Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

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If you’re one of the 250 million Americans who lives within 10 miles of a Target store, you might be wondering if your dog can accompany you on your next shopping voyage. For a store with a doggy mascot, you might expect Target to be a dog-friendly chain. Unfortunately, you would be mistaken. 

As of 2022, Target does not allow dogs or other pets in their stores. The only exception to this rule is for service animals. Service dogs are allowed in Target.

Why aren’t dogs allowed in Target?

If this news comes as hard to you as it does to us, you probably want to know why Target and other similar retailers would ban pooches. 

The main reason stores ban animals is due to food contamination. Your pet may be carrying all kinds of germs—germs that you and other shoppers probably don’t want in the food you eat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates what kinds of stores pets are allowed in. Any business that prepares, sells, or serves food may not allow pets other than service animals. Therefore, restaurants and grocery store chains like Target are a hard no go.

What about my service animal?

If you have a service dog, do not fret! The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service dog as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.” If this applies to your pup, you’re more than allowed to bring them into Target with you.

Depending on how strict each store is, there is a chance that employees may stop and interrogate you about your dog. Employees are allowed two ask two things: 1) whether your animal is a service animal, and 2) what tasks related to your disability does your service animal perform. Employees are not allowed to ask for documentation, ask your dog to demonstrate tasks, or to further question you about your disability. 

Your service animal does not have to wear a vest, ID, or any other identifying information. Your dog does not have to be registered to qualify as a service animal.

However, if your pet is not a service animal, please do not try to bend the rules! Many Americans rely on service animals to go about their daily lives. To pass off a pet as a service animal can create distrust toward people who actually need them and harm the lives of disabled people.

So where should I take my dog?

If you’re still bummed about Target’s pet ban and want to find a pet-friendly place to take your pooch, DogFriendly can help. You might search our list of dog-friendly restaurants where you and your pet can enjoy some fine dining outdoors, or search our list of other dog-friendly stores. And if that doesn’t cut it, you can search through our thousands of other listings, from dog parks, to campgrounds, to beaches, to just about anywhere you can think of—we’ve got you covered.

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at

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