You want to go to Home Depot with your furry friend.
But you are unsure if it’s allowed to enter the store with your dog.
Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered!
In this article you’ll discover:
- Whether it’s okay to bring dogs as pets or only as service animals.
- What the difference is between Home Depot in Canada and elsewhere.
- What employees have to say about the Home Depot dog policy from experience.
- 7 must-read tips if you’re planning to bring your dog shopping with you in Home Depot.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Are dogs allowed in Home Depot?
Home Depot allows dogs only if the local management allows it. Though there is a no dog policy at Home Depot, it is not strictly enforced. They only require pet owners to have their dogs leashed and under control. If pets become aggressive, they will be asked to exit the store.
Are small dogs allowed in Home Depot?
Home Depot allows small dogs. Just put them in the shopping cart or on the leash. You can also put them in a carrier or shoulder bag for hands-free shopping.
Are dogs allowed in Home Depot during COVID?
It is the discretion of the local Home Depot to allow dogs during COVID. Some stores will turn you and your pet away. Others will allow your dog inside. It’s best to call Home Depot first for confirmation. Service dogs are always welcome at the store.
Are dogs allowed in Home Depot Canada?
Home Depot Canada no longer allows dogs. This was following an incident where a dog bit off the nose of a greeter. The company enforced a stricter no dog policy for its stores across Canada. The only exceptions are service animals.
Home Depot dog policy
The Home Depot is now the largest home improvement retailer. Not just in North America but worldwide!
Thanks to founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, who built Home Depot in 1978. They have more than 35,000 products in-store and one million products online.
It’s the go-to for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) fanatics and professionals alike.
Now they have 2,295 stores across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. One can easily find a store near their area.
When the founders were just beginning, their two warehouses were at about 60,000 square feet each.
But these days, a Home Depot store will have about 105,000 square feet of space. More than enough to house all of the products. And still, leave enough space for customers to walk around.
No wonder pet owners love to bring their dogs when shopping at Home Depot. They’ve got spacious aisles for leashed dogs to walk around.
But what does Home Depot have to say about bringing in pets?
Home Depot has a no dog policy in their stores. With the exception of service dogs.
Service dogs, according to AKC, are dogs trained to perform tasks to help disabled individuals. These dogs are not considered pets.
Several Home Depot employees in St. Louis Park, Minnesota actually use service dogs while working. The service dogs are Breena, Fritta, and Truffles.
Breena, a black Labrador, is a seeing-eye dog and seizure alert dog. Her owner, Jo, works at the appliance department.
Fritta, on the other hand, is a diabetic alert dog to cashier Tom. And Truffles is a guide dog to her blind owner, Amber.
From a former employee
A former employee had worked at the corporate offices for almost 20 years. She shared that they never strictly enforced a dog policy.
It was up to the store manager and whether employees were willing to clean up after a dog.
She also mentioned that the policy could change when there’s a new store manager.
In addition, the corporate offices didn’t want to be involved. They have more pressing matters to attend to.
The former employee also added that in the retail business, employee turnover is high. Thus, it is difficult to enforce any policy.
Home Depot stores have no dog signs on windows or doors.
But most stores are lenient about this policy. It’s actually the local management’s discretion.
If the manager of the day allows pets in, then you’re in luck. But if not, you and your dog will be turned away.
However, some pet owners have gone as far as claiming their pets as service dogs. Some would say their dog is a therapy or a companion dog.
There are cases where pet owners get a fake certificate and vests. They want to pass off their pets as therapy or service dogs.
Stores like Home Depot are powerless to act against these customers
That’s because customers know stores are afraid of litigation. And stores will do anything to keep it from happening.
Thus, Home Depot employees refrain from asking whether a dog is a service dog.
This leads to another problem. Some people think they can simply pet animals, service dogs, or not.
What they don’t realize is that this could be dangerous. When service dogs are working, they are off-limits to petting from strangers.
This applies to pets as well. A dog might bite a stranger if they try to pet the dog. As was the case in Canada when a dog bit a greeter.
Pets banned across Home Depot stores in Canada
Some dogs are well-mannered. But others…not so much.
And still, pet owners bring them to the store.
There are cases when unleashed dogs run around the store. Or they stand in the middle of the aisle, scaring some customers.
In addition, some dogs bark or jump.
These dogs are bothering other customers.
One employee shared on a forum about how one dog defecated in the store. The owner didn’t clean up after the dog.
Now, picture yourself in the shoes of the employee who had to clean up the mess… You wouldn’t call it your lucky day, would you? After all, it’s not what employees at Home Depot are paid for.
Another scenario is when a dog is aggressive. It’s the store’s right to ask the pet owner and dog to exit the store.
Dog aggression was the reason why Home Depot in Canada banned pets. A dog biting incident prompted the company to reinforce its policy.
But before this incident, pets were allowed at Home Depot.
In April 2011, Anne Riel was working as a greeter. She had been working at the store for a year. Then a woman came in with her Shih Tzu in the shopping cart.
Riel greeted the customer then bent down to pet the dog. It suddenly jumped up and bit the tip of her nose.
She was rushed to the hospital and received seven stitches to reattach her left nostril.
As a result of the incident, the dog had to be muzzled. The owner, on the other hand, was fined $610.
The company enforced the ban in the weeks following the incident. They cited that their priority is employee and customer safety.
The ban was enforced across Home Depot stores in Canada. Service animals were the only exception.
7 tips when bringing your dog to a Home Depot store
#1: Verify the policy with the store
Even with their no dog policy, Home Depot is actually a pet-friendly place. Most stores do not strictly enforce the policy.
They would only require that you put your dog on a leash. Your dog must be under control as well.
But there have been cases where pet owners and their dogs were turned away. These happened in stores that followed the policy.
There were also cases where pet owners were turned away at the store. That was even though they have called earlier and were told that it’s okay to bring their dogs.
To avoid such hassle, call the store beforehand. Ask them if they allow dogs in the store.
Do not go to the store without calling first. Especially if the Home Depot is far away from your house.
Also, get the name of the person you are talking to. They can vouch for you when you arrive at the store.
Or better yet, go to the store personally, without your dog. You can do this when you’re running an errand and the store is on your way.
If possible, talk to the manager, as it is their discretion to allow dogs.
#2: Use carrier, leash, and harness
If you have a Chihuahua or other small dog breeds, put them in a carrier.
Or use a sling or shoulder bag for hands-free shopping.
If your dog is bigger, a sturdy leash and harness are your best bet. There are harnesses where you connect the leash to the front. It discourages pulling.
Note: Bring some water and a foldable bowl if your shopping is going to take long.
#3: Bring poop bags and pee pads
A responsible pet owner cleans up after their pets.
That said, bring poop bags and pee pads for accidents in the store.
It will be your job to clean up after your pet. Do not call someone who works in the store to do it for you.
And keep an eye on your dog all the time. You might get distracted checking out the paints that you didn’t notice your dog peeing on tools.
Better yet, have your dog pee and poop before leaving the house.
#4: Train and practice first
When taking your dog to a Home Depot store, consider other people’s welfare.
I’m referring to people who work at the store, the other customers, and other pets.
Besides, shopping is a stressful experience with an ill-behaved dog.
As such, train your dog first.
They must respond to commands ‘quiet’ or ‘stop’ when they’re barking at other people.
Also, they must be able to follow ‘sit’ or ‘stay.’
These commands are useful when they are running around and jumping at people.
Remember to reward your dog when they’re displaying desirable behaviors. Avoid the use of punishments such as forcing your dog to sit.
Positive reinforcement will help your dog learn new things without stress
And for other people’s peace of mind, keep your dog on a leash.
In addition, your dog must already be socialized at this point. Or at least comfortable in high-trafficked areas.
Home Depot is a busy place. If a puppy is exposed to sights, sounds, and scents too soon, it could get traumatized.
That said, slowly acclimate your puppy by introducing them to these stimuli. Acclimation helps reduce stress and enhances your dog’s welfare.
You can do this by taking them to a dog park. This is a great opportunity to meet and play with dogs.
A dog park is also a controlled environment. It makes dog parks a good place to start socializing with your dog.
However, it’s also important to make sure your dog is comfortable. Take them away if other dogs are being aggressive.
If going to a dog park isn’t possible, introduce your dog to friends and family. Perhaps they have pets your dog can play with.
The Home Depot parking lot is also a good place to train your dog. This way, your dog is already familiar with the surroundings.
Caution: Check to see whether your dog is uncomfortable around crowds. If they are, then they’re not ready to be taken to a Home Depot store. Or other stores, for that matter. It’s best to leave them at home while you do the shopping.
#5: Be extremely courteous
Whether people love dogs or not, it’s important to always be courteous.
This is a must whenever you’re out shopping with your pooch. You have to think of the welfare of all people and pets you come across.
Before entering a Home Depot store, always ask if it’s okay to bring in a pet. If the store strictly enforces the no dog policy, respect it.
If your dog is allowed, show courtesy at all times. Follow the rules. And keep your dog close to you, on a leash.
As I’ve previously mentioned, clean up after your dog. Don’t give pet owners a bad name by leaving your dog’s mess for employees to clean.
Also, give consideration to people who don’t like dogs. They won’t be comfortable coming across dogs while shopping at Home Depot.
When going from aisle to aisle, give other shoppers a wide berth. Keep your dog out of their way.
#6: Take a walk before shopping
Dogs can get excited by all the sights, sounds, and scents around them.
They might cause trouble at a Home Depot store by chewing on products. Or by urinating on them.
That said, do not bring a dog with pent up energy to a Home Depot store. You’ll spend more time calming them down than shopping.
Exercise and human contact have been proven to have calming effects on canines. According to this study, even 25 minutes of exercise can reduce stress in dogs.
If your dog isn’t energetic, take them on a brisk 10-minute walk before shopping. This will help them calm down so you can shop with no problems.
The parking lot is the best place to walk.
You can also walk your dog before leaving home.
#7: Have your puppy vaccinated first
Some pet owners bring their dogs to a Home Depot to socialize with other pets.
Thus, it could be a breeding ground for diseases that your dog might pick up.
Caution: Make sure your dog has updated vaccinations before taking them shopping. If they’re too young and have no complete vaccinations, leave them at home for now.
Out of the mouth of employees
Employees are divided when it comes to Home Depot’s dog policy.
Some love to see and interact with friendly dogs that come into the store. There are employees who even keep treats in their pockets or at the cashier (that would be me if I worked there).
A Home Depot employee shared on a forum about her experiences. She said she had seen a well-mannered poodle as well as service dogs in training.
Another employee at a Home Depot in Lake Forest, California, shared that their store welcomes pets. They haven’t had any problems because the customers usually clean up after their pets.
He also noticed how dogs are usually leashed or riding a cart. Though sometimes he’d seen well-mannered dogs without a leash.
He said that seeing the dogs gave him a welcome distraction at work.
Just take a look at this collection of dogs at a Home Depot:
Other employees don’t care about the dog policy. As long as dogs are behaved, friendly, and leashed.
One employee recalled seeing various breeds come through the door. From Chihuahuas to English Mastiffs.
Himself owning dogs, he talks about dogs to build rapport with customers.
There’s another employee attesting how lenient the store is regarding the dog policy. She says they didn’t want to lose customers who go to the store with pets.
So far they have not met any problems regarding allowing pets.
However, other employees are aversive toward dogs. They complained mostly about dogs making a mess and the owners not cleaning up after them.
One employee remembered how some dog peed on tools, rendering those tools damaged.
Out of the mouth of pet owners
There are a lot of pet-friendly Home Depot stores.
In fact, the store is known as a place to socialize pets.
And pet owners take the advantage of bringing their pets when shopping.
On a forum, a pet owner admitted to taking her dog just to socialize.
However, the store turned them away at the door. They were told no dogs are allowed in the store.
The same thing happened to another pet owner. She used to bring her dog and employees would pet the dog.
But the last time she brought her Puggle, they were turned away.
Another pet owner shared her own experience.
The store manager asked her why she wasn’t in the store with her dog
She pointed at the no dog sign on the door. The manager said it was the policy, but they allow leashed dogs in the store.
Other pet owners also shared their own experiences. Many observed how employees have treats in their pockets, ready for an encounter with a dog.
These dogs have brightened many employees’ day at work.
Not only that. Dogs also served as a way for strangers to interact. Some customers struck up a conversation with the owner about the dog.
Here’s a pet owner bringing his Great Dane named Cash 2.0 to a Home Depot:
However, some pet owners were against bringing pets to the store.
One pet owner, who had worked at Home Depot, shared that she’d rather leave her dogs at home. The pets, she said, had no business at the store.