Is REI Dog Friendly in 2023? Answer INSIDE!

Are you wondering if REI is dog friendly? Well, I’m here to give you the answer. Unfortunately, REI is not a dog-friendly store. Their policy states that only service dogs are allowed inside their stores.

I know, it’s a bummer for those who love bringing their furry friends along while shopping. However, there have been a few exceptions reported, where people were able to bring their dogs to their local REI store. But overall, it’s important to know that they have a company-wide policy against dogs.

Is REI Dog Friendly?

When it comes to bringing your furry friends along for your outdoor shopping adventures, REI has a clear policy in place. While many pet owners may assume that a store focused on outdoor gear and equipment would welcome dogs with open arms, the reality is that REI does not allow dogs, with the exception of service dogs. This no dogs policy is consistent across all REI stores and locations.

Is REI Dog Friendly?

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Service Dogs Allowed

REI does recognize the importance of service dogs in providing necessary assistance to individuals with disabilities. Therefore, the company allows service dogs to accompany their owners inside the store.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are defined as dogs trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities, such as guiding individuals who are visually impaired or alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. REI’s policy aligns with the ADA requirements and ensures equal access for all customers.

No Dogs Allowed

Outside of service dogs, REI does not permit dogs in their stores. This policy is in place for several reasons, mainly centered around sanitary and safety concerns.

Sanitary Concerns

One of the primary reasons behind the no dogs policy at REI is to ensure a clean and hygienic environment for all customers. As an outdoor retailer, REI attracts customers who are active and may engage in various outdoor activities.

Allowing dogs inside the store could create a potential sanitation issue, with dog hair, drool, and even accidents compromising the cleanliness of the merchandise and the store environment.

Safety Concerns

Another factor influencing REI’s no dogs policy is the concern for the safety of both customers and dogs themselves. While many dog owners may have well-behaved and well-trained dogs, not all dogs have the same temperament or training.

Assessing the behavior and reliability of every dog that enters the store would be a challenge and could potentially put both customers and dogs at risk. Additionally, some customers may have allergies or fear of dogs, making it uncomfortable or even dangerous for them to be in the same space.

Service Dogs

To ensure that the needs of customers with disabilities are met, REI has specific requirements in place for service dogs.

Definition of Service Dogs

REI follows the ADA definition of service dogs. According to the ADA, service dogs are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the service dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

It is important to note that emotional support animals or therapy dogs do not fall under the category of service dogs and are not permitted inside REI stores.

Requirements for Service Dogs at REI

To bring a service dog into an REI store, customers must ensure that the dog is under control at all times and does not pose a threat or disturbance to other customers or employees. The service dog should be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the dog’s work or the individual’s disability.

In such cases, the individual must maintain control of the dog through voice, signal, or other effective means.

Alternatives for Dog Owners

While REI does not permit dogs inside their stores, the company recognizes the importance of accommodating dog owners by providing alternative options.

Designated Dog Areas

Some REI stores have designated dog areas outside the store where customers can tie up their dogs while they shop. These designated dog areas ensure that dog owners can still enjoy their outdoor shopping experience while keeping their pets safe and secure. It is important to check with individual store locations to determine if they offer this amenity.

Online Shopping Options

For customers who prefer to shop with their dogs, REI provides a convenient online shopping option. Customers can browse and purchase their desired outdoor gear and equipment from the comfort of their homes, with their furry friends by their side.

This allows dog owners to still enjoy the benefits of REI’s high-quality products and expertise without the need to enter a physical store.

Is REI Dog Friendly?

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Customer Experiences

While REI’s policy on dogs is clear, there have been reports of both success and disappointment from customers regarding their ability to bring dogs into their local REI store.

Reports of Success

Some customers have reported instances where they were able to bring their dogs into an REI store without any issues. These instances may be due to store-specific variations in policy enforcement or individual employee discretion. It is important to note, however, that these experiences may not be the norm and do not reflect the overarching company policy.

Instances of Inability to Bring Dogs

On the other hand, there have been instances where customers were denied entry into an REI store with their dogs. These situations align with the company’s no dogs policy and reflect the consistency of the policy across all stores. It is essential for customers to be aware of and respect the policy to ensure a positive shopping experience for everyone.

Employee Training on Dog Policy

To ensure the proper implementation of the dog policy, REI provides training and education to its employees.

Education on Service Dogs

REI employees receive comprehensive training on recognizing and accommodating service dogs. This training helps employees understand the rights and needs of customers with disabilities and ensures that they can effectively assist and support individuals with service dogs.

Enforcement of No Dogs Policy

REI also emphasizes the importance of enforcing the no dogs policy for the safety and comfort of all customers. Employees are trained to kindly and respectfully inform customers about the policy and provide alternative options, such as online shopping or using designated dog areas, if available.

Public Reaction

REI’s no dogs policy has garnered both support and criticism from the public.

Support for No Dogs Policy

Many customers appreciate REI’s commitment to maintaining a sanitary and safe shopping environment. These individuals recognize the potential challenges and risks associated with allowing dogs inside the store and applaud REI for prioritizing the well-being of all customers.

Criticism of Dog Exclusion

On the other hand, some dog owners express disappointment and frustration with REI’s no dogs policy. They believe that an outdoor-focused store should be more accommodating to pets and argue that well-behaved dogs should be allowed as long as they are under control and not causing any disturbance.

Considerations for Future Policy Changes

As with any policy, REI is open to feedback and considers industry trends when evaluating possible changes.

Customer Feedback

REI values the input and experiences of their customers. If there is a widespread desire for a more dog-friendly policy, it is possible that the company would be open to revisiting and adjusting their existing policy. Customer feedback can play a crucial role in shaping future policy changes.

Industry Trends

REI also keeps an eye on industry trends and best practices. If allowing dogs becomes more common and feasible for outdoor retailers, REI may reassess their no dogs policy to ensure they remain aligned with customer expectations and industry standards.

Is REI Dog Friendly?

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Why Some People Think REI is Dog Friendly

Despite the clear no dogs policy, some people may mistakenly believe that REI is dog friendly due to various factors.


Misunderstandings can occur for several reasons. People may have had positive experiences in certain REI stores where the policy was not strictly enforced or may not be aware of the company-wide policy. These misunderstandings can lead to false perceptions of REI being a dog-friendly establishment.

Local Variations in Policy Enforcement

Another contributing factor to the belief that REI is dog friendly could be the variation in policy enforcement at individual store locations. Due to individual employee discretion or a lack of consistent enforcement, dog owners may have been able to bring their dogs into certain stores without issue, creating the impression that the company as a whole is more lenient towards dogs.


REI has a clear and consistent policy when it comes to dogs. While service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners inside the store, no other dogs are permitted. This policy is in place to ensure the cleanliness, safety, and comfort of all customers.

REI provides alternative options for dog owners, such as designated dog areas and online shopping. Customer feedback and industry trends may influence future policy changes. Despite some misconceptions, it is important for all dog owners to respect and abide by REI’s no dogs policy to promote a positive and inclusive shopping experience for everyone.


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