When you’re planning on bringing your dog along on your shopping trips, it can be a pain trying to figure out which stores actually allow dogs inside and which ones don’t. Of course, most stores allow support animals like guide dogs, but what about if you just want your dog to accompany you while you pick up the necessities?

One store that does allow dogs inside is PetSmart, but this comes with a few caveats. In this post, we’ll explain PetSmart’s in-store pet policy and share some tips on shopping at PetSmart with your dog.

PetSmart’s In-Store Pet Policy

PetSmart’s in-store pet policy states that it does allow certain types of pets to come into the store as long as they’re leashed or safely confined and have been vaccinated as appropriate. The list of permitted pets is as follows:

  • Domestic dogs
  • Domestic cats
  • Small mammals and reptiles that Petsmart sells in-store, including mice, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, gerbils, bearded dragons, and certain types of geckos, snakes, frogs, and birds
  • Non-venomous reptiles
  • Pot-bellied pigs
  • Sugar-gliders
  • Ferrets
  • Rabbits

Is It True That Pitbulls Aren’t Allowed in PetSmart?

In the past, there has been controversy and upset surrounding Pitbulls and Petsmart due to reports of Pitbulls and their parents being turned away from stores. Fortunately, there is nothing in the Petsmart in-store pet policy to indicate that Pitbulls are not allowed in stores.

Sadly, though, Petsmart’s Doggie Day Camp policy is a little different. The policy states that for safety reasons, “bully breeds”, including American Pitbull Terriers, Miniature Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, or mixed breeds that share characteristics with the said breeds, are not allowed to participate in the day camps.

Understandably, this policy has no doubt left many Pitbull parents upset and disappointed. If you’re worried about going to PetSmart with your pooch or are unsure whether they will be allowed in-store or at a day camp, contact your local PetSmart to ask for advice in advance.

PetSmart (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0 Generic)

Tips for Shopping at Petsmart With Your Dog

When taking your dog to PetSmart, it’s a good idea to do a little preparation in advance to make sure the trip goes as smoothly as possible. One of the most important things is to make sure your dog eats before they enter the store. Being surrounded by such tempting treats, there’s no guarantee that even the most well-behaved dog won’t be able to resist a nibble!

Walking them first is also a good call to burn off some of their energy (and give them a chance to pee) before taking them in-store, as is keeping them on a short leash. This helps you to catch them before they can root around in the toy and treat bins and gives you an extra layer of control over the situation.

If it’s going to be your first time taking your dog to PetSmart, you might want to consider going at a non-busy time. This way, there’ll be much more space to wander around and let your dog get used to the new environment in a quieter, more stress-free manner.


To recap, leashed and vaccinated dogs are welcome in PetSmart stores as per their in-store pet policy! Things are a little less cut-and-dry when it comes to the doggy day camps, though, as some breeds aren’t allowed to participate. If you’re ever in doubt as to whether your dog may be allowed in-store or at a day camp, it’s always a good idea to call ahead of time and ask. You can also refer to the full in-store and day camp policies on PetSmart’s website.

Featured Image Credit: PetSmartVaughan, Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0 Universal