Skip to Content

Are Dogs Allowed In Goodwill Stores? (Updated 2023 Rules)

Are Dogs Allowed In Goodwill Stores

You found a way to make shopping more fun…

And it’s taking Fido to join the market hunt.

For your next stop, you have Goodwill.

But are dogs even allowed there?

Continue reading to learn: 

  • 1 way to bring dogs in Goodwill stores.
  • 7 reasons why Fidos aren’t allowed in Goodwill stores.
  • 3 frequently asked questions about Goodwill dog policies.
  • And a lot more…

Are dogs allowed in Goodwill stores?

Dogs aren’t allowed in Goodwill stores. However, an exception applies to service dogs. It’s due to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law states that public spaces must accept service dogs. Moreover, failure to comply counts as a crime. In other countries, similar rules can also exist.

Goodwill dog policy explained

If you visit the official site of Goodwill Org… 

You won’t find any info about their policy on dogs. 

But it’s generally known that they won’t accept Fidos in their stores. 

So even if you bring your pooch to their door…

They might ask you to leave. Though, some stores could be permissive to this. 

Let’s say there’s a wide space inside the building. 

This way, Fidos can walk around freely. Without the risk of damaging any items. 

Now that’s a valid reason to let your pooch in the store.

Though, the final call still depends on the managers. 

In that case, you can try your luck by asking your local Goodwill stores. 

Aside from this…

Remember what I mentioned in the beginning?

There’s 1 rule that would allow your pooch in. 

And that’s if they’re a service dog. 

According to the law, stores must accept service dogs 

So if your pooch is a trained Fido… 

You can tell the Goodwill store about your permit. 

“But what if they still refuse?” 

They can’t. Otherwise, it would count as an offense. 

Specifically, a discrimination crime. And that falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

So if a store refuses your pooch, you can sue them.

“Will they ask for medical records?” 

Based on the law, they shouldn’t do that. 

Stores aren’t required to ask for any special IDs as well. 

And you also don’t have to disclose your or someone’s disability. 

In ADA, it’s your right to keep your medical status private. 

So if Goodwill store keeps asking for those details…

It’s considered a violation of disability rights.

“Are they going to charge me?” 

No, any store can’t charge you or your pooch. 

The entry of service dogs should always be waived.

If they ask for any amount, that counts as a crime.

That’s what the law says. 

However, you must still follow some rules. 

For example…

Goodwill stores can ask you to leave if your dog’s: 

  • Too hyper.
  • Not housebroken. 
  • Acting aggressively.

But as long as your pooch is properly trained…

You wouldn’t have to worry about these.

7 reasons why dogs aren’t allowed in Goodwill stores

Now, all these rules might make you think:

“Why are they so strict about this?” 

Well, there are a few valid reasons why. And you’ll find out below:

#1: Biting incidents 

Though dogs are typically friendly

Fidos might still bite someone. 

But of course, most dogs won’t do it for no reason.

However, in this case…

The reason wouldn’t matter to the store. As it won’t undo the damage to their reputation. 

In fact, there was even a dog-biting incident in Lowe

As a result, the family sued them for letting the Akita pooch in.

Now, this adds to the report that says: 

18.7% of people get bitten by dogs every year. And 54.7% of all victims never met the pooch before.

All in all…

This shows why many stores like Goodwills are strict about dogs.

Read next: Are Dogs Allowed In Walmart? (Newest Walmart Dog Policy)

#2: Territorial markings

Dogs Aren't Allowed In Goodwill Stores Due To Territorial Markings

If Fido isn’t spayed or neutered… 

They might cover the entire store with their pee. 

That’s due to territorial marking. And it’s a common habit among in-tact dogs. 

This could damage the goods in many stores, like Goodwill. 

Especially when they sell clothes. 

Imagine shopping for a new shirt. 

And when you grabbed one from the racks…

It reeks of dog urine. 

Ugh, the smell is so terrible. 

Now, you wouldn’t want your pooch to do that to other clients, would you? 

That’s why some stores only let fixed Fidos in. While others won’t totally allow any dogs to avoid this.

#3: Avoiding allergies

Some stores are mindful of people’s allergies. 

And based on a study

Over 15% of people tend to be allergic to dogs.

Even though some of them are only minor…

Most stores wouldn’t want to risk their reputation. 

Just 1 complaint from a customer might put an end to their business, after all.

Not to mention, if your pooch is a heavy shedder…

They might get their hair all over the clothes in Goodwill. 

So what if someone with allergies wears that? 

Oh, the horrors it might cause.

#4: Peace disruption

If your pup’s the hyperactive type… 

Goodwill stores might not accept you at all. 

To be specific, I’m talking about dogs who:

  • Bark a lot.
  • Run too much. 
  • Fights another dog.
  • Scares other people.

As a business place… 

Stores would see that as a disruption of peace. 

And even if Fido’s a service pooch, Goodwill might still ask you to leave. 

But only when you can’t control your dog at all. 

A good example would be: 

When dogs encounter another Fido at the store. 

Either they might become the best of friends… 

Or the two canines will end up fighting. 

Just watch this clip to see what I mean: 

These poor Fidos ended up hurting each other at Home Depot.

#5: To protect fragile goods

If Goodwill sells other items aside from clothes…

Then they might be stricter than any other store.

After all, Fido might break them by accident.

Especially if they’re selling items like appliances. Or glasswares. 

Though most thrift stores only have clothes…

Don’t forget that Goodwill is open to selling anything that’s donated to them. 

So to secure the condition of their goods… 

They might not allow you and your dog in.

Reading tip: Are Dogs Allowed In Menards? & Is The Policy Dog Friendly?

#6: Disease prevention

Even though your dog’s fully vaccinated… 

Goodwill stores might still not accept them. 

Why, you asked? 

After all, they can still carry some diseases like:

  • Mange.
  • Ringworms.
  • Skin diseases.
  • Salmonellosis.
  • Canine influenza.

Though some of these illnesses aren’t easily passed to others…

Not all stores are willing to understand that, or even take the risk.

#7: Fear and bad reputation (Pitbulls) 

Now, I did say earlier on that stores often have a valid reason to ban dogs. 

But this one isn’t fair at all. 

Though, you can still understand their concerns. 

After all, reports say: 

25.07% of Pitties tend to bite humans more than any other breed. 

And not only are they stronger than people

Their bites have a 65.6% fatality rate.

That’s why Goodwill and other stores might not accept Pit Bulls. 

In fact, there are 15 states in the US that banned this breed.

So if you’re visiting Goodwill in one of those areas… 

Expect them to turn your pooch away. 

And sadly, this is all due to their bad reputation. 

But as fur parents…

You’d know that Pit Bulls have a reason to snap.

And most of all, they’re not as bad as the media makes them out to be.