If there is one place I love to go to, it’s Marks and Spencer. It is just is on another level to most of the other stores on the high street. And the food, well there’s nothing quite like it. But can you take your dog inside and along with you? Or do M&S have a strict dog policy? Well, here is all you are going to want to know.
So, are dogs allowed in Marks and Spencer? Dogs are not allowed in Marks and Spencer; either their larger clothing stores, Foodhalls or smaller, Simply Food stores. The one exception is assistance dogs who are legally permitted to enter any store under law.
Maybe not a surprise, even if it is a little inconvenient.
Besides, you may already be on your way. Perhaps you are even outside.
But, after getting in contact with the company, and having perused their social media, I can confirm that there is a nationwide no dog policy in place at M&S.
As you can see via the following tweet on the M&S official Twitter:
For health and safety, dogs are not allowed into our stores, with the acceptance of assistance dogs. This policy is detailed on entering the store. -Yasmin— M&S (@marksandspencer) September 10, 2020
And in that particular instance, the owner even appears to have really thought about other customers and the nature of his dog, too.
It also looks like the staff was pretty strict on the policy, too.
Let us now look at why this policy is in place before turning to what an assistance dog actually is.
Why Marks And Spencer Does Not Allow Dogs
Marks and Spencer do not allow dogs across all of their various types of stores (both clothing and food), for both health and safety reasons.
Health and Hygiene.
Those are the two ‘h’s’ we need to think about here.
Firstly, in the context of their food stores.
We need to consider that dogs are a contamination risk to unpackaged food.
Fruits, vegetables, bakery items. These are all aisles where food is mostly uncovered.
And dogs could quite easily transfer saliva, bacteria, germs, hair, or something else undesirable over to these foods.
But what about their more general, clothing stores? Where food is not involved?
Well, we need to consider hair here.
Dogs shed their hair (some more than others).
But this will literally fall and collect all over the store.
And it could collect on clothing.
Here we need to consider allergies.
Allergies that some members of staff or other customers have.
Now it wouldn’t be fair that a customer with an allergy bought a new jumper with a strand of hair that set off their pet allergies.
Or a member of staff who came into work and was set off by the dander across the store.
Next up, we need to consider that M&S has a social responsibility to keep everyone safe.
While some dogs are very well-behaved and interact well with all people, it is fair to say that not all do.
We also need to consider that some people, including both staff and customers, could be scared of dogs. Period. Regardless of what they are like.
And then there are the practical safety concerns like people tripping over or standing on a dog they didn’t see. The dog being kicked accidentally, etc.
So, with health and safety in mind, it does appear that the M&S no dog policy makes sense.
And implementing this policy nationwide is also far more practical than just one store alone or on a dog-by-dog basis.
Besides, managing that would be a nightmare!
The Dogs That Are Allowed In M&S
The only dogs that are allowed in Marks and Spencer are certified assistance dogs.
In fact, these dogs should be allowed in all public locations. Every store has a legal responsibility to allow entry. This includes food establishments, too.
You may know what an assistance dog is already.
But for those who don’t, it’s essentially a dog that has been assigned to support an individual. Typically with a disability.
Now, these dogs are registered and certified. They are highly trained and very well socialized.
The individuals they support are reliant on them to go about their day-to-day lives, including their shopping.
Anti-discrimination laws were put in place in 2010 to legally protect such individuals:
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits service providers, including taxis and restaurants, from discriminating against those who need an assistance dog with them. It also requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.
Source: UK Parliament Research Briefings
In other words, assistance dogs must be allowed and accommodated by stores including M&S.
Now, assistance dogs usually are visually identifiable. They often wear special collars/harnesses or their individuals carry some form of identification.
The visual identifiers are there to prevent individuals from getting challenged.
But should they be challenged, the ID is there to ensure such individuals can proceed with entry (or to not be asked to leave).
That being said, not all stores will actually proceed to challenge individuals with dogs.
It does depend on the staff.
Besides, some may not be comfortable challenging, others may not want to appear discriminatory should they were to get it wrong.
This is perhaps why you might see a dog in M&S – even if they do not appear to be assistance dogs.
They might be, or they actually might not be.
Dogs are not allowed in M&S – for the most part. Assistance dogs are the exception here.
In fact, you’ll often be able to find a sign on the store door that outlines this ‘no-dog’ policy.
Failing this, security or another M&S member of staff may politely ask you upon entry.
But not always.
In some circumstances, you might get in.
At other stores or other times, you may only be asked to leave much later.
Or you might ‘get away’ with it altogether.
But just know that taking a non-assistance dog in M&S is against store policy.
Besides, upon closer inspection of the policy, it is actually fair on the staff or other customers.
So it’s only right to abide by it.
It’s generally best to leave your dog at home or left waiting calmly outside with a friend or family member.
Wondering what other supermarkets and stores’ dog policies are? Check out my other guides below:
- Are Dogs Allowed In Waitrose? [According To Their Staff]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Asda? [What You Should Know]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Sainsburys? [You’ll Be Glad You Checked]
- Are Dogs Allowed In UK Hardware Stores? [Store Policies Guide]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Dunelm? [According To Their Staff?]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Lidl? [The Only Exception Is…]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Costa? [The Answer Is Not So Simple…]
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.