Can I take my pet to Target hypermarket?

People are strongly attached to their pets, however, as they are to their owners. Dogs sometimes become reliable companions of their holders, who accompany them not only on walks but also on shopping. Unfortunalely, not all stores are permitted to let animals in.

Pets at Target: Is this possible?

The short answer is yes. But subject to certain conditions, as the company considers the interests and health of all customers. Visitors are strictly forbidden from entering the store with any animals. But there are still exceptions for certain groups of customers. They set special conditions out in the ADA or in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which regulates civil rights. According to this statutory instrument, pets that help disabled owners on domestic issues and accompany their owners are allowed to enter a trading floor.

Nevertheless, assistance pets should have special certificates confirming a belonging to this category. They indicate that the animal has undergone special training; it is socialized and ready to serve and perform its duties.

Is Target pet friendly? Details

Answer: no. But readers should be warned right away that this is not because employees can't stand dogs or just don't like animals. Everything is simpler: in the Target salesrooms, there are products that are not packaged and are in an open space. For example, a grocery department or a section with vegetables and fruits. In view of this, the goods are not protected from such factors as:

  • pet epithelium (it can cause severe allergies in humans);
  • potential diseases and pathogenic microorganisms transmitted through animals (normally, each animal must undergo sanitary control, which is difficult with large streams of visitors).

In addition, some animals may show aggression towards customers, which is quite difficult for outsiders to control. The USFDA (or Food and Drug Administration), which is in charge of the safety and certification of goods for various purposes, and the health of citizens, regulates all established norms.

Of course, in specific stores, visitors with animals can make concessions, but the conditions for non-admission of dogs to trading halls are the same for all the trading company’s stores.

How do exceptions to the rule work?

If the Target visitor's pet is an assistance animal, then it will be allowed into a store. The Title III of the ADA regulates this permission for public accommodations/commercial facilities. According to this statutory instrument, employees of different enterprises are bound to let assistance dogs inside, as they accompany disabled visitors. In such cases, even an allergy of customers or a fear of dogs are don’t present reasons not to admit buyers with pets.

The same applies to open places with food or areas where food is prepared. Even if such restrictions fall under local state laws, federal laws are higher. Only service animals must undergo preliminary training, know certain commands, and have the certificates that confirm that they help people.

Among the types of support that the dog provides to the owner:

  • mental (not psychological);
  • intellectual;
  • sensory;
  • psychomotor.

Such pets are necessary for the life and health of a disabled individual. In unforeseen situations, dogs can signal to other people the owner needs help. That's why Target is accessible for such animals.

The only restriction which may affect a pet admission to the trading floor is aggression, barking and inability to control an animal on the owner’s part, since in such situations, pets pose an actual threat to other people.

Types of assistance pets

Is Target pet friendly? Many people who are interested in this factor also want to know to which dogs there are no questions for when they are entering a trading floor with their owners.

Pets which help handicapped people can be divided into several categories:

  • Hearing pets (accompany deaf owners).
  • Guide animals (help blind people to navigate surroundings).
  • Dogs that help patients with diabetes (they can determine critical indicators of hypoglycemic index and can warn the holder against the risk).
  • Allergy detection pets (dogs have a highly developed nose, and they can warn a person about approaching products that cause anaphylactic shock: peanuts/egg powder/gluten).
  • PTSD dogs (help to cope with severe episodes of clinical depression, panic attacks and psychological traumas).
  • ASD animals (help people with Asperger's syndrome and other patients with autism spectrum diseases).
  • Pets for people with mobility issues (dogs allow you to cope with everyday tasks in daily life and can manipulate surrounding objects).
  • Animals that help people with seizure disorder (such animals can turn a patient in a correct position so that a holder doesn’t suffocate when an attack occurs).

In most cases, assistance animals are dogs, but mini horses also can enter public places in the US. Other pets can be service animals, but local legislation regulates their admission to public facilities.

Dogs that help people cope with psychological problems (they are also called therapy animals), are not belong to the assistance pets’ group. Therefore, an entrance to Target is closed to them, whether pets are in special carriers.

How does a staff know a pet is an assistance animal?

All personnel of public venues, according to the ADA, do not have a permission to ask for the pet identity documents or to show training commands. A dog may wear a U-shaped harness or a specialized vest, but it’s unnecessary. However, such accessories can immediately let others know a pet assists its owner. A staff has no permission to wonder what specific disease the visitor has.

But the store's workers can find out about the dogs belonging to the service animals’ group and ask what tasks it can perform. According to the Title II (public entities and transportation), the Title III of the ADA, exceptions can be made for service dogs in places such as:

  • catering establishments;
  • stores;
  • places for public recreation.

Assistance animals must move independently to perform their ability to help. Otherwise, personnel may think that a pet doesn’t belong to the assistance animals group.

Rules for pets during the learning process

Animals which haven’t completed the training program or are getting a certificate may be in public spaces. But there are some restrictions at the local level. Pets must be vaccinated and have a leash. The owner is fully in charge of them.

What should I do if I can't leave my dog at home?

In such cases, it’s recommended leaving a pet from the exterior of the Target store, tied to the firm fencing. An animal should stay in comfortable conditions. It should be protected from an adverse weather environment.

Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to leave the dog in the car. Shopping shouldn’t be prolonged, since anything can happen to the pet during the long absence of its owner.


Customers can’t take pets with them to shopping at Target, even in special carriers. This restriction is because of sanitary standards that do not allow pets to be next to food and cooking areas. But the only exception is assistance animals, that is regulated by the ADA of 1990.

Yet, they must have the certificates confirming the knowledge of the commands and their passing of training. Before visiting the store, it’s recommended to familiarize yourself with the pets that fall into this category.

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