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Are Dogs Allowed In Sam’s Club in 2024? Pet Policy & Exceptions

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

Are Dogs Allowed In Sam’s Club in 2024? Pet Policy & Exceptions

If you’re out and about with your dog and have to run by Sam’s Club, you may be wondering if you’re allowed to bring them into the store rather than leaving them in the car, especially if it’s a hot day. Unfortunately, since they sell food items, Sam’s Club does not allow dogs to come into their stores with their owners unless the dog is a service dog. Let’s discuss the pet policy of Sam’s Club.

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Why Aren’t Dogs Allowed at Sam’s Club?

Sam’s Club doesn’t allow dogs because it is a violation of the FDA’s health and safety policy, which prohibits dogs from places in which food is sold and prepared. But it isn’t just Sam’s Club that doesn’t allow dogs. Most grocery stores and restaurants don’t allow dogs into the establishment because areas in which food is prepared and sold have to maintain a certain level of cleanliness, and dogs pose a sanitation risk. Plus, some areas have state and local laws that prohibit dogs in certain establishments, including grocery stores, as well, so it’s easier for Sam’s Club to just prohibit dogs altogether.

What About Service Dogs?

According to their policy, Sam’s Club welcomes all breeds of well-trained service dogs that are under their owner’s control at all times. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) any place of business can not deny a service dog entry because service dogs provide a necessary medical service to their owners. They are also not allowed to ask you for proof that your dog is a certified service animal nor are they allowed to ask about your specific reason for needing a service dog.

They can, however, ask what your dog is trained to do. They also have a right to ask you to leave if your service dog is exhibiting unruly or disruptive behavior. This means that if your dog has a history of aggressive behavior or is not trained to follow basic commands, they may not be allowed in the store. Usually, this isn’t an issue, because service dogs are highly trained and skilled animals that are very obedient.

Additionally, Sam’s Club specifies that dogs must be leashed or in a carrier while in the store. This ensures that they’re not running loose and potentially causing harm to other customers or merchandise.

It’s also worth noting that Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are not the same as service dogs and are not protected under the ADA. So, if your dog is simply for emotional support, you likely won’t be able to bring them into the store, and Sam’s Club has every right to turn them away.

More About Service Dogs

A service dog is a specially trained canine that provides assistance to people with disabilities or medical conditions. These dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that their handlers may not be able to do independently. Service dogs are different from pet dogs as they receive specialized training to perform their duties. The training typically lasts for several months and is expensive. Service dogs are trained to provide physical assistance, emotional support or a combination of both.

Physical assistance service dogs are trained to perform tasks such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, and retrieving dropped items. They can also help people who use wheelchairs by opening and closing doors, guiding through entrances, turning on lights, and even pulling wheelchairs up ramps. Additionally, service dogs can detect certain medical conditions such as low blood sugar, seizures, and even heart attacks.

Service dogs also include dogs that are trained to provide comfort and support to people with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can help reduce anxiety and provide a sense of security to their handlers as well. This is not the same as emotional support dogs, which aren’t actually trained to perform specific tasks which is why ES dogs aren’t protected under the ADA.

Laws and Regulations Surrounding Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to public places and services. Under the ADA, service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners in any areas where the public is allowed, including stores, restaurants, and public transportation. Service dogs are also allowed in housing, including apartments and rental properties, even if the property owner has a “no pets” policy.

Note that service dogs aren’t considered pets, and handlers are not required to provide proof of their disability or their dog’s training. However, service dogs must be well-behaved in public and under their handlers’ control at all times. Handlers are also responsible for their dog’s care, including feeding, grooming, and vet care.

The Difference Between Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are different from service dogs. ESAs provide emotional support to their handlers but, as mentioned previously, aren’t trained to perform specific tasks. ESAs aren’t allowed in public places under the ADA, but they are allowed in housing under the Fair Housing Act. Handlers must provide documentation to their landlord from a mental health professional to verify their need for an ESA.

a Labrador dog cookie treat, training
Image Credit: Maya Shustov, Shutterstock

Guidelines for Bringing Your Dog to Sam’s Club

Now that you know which types of dogs are allowed in Sam’s Club and a bit more about service dogs, let’s take a look at some guidelines for bringing your furry friend with you to the store. First and foremost, ensure that your dog is well-behaved and under your control at all times. This means that they should be trained to follow basic commands such as “Heel” or “Stay”.

Always keep your dog on a leash while in the store. This not only ensures their safety, but also prevents them from potentially causing damage to merchandise or other customers.

When bringing your dog to Sam’s Club, be sure to stay mindful of other customers. Keep your dog close to you and avoid allowing them to approach or interact with other customers and their pets. Additionally, be aware of any allergies or fears that other customers may have and keep your dog away from them.

Finally, always clean up after your dog while in the store. Bring along some waste bags and be prepared to clean up any messes your dog may make. This not only ensures a pleasant shopping experience for other customers, but also shows respect for the store and its employees.

Where Can I Take My Dog?

While Sam’s Club doesn’t allow dogs other than service dogs into their store, there are other places you can take your dog instead. For example, Petco and PetSmart have long allowed customers to bring their dogs into the store (even animals that aren’t service dogs), as long as they’re leashed, well-behaved, and under the owner’s control.

Other retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, also allow dogs in their stores, although their policies may vary by location. It’s always best to check with your local store before bringing your dog along on a shopping trip.

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Final Thoughts

Bringing your service dog to Sam’s Club is possible, but if your pup is not a service dog, unfortunately, you won’t be able to take your dog into the store. And again, make sure that your service dog is restrained at all times and always ensure that it is fed and in good spirits before heading out.

Service dogs play a crucial role in the lives of people with disabilities or medical conditions. And by following the guidelines, you can ensure a safe, productive, and enjoyable shopping trip for you and your service dog when visiting Sam’s Club.

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Featured Image Credit: skrotov, Shutterstock

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