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Can You Bring a Dog to the Farmers Market?

Can You Bring a Dog to the Farmers Market?

Farmers markets serve as vibrant community hubs where local vendors offer fresh produce, handmade goods, and delectable culinary treats. These gatherings aren’t just about shopping — they’re social events inviting people to connect with local farmers and artisans in the great outdoors. 

For many pet owners, the question arises: Can you bring a dog to the farmers market? The answer varies by location, as policies on pets are determined by individual market rules and local regulations.

In this article, we’ll explore the general stance on dogs at farmers markets, highlight policies from popular markets across the country, and offer safety tips and advice for those considering bringing their furry friends along.

The Varied Policies on Dogs at Farmers Markets

The policies regarding dogs can differ significantly from one farmers market to another, mainly due to concerns over food safety, allergies, potential accidents, and legal or insurance issues. Note that service dogs must still be accommodated, even if there is a ban on pets. 

Here’s a look at how a few popular markets handle the presence of pets:

Union Square Greenmarket in New York City: This bustling market welcomes mindful dog walkers with well-behaved, leashed dogs. If you bring your dog, ensure they don’t “mark” inside stands.

San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market: Only service animals are permitted within this market’s premises. That’s because California Health & Safety Code 114259.5 stipulates that live animals aren’t allowed in certified farmers markets. 

Chicago’s Green City Market: Dogs are allowed at their outdoor markets. 

Portland Farmers Market: At PFM’s two busiest downtown markets (Saturdays at PSU and Wednesdays at Shemanski Park), they ask that pet owners keep their dogs away from market vendors and shopper walkways. At other locations, dogs should be kept on a short leash and away from produce, plants, and other food products. 

Santa Monica Farmers Market: Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed at this popular farmers market due to California Health Code regulations. 

Visiting Union Square Greenmarket farmers market in New York with your dog
Check local regulations to see if your farmers market, such as the Union Square Greenmarket in New York, allows dogs to visit.

Safety Tips and Considerations for Bringing Your Dog

For markets that do permit dogs, here are crucial tips to ensure a positive experience:

  • Watch for Food on the Ground:
    Farmers markets can be full of tempting smells and dropped pieces of food. Keep an eye out to prevent your dog from eating something harmful.
  • Respect Vendor Spaces:
    Ask for permission before allowing your dog to approach a vendor’s stall, especially if they sell food. Some vendors may have concerns about dogs near their products.
  • Leash and Control:
    Keep your dog on a short, non-retractable leash for better control.
  • Consider Timing:
    Farmers markets can get very busy. Visiting during less crowded times can reduce stress for your pet.
  • Know Your Dog:
    Farmers markets can be difficult to walk around when they get full. Only bring dogs that are comfortable and well-behaved in crowded environments.
  • Preparation is Key:
    Bring water, a bowl, and waste bags to address your dog’s needs.
  • Be Mindful of the Weather:
    Protect your dog from hot pavements and cold conditions as necessary.
  • Monitor Your Dog’s Comfort:
    Watch for signs of stress and be ready to leave if your dog is not coping well.

Finally, make sure you’re considerate of others. Not everyone is a dog lover, and some people are afraid of dogs or allergic to them. Keep your dog close by your side, and be mindful of giving others space.

Service Dogs: A Special Consideration

It’s important to note that service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and must be allowed in all public spaces, including farmers markets. These animals are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities, and their presence is essential for their handlers’ participation in public life.

While at the farmers market, it can be helpful to outfit your dog with a service dog vest, tag, or ID card. While these items are not required (and the farmers market can’t deny entry because you don’t have these), you’ll visually inform the vendors and other patrons that you are being accompanied by a service dog, not a pet. 

Get Your Service Dog ID

Why Might Dogs Be Restricted at Farmers Markets?

These are some reasons why a farmers market might deny entry to dogs:

  • Food Safety and Hygiene:
    The primary concern for many markets is maintaining a high standard of food safety and hygiene. Dogs can potentially contaminate food products through direct or indirect contact. 
  • Allergies and Phobias:
    Attendees at the market might have allergies or phobias related to dogs. Markets must balance the desire to be pet-friendly with the need to provide a safe space for all visitors.
  • Accidents and Injuries:
    Some dogs can act unpredictably, especially in crowded or unfamiliar environments. There’s a risk of dogs jumping on people, becoming aggressive, or causing tripping hazards, which could lead to injuries.
  • Legal and Insurance Issues:
    Some markets face strict health code regulations or insurance policies that limit their ability to allow pets on the premises, especially where food is sold and consumed.
A service dog visiting a farmers market
Be mindful of why some farmers market may not allow dogs, especially if you bring your service dog with you.


While many farmers markets embrace the community spirit by allowing dogs, the policies can vary significantly. Understanding and respecting these rules is crucial for ensuring that everyone, including pet owners and their dogs, can enjoy a safe and pleasant market experience. 

By preparing adequately and following the provided safety tips, pet owners can contribute to a harmonious atmosphere at their local farmers market, making it a welcoming place for all members of the community.

About the Author: The writing team at Service Dog Certifications is made up of folks who really know their stuff when it comes to disability laws and assistance animals. Many of our writers and editors have service dogs themselves and share insights from their own experiences. All of us have a passion for disability rights and animals.

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