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Can a service dog ride in a shopping cart at the grocery store?

Can a service dog ride in a shopping cart at the grocery store?

From a health and hygiene perspective, and guided by local health codes, many grocery stores may discourage or prohibit animals from being placed inside shopping carts, including service dogs. The potential risk of contamination from fur, dander, or pathogens is a valid concern, especially concerning food items.

The ADA website also noted that service dogs should generally be on the floor or carried in stores. Most service dogs walk beside their handlers and effectively fulfill their duties without needing to be carried or placed in a shopping cart. 

However, the ADA does acknowledge situations where a service dog may need to be carried. If the service dog is small and the handler’s disability requires the dog to be held, these circumstances are indeed protected under the ADA.

For handlers with smaller service dogs that need to be carried, holding the service dog or using a separate carrier or stroller may be more appropriate. 

Checking Store Policies and Local Health Codes

When it comes to service dogs and shopping carts, the specific store policy and local health codes come into play. While some stores might allow a compromise, such as lining the shopping cart with a blanket or towel, it depends on the specific situation and the individual store’s rules.

Always check with store management before placing your service dog in a shopping cart. Doing so will ensure a safe, positive, and hassle-free shopping experience for everyone involved.


While service dogs have the right to accompany their handlers into grocery stores under the ADA, it’s usually not appropriate for them to ride in the shopping cart. Grocery stores have to be mindful of local health codes and hygiene issues. If in doubt, check with store management for guidance. 

In most cases, a service dog should be on the floor or carried in a separate carrier and not in the shopping cart. For service dog owners that enter stores that ban pets, it can be helpful to use service dog identifiers like ID cards and vests so other shoppers are aware of your dog’s status. 

Can a service dog ride in a shopping cart at the grocery store?
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1 comment

  1. Daniella Hamilton says: August 8, 2023

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