Does Costco Allow Pets? Everything You Need to Know

Costco welcomes only service animals that have undergone specific training to help individuals with disabilities. While we love our pets, including emotional support animals, they are not allowed inside Costco stores.

Understanding Costco’s Policy

Costco, like many other stores, has a policy regarding pets that aims to:

Abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The ADA protects the right of people with disabilities to have their service animals accompany them in public places, and Costco fully supports this right.

Keep a clean and safe shopping space: Bringing pets into a grocery store setting can raise concerns about hygiene and safety.

Ensure a pleasant experience for everyone: Some customers may have allergies, be afraid of animals, or simply prefer not to encounter pets while shopping.

Clearing Up the Confusion: What’s the Difference?

Does Costco Allow Pets
Image Credit: JackF/istockphoto

Okay, sometimes all these terms – service animal, pet, ESA – get jumbled up. Here’s the simple breakdown:

Service Animals: The A-Team. These dogs (and sometimes tiny horses!) are like superheroes for their people. They learn specific skills to make someone’s life with a disability easier and safer. Think:

  • Being a pair of eyes for a blind person.
  • Warning someone when their blood sugar is dangerously off.
  • Helping someone who has trouble moving around to pick up stuff.

Pets: Our Favorite Sidekicks. These are our snuggle buddies and the reason we sometimes laugh at nothing. But, they’re not trained to do the special jobs service animals do.

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Emotional Support Animals: Comfort Squad.  These animals are awesome for helping their people with emotional and mental health needs. They make tough days better, but the law doesn’t let them into places like Costco in the same way as service animals.

Why Costco Does It This Way: They want everyone to feel safe and have a good shopping experience. Service animals are game-changers for their people, so they get the green light.

Alternatives for Pet Owners

If you can’t leave your dog at home, consider these options:

  • Leave them in a safe, climate-controlled vehicle: Only do this for short errands if the weather is not extreme, and never leave your pet unattended for extended periods.
  • Use Costco’s online shopping: Take advantage of Costco’s extensive online store and delivery or curbside pickup options.
  • Hire a pet sitter or dog walker: These services provide care and companionship for your dog while you shop.

Tips for Shoppers with Service Animals

Costco welcomes service animals and understands their importance to their handlers. Here are a few reminders for a smooth shopping experience:

  • Keep your service animal on a leash at all times.
  • Maintain control of your service animal and ensure they don’t disrupt other shoppers.
  • Avoid distracting your service animal from their duties.
  • If someone asks if your animal is a service animal, you can politely answer “yes” and explain the task they perform.
  • Did You Know? Under the ADA, businesses cannot ask for documentation proving a service animal’s training.

Costco’s Official Policy

You can find Costco’s official statement on service animals directly on their website Costco’s pet policy.

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Costco is committed to providing a safe and welcoming shopping experience for all. While we adore our pets, their policy reflects a balance between inclusivity for people with disabilities and maintaining a comfortable environment for everyone. By respecting their rules, we help ensure Costco remains a pleasant place to shop.

The photo featured below the post headline is Credit: J. Michael Jones/istockphoto

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Frequently Asked Question

Can I bring a small dog in a carrier?
No, only service animals are allowed regardless of size or how they are carried.

Are there exceptions for any locations?
Costco’s policy is consistent across all warehouses.

What if my dog is in training to be a service animal?
Only fully trained and qualified service dogs are permitted.

Can I bring my cat into Costco?
No. Costco’s policy currently focuses on dogs and, in limited cases, miniature horses as service animals.

Are dogs allowed in Costco CA (or any other specific state)?
Costco’s pet policy is consistent across all warehouses, including those in California. Service animals are welcomed, pets are not.

Are emotional support dogs allowed in Costco?
No. Costco’s policy aligns with the ADA, which grants access rights specifically to service animals.

Can Costco ask if my dog is a service dog?
Costco is allowed to ask you two specific questions to confirm your dog’s status as a service animal:
Does your dog serve as a service animal because of a disability?
What specific task or function has your dog been trained to perform?

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What stores allow dogs?
While Costco has a clear policy, some smaller retail stores or pet-focused businesses might be dog-friendly. Always check a store’s individual policy before bringing your dog inside.

Are dogs allowed in Home Depot?
Yes, Home Depot generally allows leashed dogs in their stores. Like all businesses, they can ask disruptive animals to leave.

What if I need to bring my pet with me while running errands?
Research what stores may be pet-friendly in your area, or consider alternatives like leaving them in the car for short periods (only in safe weather) or using a pet sitter.

Are there exceptions for puppies in training to become service dogs?
No. A dog must be fully trained and actively performing disability-related tasks to qualify as a service animal under the ADA.

Is there a size limit for service dogs allowed in Costco?
No. Service animals can be of any size or breed, as long as they fulfill their trained duties and are under the handler’s control.