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Are Dogs Allowed in Publix (Updated in 2024)

Written by: Jeff Weishaupt

Last Updated on June 25, 2024 by Dogster Team

Two dogs are waiting for their owners outside a big shop or store

Are Dogs Allowed in Publix (Updated in 2024)

As the largest employee-owned company in the US,1 Publix poses itself as a supermarket “where shopping is a pleasure.” But what if you want to bring your dog along when shopping? Does Publix cater to that? The short answer is no. Publix does not allow dogs in its stores. Only service dogs are allowed in Publix stores per the Americans with Disabilities Act.

However, there are a few things you need to know about taking your service dog to Publix. Here’s a breakdown.

What Is Publix Pet Policy?

According to Publix’s pet policy, the company does not allow non-service animals in stores. Only service dogs are allowed in Publix stores, but they must be under their owner’s control at all times.

tied dog outside a store
Image Credit: Savicic, Shutterstock

Why Does Publix Not Allow Non-Service Animals?

Most pet owners think, what’s the harm in bringing my dog to the store? But it’s not that simple. Here are some reasons Publix doesn’t allow non-service doors to enter its stores.

Food Hygiene

Publix sells food items, such as meat and dairy products. Most stores also have a deli where customers can buy quick meals, such as pork subs and chicken tender subs. With a dog in the picture, food hygiene becomes compromised. Firstly, dogs shed bodily fluids, hair, and dander that may contaminate food. Besides creating a health hazard for the shoppers, these contaminants can also result in food waste and monetary loss for the store.

Secondly, dogs are curious animals that like to sniff and touch things, and the food displays may be too tempting for them to ignore. Similarly, if a dog licks a food item, they can transfer bacteria or viruses to the food.

poodle dogs outside a supermarket
Image Credit: filippo giuliani, Shutterstock

Local Health Codes

Many municipalities have health codes determining how food should be handled and stored in supermarkets. Any company found in violation of these codes can be shut down. A common component of the health code is keeping animals away from food or places that sell food. That’s why stores that sell food items, such as Publix, prohibit the entry of non-service animals.


Dogs can get excited or agitated around other people. Some dogs may get scared or lash out at strangers in a new environment. No one wants a dog barking at them while trying to find their favorite morning cereal, do they? By having a no-dog policy, supermarkets eliminate these safety risks. The policy also keeps the dogs and the store’s staff safe.

small dog waiting on leash on a Bicycle stand for its owner in front of supermarket or store
Image Credit: Yanya, Shutterstock


You know your pup is a good dog, but not everyone in a Publix store knows that. If your dog is an intimidating-looking breed or has a habit of sniffing around, they might make other people anxious. Again, grocery shopping is supposed to be a relaxing experience. That’s precisely what Publix wants to provide its customers by prohibiting the entry of dogs.

Why Does Publix Allow Service Dogs?

The Americans With Disabilities Act states that businesses must allow people with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals. According to the Act, supermarkets count as public spaces. So, they must allow the entry of service animals.

Service dog giving assistance to disabled person on wheelchair
Image Credit:24K-Production, Shutterstock

What Is a Service Animal?

While miniature horses are also considered service animals, the ADA only recognizes dogs as service animals. The Act describes service animals as dogs trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Some examples of these tasks are:
  • Alerting deaf individuals
  • Guiding blind individuals
  • Retrieving items for people with physical disabilities
  • Reminding people with mental illnesses to take their medications
  • Calming people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during anxiety attacks
  • Alerting people with epilepsy of an oncoming seizure

It’s imperative that the tasks the dog performs relate directly to their owner’s disability. However, no Publix employee or staff member can require you to make your dog demonstrate the task they are trained to do.

The staff can only ask you:
  • If the dog is a service animal
  • Which tasks it performs

How to Take a Service Animal to Publix

According to the ADA, the service animal does not have to wear a vest. Your dog also does not need an ID to show that they’re a service dog. You do not have to take any certification or license with you when taking your dog to Publix.

However, it’s essential to keep your dog on a leash in the store. As their handler, you are responsible for keeping your dog under control. If a leash disrupts your service dog’s ability to perform their tasks, you should use voice control. Individuals who cannot speak must use signals.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
  • Do not keep your service animal in the shopping cart. As mentioned, dogs shed hair and dander that can transfer to the person who uses the cart after you.
  • Your service animal should walk alongside you or stay at your feet.
  • Be considerate of other shoppers while you’re in the store. Do not let your dog approach other shoppers or sniff them.
  • Remember that you are responsible for cleaning up after your service animal in Publix. If your dog has an accident, clean it up and inform the store staff so that they can disinfect the area later.

You are responsible for the damages if your service animal breaks anything or injures someone. You’ll have to cover the damages to the Publix store or any third party.

chocolate Labrador retriever service dog
Image Credit: Shine Caramia, Shutterstock

Can Publix Disallow Service Dogs?

The ADA prevents public businesses from discriminating against people with disabilities, but Publix can ask you to take your dog off the premises if they’re misbehaving. Being housebroken means the service dog is trained to go to the bathroom outside. If you notice that your service animal needs to use the restroom, take them outside.

However, Publix ensures pet owners can still shop in the store. If your dog is taken off the premises, a personal shopping assistant will help you shop. Alternatively, the store will deliver your purchases to you at home. In this way, Publix ensures that it does not discriminate against you by denying you access to shopping. At the same time, the store prioritizes its customers’ safety and comfort.

Which Dogs Are Not Service Animals?

Do you have an emotional support pup that accompanies you everywhere? Unfortunately, emotional support animals do not count as service animals. The ADA does not recognize therapy or emotional support dogs as service animals. Even a doctor’s prescription does not allow you to enter a Publix store with your dog.

service dog giving assistance to disabled person on wheelchair
Image Credit: 24K-Production, Shutterstock

Alternatives to Taking Your Dog to Publix

Publix isn’t dog-friendly unless you have a service animal. So, what do you do with your pup while you’re out stocking up on your groceries?

Here are some alternatives:
  • Leave Them at Home: The simplest thing to do is leave your pet at home. Grocery shopping shouldn’t take you longer than an hour or two. Most dogs can spend a few hours alone with no problem.
  • Find a Pet Sitter: Some dogs, such as rescues, have severe separation anxiety. You can hire a pet sitter to provide your dog company while you’re gone.
  • Shop Online: Publix has a website where you can shop for necessities. You can also choose curbside pickup and take your dog along in the car while you pick up the groceries you ordered.


Like other supermarkets and grocery stores, Publix does not allow non-service animals. However, people with disabilities can take their service animals to Publix. The service animals must be well-mannered, controlled, and housebroken. They should also be trained to perform a task relating to the individual’s disability. Emotional support dogs are not service animals and will not be allowed in Publix. When taking your service animal to the grocery store, be mindful of other customers, keep your dog under control, and clean up after them.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Frau Agnes, Shutterstock

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