My Service Dog?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Walgreens staff is not allowed to ask much in regard to your service dog. However, there are two questions they can ask of you to verify that your dog is a service animal. You are generally required to answer the following questions, but you won’t need to provide follow-up.
- “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?”
- “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”
If you are asked to show proof of your dog being a service animal or are denied access because staff don’t believe you, this is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Asking for proof may look like asking for registration papers or making your dog perform specific tasks. Regardless, it is illegal.
You may be able to pursue legal action against the business to ensure you are allowed to enter in the future depending on the situation. Seek legal counsel and consult the ADA for more information.
Can Walgreens Deny My Service Dog Access?
When it comes to service dog public access rights, there are not a lot of things that your service dog can be denied entry for. It is possible for Walgreens staff to deny you and your service dog entry, but there must be certain conditions met, such as:
- Your dog is out of control or otherwise not listening to you
- Your dog is creating destruction or damaging items in the store
- Your dog is posing a threat to the safety of employees or other customers
- Your dog is not properly bathroom trained and is creating a health hazard in the store
All of the reasons above are valid reasons for Walgreens to deny your service dog entry. You can consult the Americans with Disabilities Act for more information on the circumstances in which your service dog might be denied public access.
Pet-Friendly Stores Where You Can Take Your Dog Shopping
Walgreens may not allow dogs outside of service dogs, but there are plenty of other pet-friendly stores where you and your pup can engage in a shopping spree. Below, we list other stores that are likely to be pet-friendly.
- Home Depot
- Barnes & Noble
- Tractor Supply Co.
- Bass Pro Shops
Keep in mind that specific store policies may change based on location and state or county rules. If you aren’t sure whether or not a store is pet-friendly, give them a call before showing up to verify that you can bring your pup with you.
FAQs About Shopping With Your Dog
Going shopping with your dog is an exciting activity, though you likely have some concerns about getting started. Review our answers to frequently asked questions about shopping with your dog to make sure you’re informed before you hit the stores with your pup.
What Should I Teach My Dog Before Going in Public?
Before taking your dog shopping in public with you, you should be teaching them basic obedience skills and manners that help them succeed in public interactions.
Your dog should know how to walk alongside you via a leash, they should be potty trained, and they should listen to your commands telling them to stop, sit, stay, and wait for you. All of these skills are essential if you want your dog to enjoy their time in any store you visit together in addition to keeping your dog safe.
Can I Pass My Dog off as a Service Animal?
It is illegal in most cases to pass your dog off as a service animal. This includes actions such as dressing your dog up in service animal vests, telling staff they are a service animal, or attempting to present identification cards that show your dog is a service animal.
Service animals technically don’t need any identification, and individuals with service dogs are not required to register them or carry ID cards. By passing off your dog as a service animal, you make it more difficult for individuals with genuine disabilities and need to bring their service dog with them into public.
Most individuals are able to tell the difference between a highly trained service dog and a pet. If you are found out when passing your dog off as a service dog, you may be convicted of a misdemeanor or other crime depending on specific state and county laws.
How Can I Tell if My Dog Is Stressed?
Paying attention to your dog’s body language and stress levels while in public is an important part of shopping with your dog and ensuring that they are happy throughout your trip.
Make sure to check in with your dog regularly and look for signs of stress or anxiety such as excessive panting, growling and snapping, barking, or hiding. If your dog appears to be anxious or nervous around any other dogs or people in the store, this is a good time to take your dog outside and calm them down.
Once your dog has calmed down and you’ve given them plenty of treats for positive reinforcement, you may be able to continue your shopping trip, or you might need to try again on a different day.
Always pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you. Don’t force them into a shopping trip when they are obviously uncomfortable as this will likely result in an unpleasant or dangerous situation for the both of you.
What if I Am Asked to Leave a Pet-Friendly Store?
Even in a store that is known for being pet-friendly, there is a chance that staff members will ask you and your pet to leave. This may happen if your dog is creating issues or acting out of control, or if there are specific policies in place that exclude pet dogs from entering that specific location.
In these cases, you should listen to what the employee is asking of you and leave when necessary. This prevents further issues from occurring and stops you and your dog from having an unpleasant shopping trip.
Do I Need to Keep My Dog on a Leash?
It’s essential when shopping with your dog or traveling with your dog that you keep them on a leash. The only times that your dog should not be on a leash are around your home and enclosed backyard, or an enclosed dog park that allows leash-free roaming. This is not only vital to the safety of your dog, but it is a major part of keeping yourself and other individuals safe.
By taking your dog leash-free into public, you risk your dog attacking another, your dog being attacked, or negative interactions with the public. Regardless of how well-trained your dog is, you can’t plan for every eventuality. Keeping your service dog, emotional support animal, or pet dog on a leash is a great way to ensure safe and happy excursions.
How Do I Get a Service Animal?
If you want to take your dog into a store because you need their assistance for a physical, mental, or psychiatric disability, you may require a service animal.
If you don’t yet have a dog but believe one would benefit you as you shop, your first step is to contact your licensed mental health provider or the doctor that you work with to manage your condition. You can discuss the benefits of obtaining a service dog with them and listen to their advice on how to add a service dog to your life.
You have two options for adopting a service dog – purchasing a fully trained service dog or training your own service dog. Both of these methods have their own pros and cons.
For instance, purchasing a fully trained service dog is helpful if you don’t have the time commitment for training. However, it is often expensive, and insurance rarely covers the purchase of service dogs.
On the other hand, training a service dog takes longer and you will need to put extra effort into training the commands and assistance tasks you need completed. However, training your own service dog is cheaper.
It’s also important to note that several organizations across the United States work to place service dogs with individuals who might not be able to purchase one or train their own. Research these organizations as you decide on where to obtain your service dog.
Ensuring Your Shopping Trip Is Dog-Friendly
Walgreens might not be pet-friendly except for service dogs, but plenty of other stores do allow you to bring your furry friend with you as you browse the shelves. It’s essential to double-check every store’s policy on pets before you show up with your dog for a shopping trip, as many stores have state and local policies they must follow.
Always be gracious when attempting to take your dog shopping and, if you have a service dog, make sure you understand your rights for bringing your dog with you while visiting any store.