Dogs are often considered part of the family and many pet owners enjoy taking their paw friends on outings, whether it is a walk in the park or a trip to the local store. However, not all places are dog-friendly, and many pet owners may wonder whether they can bring their dogs to certain popular shopping destinations or not.
An example of a popular shopping destination for many families is Costco- a membership warehouse club that offers a wide range of products. Some of these products are specifically designed for dogs and cats, which eases many pet owners in their search for pet supplies. However, since the product range of Costco is also aimed at our beloved paw friends, does it mean that we can bring them with us to their premises?
In this article, we will let you know what policy Costco runs in regard to the presence of dogs in their warehouse and whether they are allowed there or not.
Costco's Pet Policy
According to the store’s pet policy dogs are not allowed on their premises. Although this will definitely sound disappointing to many dog owners, the warehouse has its reasons for that decision. Costco is a busy shopping environment, with many people and products close to each other. Allowing pets in the store could create safety concerns, as well as hygiene issues.
Additionally, some customers may have allergies or phobias related to dogs, and allowing pets in the store could create discomfort or health problems for these individuals. By restricting pets on their premises, Costco is trying to ensure that all customers will feel comfortable and safe while shopping.
As responsible pet owners we should keep in mind that regardless of how well-behaved our beloved paw family members are, they could be tempted to sniff or lick products that could harm them. Also, they could get into areas that are with restricted access for safety reasons, such as the loading dock or storage rooms. We would say, that pet owners can still benefit from Costco's prices and products without bringing their pets into the store.
Do All Costco Stores Run the Same Policy?
We would like to note that some deviations from the official policy may still be present. The management of every local store is likely to run its local policy in regard to pets and certain Costco locations may allow pets on their premises. Of course, this is likely to happen under certain conditions, i.e. the dog must be well-behaved, on a leash, and appear healthy and taken care of. We would recommend that you contact the management of your local Costco store and check whether your pet will be welcomed in the store or not. Make sure to ask prior to your visit.
What Alternatives Do Pet Owners Have?
For pet owners who want to shop at Costco but don't want to leave their beloved paw friends at home, there are still some options. Costco has an online store where customers can purchase many of the same products available in the physical stores. This allows pet owners to shop from the comfort of their own homes, having their pets by their side.
Additionally, Costco offers a variety of pet products, including food, toys, accessories, and medication, which can be purchased online or through the company's pharmacy services. Costco’s pharmacy helps pet owners save on their dogs’ and cats’ prescriptions. The store offers a Member Prescription Program that provides discounts on some common pet prescriptions, which are not covered by many insurance plans. Pet owners can consult a pharmacist or veterinarian to get advice on the best products for their dogs' needs and have them filled or shipped directly to their homes.
Pet owners who are considering a visit to Costco but don't want to leave their dogs alone at home may be able to find dog-friendly stores or outdoor spaces nearby where their dogs will be allowed to accompany them during shopping. Some pet stores, home improvement stores, and malls allow dogs on leashes, as long as they are well-behaved and do not cause disturbance and damage.
Are There Animals Who Are Allowed in Costco?
Yes, there are. Service animals are allowed on the territory of the retail store.
According to Costco's official website, the company's policy on pets states the following: “In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Costco has adopted a service animal policy. Be assured that Costco members accompanied by service animals have immediate access to our warehouses”.
This means that while Costco does not allow pets in its stores, it does permit service animals that are trained to assist individuals with disabilities.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service animals are dogs who have been individually trained to help a person with a disability by performing tasks directly related to their disability. Species, other than dogs, are not recognized as service animals. Miniature horses are an exemption from the rule as they are recognized in some U.S. states.
How Can Costco’s Employees Determine Whether a Dog is a Service Animal or Not?
The store’s employees are allowed to ask you two questions to verify the dog’s legitimacy as a service animal:
1. Is this a dog due to a disability;
2. What tasks he/she has been trained to perform?
You must be able to explain what tasks your service dog does for you to help you mitigate the symptoms of your disability. You should keep in mind that too vague answers like “He/she helps me be calmer and makes me feel safer” won’t be accepted, even if they are truthful. Refusing to answer these questions can also be a valid reason for the employees to deny your service dog access to the premise.
The clearer and more detailed you can describe how your service animal helps you (without revealing of course, what your disability is), the better. For example, if you have a Psychiatric Service Dog, you can say that he/she jumps on your lap or nose-nudge, paws at you, or licks you on the face or the arm. He/she may also alert you to oncoming episodes, bring you medication...etc.
Do You Need to Have a Certificate for Your Service Dog?
Service dogs in the US are not legally required to be certified, which is why documentation as proof of training may not be required. However, it will be helpful while in public to be able to prove that your service dog has actually completed a specialized program/course and is legitimate.
Can You Put Your Service Dog in a Bag or in a Shopping Cart While Shopping at Costco?
Since the main purpose of service animals is to be a sort of medical equipment for their owners, by putting your dog in a bag or shopping cart, you will prevent him/her from performing his/her tasks. Also, due to health reasons, dogs in shopping carts are not allowed. However, in certain cases, service animals may be seen being carried by their owners. For example, if a service animal is of a small breed, and performs alert tasks or tactile stimulation, he/she may need to remain close to his/her owner’s body.
Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Costco?
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) have the status of pets while in public. These animals, which can be representatives of all types of domesticated species and are not limited to dogs, do not go through specialized training. They do not perform specific tasks directly related to a disability, hence their access to public facilities is limited. If a premise runs a “no-pets” policy, then it will apply to your ESA as well. ESAs in the US are protected under the Fair Housing Act though, which requires landlords to grant them housing access rights.
While many pet owners would love to bring their beloved friends with them to Costco, the company's policy on pets is clear: only service animals are allowed on its premises. While this may be disappointing for some, it's important to remember that Costco's policy is in compliance with the ADA regulations and is designed to ensure the safety and comfort of the store’s customers. For pet owners who still want to shop at Costco, the online store and pharmacy services offer a convenient alternative.
For those who do need to bring their service animals into the store, Costco clearly states, that these will be welcomed and accommodation will be provided. While pet dogs may not be allowed at Costco, pet owners can still find plenty of ways to shop for their paw friends and benefit from the store’s products.