Whole Foods Market is a widespread supermarket chain across the US. With over 500 stores, it's a popular shopping destination for those wanting to embark on a healthier lifestyle. If you love shopping organic or enjoy dabbling in plant-based cuisine, you've likely wondered if Whole Foods Market is dog friendly. This guide examines everything you need to know about their pet policy.
Are Dogs Allowed in Whole Foods?
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Is Whole Foods Pet Friendly?
Whole Foods Market welcomes service dogs, however, as a general rule, they are not pet or dog friendly. Specific pet policies may vary from store to store so it is best to call ahead to find out about your local Whole Foods rules. Happily, there are loads of other stores that welcome your furry friends with open arms.
What is the Whole Foods Pet Policy?
As a general rule, service dogs are always welcome inside Whole Foods stores. This is in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which defines service dogs as:
"Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities."
Under the ADA, public establishments – including government buildings, non-profits, and businesses – must all service animals to accompany their handlers in any area where the public is meant to go. This includes shops that sell food, restaurants, and cafes.
Animals must be leashed or tethered unless doing so impacts their ability to perform a disability-related function.
Are Dogs Allowed in Whole Foods?
Due to sanitization reasons, only service dogs are allowed in Whole Foods stores. Pet animals and emotional support animals (ESAs) are not allowed inside stores as a general rule. However, some reports say that it is up to the discretion of individual store managers. While most will likely follow the no-pet policy, you can always call a specific Whole Foods store ahead of your visit to confirm its individual stance.
Are Service Dogs Allowed in Whole Foods?
Yes, in line with the ADA, service animals are always allowed inside Whole Foods Stores when accompanying their handler. They should be leashed unless this impacts their ability to perform their disability-related task.
Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Whole Foods?
Generally speaking, only service dogs are allowed in Whole Foods. If you want to bring your ESA along, you will need to check with the store beforehand. However, based on their current policy, you will probably have to leave your ESA at home. If you’re worried about leaving them alone, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a trusted friend to watch them while you are out.
Tips for Bringing Your Service Dog to Whole Foods
There are several things that can make your trip to Whole Foods with your service dog more enjoyable.
- Always make sure that your service animal is leashed and stays close to you (unless doing so impacts their ability to support your disability).
- Ensure that they are well trained and won't run up to or jump up at other unsuspecting customers.
- Bring a clean-up kit in case they have an accident in the store.
- Make sure they have enough water or bring some treats along.
Can Whole Foods Ask for Proof of a Service Dog?
No, under the ADA, they may not ask for explicit proof that you have a service dog in the form of a certification or letter. They can, however, ask handlers two questions. Firstly, is the dog needed because of a specific disability, and secondly, can it perform a function or task related to it?
For example, a service dog might help their blind owner to navigate the outside world or retrieve items. A psychiatric service dog might remind their handler to take their antidepressants or alert someone with an anxiety disorder to the onset of a panic attack.
List of Dog-Friendly Stores
While Whole Foods Market isn’t the most dog-friendly store in town, there are many others that will welcome your pet dog or ESA in-store (as long as they are well-behaved). These include:
- Bass Pro Shops
- Barnes & Noble
- Old Navy
- Pottery Barn
- Urban Outfitters
Online Psychiatric Service Dog Training with Pettable
Psychiatric service dogs (PSD) are also recognized by the ADA. Unlike emotional support animals, PSDs are trained to perform specific disability-related tasks to support their handlers. PSD might wake up a handler while they’re having nightmares, remind them to take their meds, or provide tactile stimulation while an owner is having a panic attack.
While ESAs are incredibly beneficial and offer many therapeutic benefits and emotional support, they do not necessarily perform a specific task. Their presence rather offers huge support, comfort, loyalty, and enhanced well-being,
Explore our online, self-paced PSD certification and enjoy 15 online sessions with a trained behaviorist. This is a great way to offer you and your pup the tools and skills needed for them to perform tasks that mitigate the impact of your psychiatric disability. Take our quick assessment so we can determine your PSD needs.