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Can I Take My Emotional Support Dog to Stores?

Emotional support animals enjoy many of the same rights as service animals or therapy animals. But can you take an emotional support dog to stores?

The short answer is, not really.

Here’s why:


Emotional Support Dogs in Stores: Yes or No?

Why can’t I take my emotional support dog into stores? It’s a common misconception that registering your dog as an emotional support animal will allow them the same rights and privileges as a service dog. However, when it comes to retail stores, this simply isn’t the case.

Emotional support dogs offer mental health benefits but are not trained to provide any special services to its handler. That’s why they are not always welcome in a store environment, even with an official ESA letter. The same reason applies to restaurants and other businesses.

While some businesses may allow an ESA to enter, they are usually doing so as a courtesy and not because they are required to by law. Stores have the right to refuse your animal entry.

The same holds true for your workplace. Your employer may not allow an emotional support animal to accompany you to work. However, some employers may be willing to provide accommodations on a case-by-case basis.


Where Your Emotional Support Dog is Welcome

Even though you can’t take your emotional support animal into stores, there’s still value in registering them as a support animal. For example, you can feel confident bringing your animal into your home even when there’s a no-pet policy. Your ESA isn’t just a pet since they provide a therapeutic service to you.

The same goes for airlines. While pets may need to be boarded, your ESA can accompany you inside the cabin without paying an additional fee.

The first step in registering your emotional support animal is to see if you qualify. Start here with our instant screening process.

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