Does Lowes Allow Dogs? Lowes Pet Policy is Confusing
As a dog owner, you may be used to leaving your dogs tethered up outside when going shopping. However, some stores are dog friendly and Lowes is widely believed to be one of these stores. But the reality is quite complicated.
The official Lowes policy states: “From 2012 the Lowes pet policy changed. Dogs are allowed in Lowes providing they are genuine service dogs only, leashed, kept under control, and cleaned up afterward.”
However, many Lowes stores have a relaxed attitude towards customers who bring their dogs into stores and very rarely ask for documentation that your dog is, in fact, a service dog. This has led to many instances where people have seen dogs wandering the aisles of Lowes who are clearly not service dogs.
How is Lowes’s pet policy enforced?
The short answer is that it is often not, and the confusion only intensifies as the policy can be applied differently from store to store.
Some stores only ask dogs to leave if they are behaving badly. Meanwhile, some employees have reported that their managers have told them not to ask if customers who come into the store with dogs have identification to prove their dogs are service dogs as it can be too much hassle.
And in some cases, Lowes employees even carry doggie treats around anticipating canine customers!
Is Lowes pet-friendly?
Not all Lowes stores are so pet-friendly as to have their employees handing out doggie treats, however. Truthfully, it is hard to know what Lowes stores are more dog-friendly than others.
A good tip is to call the manager of your local Lowes store to find out about their dog policy. This is not only considerate towards the employees and other shoppers, but it allows you to shop at Lowes confidently with your dog in tow.
Dog attacks in Lowes
Lowes’s lax attitude towards dogs in their stores does raise further questions about liability and insurance. What if an accident were to happen?
Well, an accident did happen in 2014, at a branch of Lowes in Murrieta, Canada. A toddler was attacked by an Akita, which resulted in the young boy having to have 50 stitches. The dog owner was subsequently arrested and Lowes was sued.
After such a serious incident, this only makes Lowes’s lack of enforcement of their service-dogs only policy more puzzling.
One theory is that market research has shown that customer loyalty and satisfaction offsets the minimal risk posed of not enforcing the policy – not to mention it saves on high insurance costs.
Another theory is that Lowes is very veteran-friendly. It offers veteran discounts, designated parking spaces, and is known for hiring veterans. Allowing leashed dogs into the store is part of their veteran-friendly ethos.
Charlotte the Lowes Service Dog:
In 2016 a Texan store made headlines after employing a military veteran who had a service dog named Charlotte, a Golden Retriever.
He had been supported by Charlotte for 10 years and in his interview asked if he would be prohibited from working at Lowes due to Charlotte assisting him with his day-to-day activities.
This was not a problem at all, and he was even told in his interview that Lowes has service dogs “throughout [their stores].” Charlotte is now very popular among customers and even gets to wear her own Lowes brand vest as an ‘official’ employee.
Some customers are happy with Lowes Dog Policy
Unsurprisingly, many pet owners are more than happy with Lowes’s dog-friendly policy. Customer reviews from Lowes’s website mention how convenient it is to be able to bring their dogs with them to the stores.
For one, it certainly avoids the dangerous practice of leaving your dog in your car, especially on a hot day.
But some customers are not happy
However, some customers are unsurprisingly not happy with Lowes’s dog policy. Some customers have concerns about sanitation, and while Lowes encourages you to pick up after your dog, we all know that some dog-owners do not adhere to this practice. Some customers have complained that this policy makes Lowes an unclean store.
There is also an obvious safety concern, especially when people are bringing their small children into the store, and some people may not be comfortable around dogs or even have a phobia of them.
Why do dog-owners like to bring their dogs to Lowes?
Socialization is a big factor and dog-friendly stores like Lowes allow dogs to socialize with people and other dogs. Studies have shown that socialization has a long-lasting effect on a dog’s development, especially if dogs are taken into public places from a young age. A lack of socialization can lead to aggression, anxiety, and problems separating from their owners.
However, it is important when taking puppies with you into Lowes that they are up-to-date with all their vaccinations as they can very easily catch diseases from other dogs.
Some dog-owners like to take their dogs to Lowes because of the wide, concrete aisles that make it easy for dogs to roam around, while hopefully not interfering with other customers.
Should I bring my dog to Lowes?
As Lowes has such a relaxed policy that is rarely enforced, it does make it difficult to decide if you should take your dog in or not. For peace of mind and best practice, it is advisable to call ahead to your local Lowes store and find out what their policy is.
Other ways to ensure a fun, safe, and easy trip to Lowes with your dog include acclimating your dog to all the various sights and sounds.
As Lowes is a very busy store full of shoppers, energetic children, employees, other pets, and even forklifts, it can be an overwhelming and over-stimulating place for dogs. Some people may approach you and ask to pet your dog, and there will be announcements made over the loudspeaker that could startle them.
A good way to desensitize your dog and help them acclimatize to busy environments is to play a sound recording below the fear threshold. Then gradually increase the volume as your dog gets used to it. The more they are exposed to the sound, they will soon no longer react to it. Studies have shown that this reduces the frequency and severity of distress to dogs in new situations or when separated from their owners.
Another tip is to be mindful of your environment and remove your dog from situations that can cause distress or that may lead to problems. For example, if your dog is confronted aggressively by another dog (or your dog starts behaving aggressively towards another dog) lead your dog away before it escalates. If a stranger approaches your dog to pet it and your dog becomes startled or aggressive, apologize and then lead your dog away from the situation.
In this case, it is wise not to bring reactive dogs into stores. This is especially true if your dog has not been exposed to a lot of busy places and is unused to a store environment. If you are worried your dog will react to a stressful situation by growling, showing their teeth, or biting it is important they undergo proper training before being taken into a store. After all, the last thing you want is your dog to bite a stranger at a store. That is a horrific situation for you, the party involved, and your dog.
Lowes only removes dogs from their stores if they’re not well-behaved, so using commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ or ‘leave it,’ makes for a relaxed shopping experience as it keeps your dogs calm and focused on you, and less likely to be distressed or distracted by what’s going on around them. Recall is just as important as simple commands. This makes sure that your dog is always close by, giving you peace of mind that they are out of harm’s way.
We all know obedience training is most effective when it’s started early, and there is definitely no harm in refreshing this training as they become older.
As mentioned earlier, a big pet peeve among customers who are not in favor of dogs being allowed in Lowes is that some irresponsible owners do not clean up after their pets. It is natural for dogs to have accidents in places that are unfamiliar to them, as this is how they mark their territory. But it is your responsibility to clean up after them.
There have been instances in Lowes where the mess was not cleaned up, and people have rolled their carts through it. This is not only a huge inconvenience but completely unsanitary and is a health hazard.
In order to avoid this, make sure your dog does its business before it enters the store. But if this is not possible always remember to bring bags and pee pads with you in order to clean up after any mess.
We should be considerate of shoppers of all ages when we take our dogs into stores, but particularly young children. Some children are afraid of dogs, while some children want nothing more than to run up to your dog and give them a hug.
However, just like every child is different so is every dog. Some dogs are gentle, friendly, and enjoy pets and cuddles, some dogs only like a certain amount of attention and will make it known when they’ve had enough, while some dogs are not friendly at all and can be quite aggressive. Of course, strangers, and especially children, are not to know this. Nobody knows your dog better than you.
If your dog is uncomfortable around children, it is important to have them properly trained before taking them to places where they may encounter children.
It is also important to know when to leave your dog at home, especially if you are anticipating a long shopping trip or if you know your attention won’t be completely on your dog.
Ultimately, as long as dogs are well-trained and well-mannered there should be no problem with taking them into Lowes. Always make sure they’re close to you, well-leashed, and be aware when other dogs are around them or if strangers are approaching them.