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Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s? 2024 Update

Written by: Jeff Weishaupt

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Dogster Team

Trader Joe's, Stamford, CT

Are Dogs Allowed in Trader Joe’s? 2024 Update

Trader Joe’s is nothing short of Narnia for healthy eaters who love the company’s private-label products and foods catering to special dietary needs. With over 500 Trader Joe’s stores across the US, you would happen to walk into one at some point. But can your dog tag along?

Like most grocery retail stores, Trader Joe’s is not dog friendly. While you can bring your service dogs, other dogs or pets are not allowed in the store. Let’s discuss the store’s policy in detail.

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Does Trader Joe’s Allow Dogs?

The short answer is no. Trader Joe’s does not allow any dogs other than service dogs in its stores. The policy is similar to other grocery stores, considering the hygiene risk that comes with bringing animals into grocery stores.

Does Trader Joe’s Policy Vary by Location?

Trader Joe’s pet policy is the same across the board. You can only bring service dogs to the grocery store.

inside a Trader Joe's store
Image Credit: conversationswithval, Pixabay

Why Are Dogs Not Allowed in Trader Joe’s?

Grocery stores have pet prohibition policies to keep food products and customers safe.

Here are some reasons Trader Joe's also has this policy:
  • Food Safety: While your furry friend might be trained not to poke their nose into the kitchen at home, you must keep in mind that animals are curious creatures. Your dog may touch foods, especially fresh produce, contaminating them with dander, saliva, or hair. Some animals also carry harmful bacteria that can transmit through contact or fecal matter.
  • Allergies: Customers may have allergies to pet hair and dander. Exposure to a dog or its hair may cause sensitivity or allergic reactions in these people.
  • Anxiety: Some people are scared of dogs, while others feel anxious around larger breeds. Trader Joe’s aims to create a pleasant shopping experience.

The health departments in some jurisdictions also have regulations that prevent animals from entering any food establishment, including grocery stores. These measures are in place to safeguard the health of shoppers, grocery store staff, and the general public.

dogster paw dividerWhy Does Trader Joe’s Allow Service Dogs?

Trader Joe’s allows service dogs in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act1. It is a civil rights law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The law applies to all spheres of public life, including spaces open to the general public, like grocery stores.

One point of this law is that people with disabilities should be allowed to bring service dogs with them to public spaces. However, it’s essential to know what “service animal” means per this law.

service guide dog is helping a blind man in the city
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

How Does the ADA Define Service Animals?

The ADA defines a service dog as a dog that is trained to do tasks for people with disabilities. For example, the dog may guide blind people or alert their deaf owners. Similarly, they may pull a wheelchair or calm people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It’s important to distinguish between service and emotional support dogs. The ADA does not cover the latter. So, you cannot take them to Trader Joe’s.

What Can Trader Joe’s Ask About Service Dogs?

The ADA allows businesses and their staff to ask about the following things pertaining to a service dog:

  • Is this dog required because of a disability?
  • What task does the dog perform?

Trader Joe’s staff and managers cannot ask you for documentation to prove your dog is licensed, certified, or registered as a service animal. They can also not ask you to make your dog perform the task they are trained to do. Moreover, they cannot ask about the nature of your disability or prohibit larger breeds from accompanying owners as service dogs.

The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest. But if you plan to take your service dog to Trader Joe’s, you should put a vest on them to prevent confusion among other customers.

man with disability with his service dog
Image Credit: 24K_Production, Shutterstock

State and Local Laws About Service Dogs

The state and local laws in some areas may be more lenient or strict than others. For example, some states might offer voluntary registration programs for service dogs.

But keep in mind that these are voluntary. Even if your dog has not been registered, you can still take them to Trader Joe’s.

Some states also require dogs to be vaccinated and licensed. In that case, you’ll have to comply with these rules.

But a local government cannot:

  • Ban a service dog based on breed
  • Require registration or certification for service dogs

When Can Trader Joe’s Ask You to Remove Your Service Dog From the Store?

The ADA strictly states that public establishments should not impose unnecessary restrictions on people with disabilities. But in some cases, Trader Joe’s can ask you to remove your service animal from their premises. Here are two scenarios:

  • Your dog is out of control and you are not taking effective action to control the animal.
  • Your dog is not housebroken.

The staff will request you take your dog outside in such instances. However, you can still shop without the dog if you want.

How to Take Your Service Dog to Trader Joe’s

The ADA requires you to control your dog in a public space at all times. Leash, tether, or harness your service animal to keep them in control.

But if your disability does not allow you to use these devices, you should use voice control. People with voice-related physical disabilities, such as muteness, should use signals or bring someone along to keep the dog under control.

Keep in mind that the law does not require staff members to supervise your dog. So, you have to take care of your service animal in the store and clean up after them in case of an accident.

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Final Thoughts

Like all groceries stores in the country, Trader Joe’s does not allow dogs to accompany their owners. Only service dogs are allowed on the store’s premises.

The store staff can ask you about the task the dog performs for you, but you do not have to carry any documentation for your dog, such as training or registration paperwork.

Put your dog on a leash when taking them to Trader Joe’s. If that’s not possible, use signals and voice to control your dog. If your service animal is out of control and is disrupting the store’s operations, the staff might have to ask you to remove your dog from the store.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Trader Joe’s, Stamford, CT (Mike Mozart, Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0)

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