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Can I Take My Dog Into Home Depot? A Quick Guide

2022-02-10

Sometimes, it's necessary to bring your dog along while shopping. It can be especially true if you have an emotional support animal and need your canine with you to manage issues such as social anxiety. But while many large chains are gradually becoming more pet-friendly, it's crucial to know their pet policy before bringing Fido along for the ride. 

Unfortunately, many stores don't have clear rules regarding pets—and if they do, they can be tricky to find. For Home Depot, we've taken the time to research and present their pet policy. Continue reading below to learn about taking your dog to Home Depot.

What Is Home Depot’s Pet Policy? 

Home Depot's corporate policy doesn't have much information regarding pets in their stores. That said, most locations do allow dogs inside. The official policy states that only service dogs can accompany their owners as they shop. 

That means emotional support animals and traditional dogs cannot enter any Home Depot locations. However, many stores don't enforce this policy, so dogs have been able to enter the store with their owners. 

The company is also inclusive of employees with disabilities and their service dogs, as seen at the St. Louis Park location in Minnesota. Here, three service dogs work alongside their handlers. 

The Difference Between Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals

There's often a lot of confusion about the difference between service dogs and emotional support animals. Here's what you need to know:

  • Service Dogs. Service dogs have specialized training to assist their owners with a specific disability. A typical example is a guide dog that helps its visually-impaired owner navigate safely. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) categorizes them as working dogs and protects their rights to access public facilities, airplanes, etc. 
  • Emotional Support Animals. Emotional support animals may have a similar role to service dogs, but they don't have specialized training or share the same rights. In short, emotional support animals provide assistance and relief to people who struggle with mental health disorders. They might help someone with social anxiety function in a social setting. While they do have some protection under the Fair Housing Act, businesses do not by law have to allow them to enter. 

For Home Depot, emotional support animals technically can't enter their stores, unlike registered service dogs. 

What Does This Mean for Your Dog?

Given that the official corporate policy only allows service dogs to enter Home Depot stores, does that mean you have to leave your pooch at home? Well, technically, that's what Home Depot requests, but you have some wiggle room. 

The reality is most locations are pretty lax when it comes to pets. There are even Facebook groups like the Dogs of Home Depot, attesting to the company's pet-friendly atmosphere. 

The best thing you can do if you want to bring your pup along is to call and ask the manager. If your dog is an emotional support animal, you could explain that their presence helps with your mental health. 

A reasonable manager will likely give you the green light, and your furry companion can do some exciting home improvement shopping. 

Are There Any Exceptions To Home Depot’s Rules?

The straightforward “service dogs only” on the corporate policy can be misleading, especially considering that Home Depot declares they are a canine-friendly store. There have been some cases where store managers turned dogs away from a location, but most will claim they are pet-friendly and let your pup inside. 

That is if:

  • Your dog is well-behaved.
  • Your dog is on a leash.
  • There's no potential danger from having your dog in the store.

However, it's still up to the manager at the end of the day. It's best to call ahead and get permission from the manager. Showing up without permission may result in a big waste of time, although your pup will probably still enjoy the car ride there and back.

Will Their Policy Changes in the Future?

It's safe to say that Home Depot will continue to allow service animals protected by the ADA into their stores without restrictions. News for emotional support animals to fall into policy still hasn't surfaced, but more research into the benefits of these pets could turn the tides. 

While some Home Depot locations are relaxed about not enforcing the “service dog only” policy, it's ultimately up to individual managers.

That said, there were some instances of dangerous dogs inside Home Depot stores that might convince managers to be more strict about letting dogs inside. For example, a Rottweiler in 2018 bit a girl, resulting in a severe eye injury and lawsuit. In 2019, a dog had bitten a man, and the owner ran off. These events surely don't help the good dogs that just want to do some shopping with their owners. 

However, reputable managers will still likely let your pup inside if you call ahead of time and show that they are well-behaved and won't cause harm to other shoppers. 

Other Dog-Friendly Stores

Although Home Depot is relatively dog-friendly, various other stores have more nonchalant policies regarding pets. 

Here are some other dog-friendly stores in the US:

  • Lowes. Lowes has a similar dog policy to Home Depot, but many dog owners state that they've had more success convincing managers to allow their furry companions.
  • Tractor Supply Co. While it may not be the largest chain of hardware stores, they welcome well-behaved dogs to enter their stores. 
  • Harbor Freight Tools. Another hardware store that loves canines, they even have a small dog section where you can pick up some treats or a new bed for your pup. 

Conclusion

If you're thinking of going with your dog to Home Depot, don't let their elusive pet policy turn you away. Instead, contact the store manager before bringing your dog with you.

People with emotional support animals also can improve their chances of entry with a dog by signing up for ESA registration and receiving a therapy letter. It's quick, easy, and significantly improves the chances that store owners will recognize your pup is more than a pet—it's a vital companion!

Register today with ESA Registration of America.