Fact checked

Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

Kristi Carignan
February 21, 2024
6 minutes
Updated By
Expert Reviewed By:
August 29, 2023
6 minutes
Updated By
Unsure whether your dog is allowed into Target? Learn more about the specific rules for bringing your dog out in public with Pettable.

If you shop at Target and have a dog, you’ve probably asked yourself, “Are dogs allowed in Target?”. Bringing your four-legged companion along for a shopping trip means you get to spend extra time together. It’s also helpful for those struggling with social anxiety and needing additional, dog-sized support and TLC. 

Let’s explore Target’s dog policy in more detail below. 

Are Dogs Allowed in Target? 

In short, only service dogs are allowed in Target stores. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs can be any breed or size of the dog as long as they are trained to perform a specific function related to their handler’s disability. Disabilities can be physical, psychiatric, sensory, emotional, or intellectual. As it currently stands, service animals can only be dogs rather than other species. 

These regulations mean that pet dogs and emotional service animals (ESAs) are generally not allowed in Target stores. 

What is Target’s Dog Policy? 

Target only permits service dogs who:

  • Support their owners with a specific disability. 
  • Perform a disability-related function. 

While certain stores may make concessions for smaller dogs or emotional support dogs, this isn’t a given, and it is important to call ahead if you want to bring your pet dog along. 

Are Service Dogs Allowed in Target?

Yes. As per the ADA, service dogs are allowed in all Target stores. The ADA states that any business open to the general public must allow service dogs. Nonetheless, service dogs should still be well-behaved, calm, and toilet-trained. 

Entities that do now allow pets must still allow service dogs. 

Psychiatric Service Dogs 

Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) have the same rights as service dogs, provided they help their owner with a specific disability by performing a special task. Tasks might include the PSD sensing that an owner is about to have an anxiety attack and providing a task-specific act to lessen its severity or reminding their handler to take their depression medication. 

The ADA distinguishes PSDs from Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). ESAs provide significant comfort and support to their owners but are not necessarily trained to perform a specific disability-related act. Nonetheless, some states and institutions recognize ESAs, so it is essential to check with local government agencies. 

Service Dogs for Physical Disabilities 

Service dogs for physical disabilities help owners with a myriad of physical disabilities and perform specific tasks related to them. They might help a blind owner to navigate the outside world or help an owner with mobility issues pick up an item that falls on the ground. 

Service Dogs in Training (SDIT) 

A service dog in training (SDIT) refers to a dog undergoing the process of becoming a service dog. They can wear special vests to alert the public that they are still in training. 

Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Target?

As a general rule, no. Only service dogs are allowed in Target stores. You could, however, chat with store-specific managers to check if they make any concessions. 

Are Dogs on a Leash Allowed in Target?

Only service dogs are allowed in Target. They should be leashed or harnessed (unless doing so impacts their ability to perform their tasks.) 

Are Dog Strollers Allowed in Target?  

Only if the stroller is needed for the service dog or psychiatric service dog. Pet dogs and ESAs are generally excluded from the service dog policy, even if they are in a stroller. 

Can Target Ask for Proof of a Service Dog? 

No. Legally, no one can ask for proof of a service dog, and no such papers are legally required. They can, however, ask the handler two specific questions. Firstly, is the dog needed for a specific disability? And secondly, can they perform a particular task related to it? 

List of Dog-Friendly Stores 

While Target might only allow service dogs and PSDs, many dog-friendly stores around the US exist. Some popular dog-friendly shops include the following places: 

• Ace Hardware 

• Apple Store

• Barnes and Noble

• Bass Pro Shops

• Cabela’s 

• Duluth Trading Company 

• Half Price Books

• Lowe’s 

• Macy’s (some stores)

• TJ Maxx

• Orvis 

• Pottery Barn (if they can fit inside your bag)

Online Psychiatric Service Dog Training with Pettable 

If you are interested in training your dog to become a psychiatric service dog, check out our online PSD course offering. Run online over 15 virtual sessions with a qualified trainer, the course gives dog owners the skills and knowledge to self-train their dog to become a PSD. 

ESA Letter with Pettable 

If you have an emotional support animal and want to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional, let us connect you to a qualified practitioner in your state. ESA letters are crucial when it comes to finding pet-friendly housing for you and your ESA and wavering specific pet tariffs and fees. 

Once we match you to a therapist and you have your consultation, you’ll get your letter within 24-48 hours. If you are unsuccessful for any reason, you’ll get all your money back. 

Chat with the team at Pettable for quality PSD training and legitimate ESA letters. 

Meet the author:
Kristi Carignan

Kristi Carignan is a seasoned freelance writer with over 20 years of experience crafting copy for global agencies and brands. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her furry companions, Sugar the PomChi and Rudy the Shiba Inu, and indulging in hobbies like crafting and home renovation.

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