Are you planning on heading down to your local Waitrose? Have a dog and wondering whether they will be allowed inside along with you? Well having just contacted the company to find out for myself I’d like to share with you what I was told.
So, are dogs allowed in Waitrose? Dogs are not allowed in Waitrose stores. The only exception is guide and assistance dogs who should be legally allowed to enter any public space by law.
I literally just visited my local Waitrose, and there were signs on the door that explained their policy:
“Guide dogs and assistance dogs are welcome” is what it says, if you cannot see that clearly.
So no mention of other dogs, but pretty explicit in the fact that it is these dogs that are welcome.
And I know that this may not be particularly ideal news.
But there are a few reasons behind it, as I soon found out after asking a member of staff about the policy.
So let us now get into them. That way at least we can understand why they have taken such a stance.
Why Waitrose Does Not Allow Dogs
Waitrose does not allow most dogs in their stores for both customer safety and hygenic reasons.
And applying a nationwide no-dog policy is much easier than implementing it on a store-by-store or dog-by-dog basis.
So it’s all the dogs or none at all.
Waitrose has gone the no-dog route.
First and foremost, Waitrose has a social responsibility to keep everybody safe. That includes both their staff and all of their many customers.
Now you may be thinking, but my dog is well behaved, or my dog is small and is affectionate with everyone.
But unfortunately, not all dogs are like this.
Unfortunately, some dogs are not well-behaved, nor have they had the training and socialization required to calmy peruse the supermarket with their owners.
Some are lively, on edge. Some are even clumsy or simply get in the way and could become trip hazards!
Besides, some people are scared of dogs – regardless of how well they behave.
Secondly, it cannot be understated that Waitrose is a premium food store.
And like any supermarket, they have a lot of food uncovered and susceptible to germ/bacteria transfer or contamination.
Particularly those shelves that are low to the ground.
Fruits, bakery items; are the two that spring to mind.
Now not all dogs may get close enough, but there are some that may.
Some may even lick or attempt to eat some of the foods if not kept under close supervision.
Then there is the potential of hair shedding or a dog going to the bathroom.
Pet allergies are actually very popular.
And supermarkets like Waitrose often have a lot of people in them at any one time.
Chances are, there are several people with pet allergies shopping.
And that included both staff and other customers.
So, not allowing dogs in automatically makes this an allergy-free environment.
The Exception – Assistance Dogs
I previously mentioned that there is one exception. That is guide and assistance dogs.
In fact, if you take a look at the ‘shopping in store‘ page of the Waitrose website you can see this for yourself:
So guide and assistance dogs are permitted, so long as “they can be identified”.
Nevertheless, these dogs have to be legally allowed entry.
It’s actually a legal requirement.
It is not something that Waitrose has much say over. And rightly so.
Guide and assistance dogs serve crucial tasks and responsibilities for their people.
They are very well-trained and have been purposefully bred and raised under strict care and guidance.
They are not your typical family dog.
They will naturally be very well behaved and enable people to shop who otherwise may encounter issues in doing so.
What About John Lewis?
Now, here is one other potential caveat to consider. John Lewis actually has a different dog policy to Waitrose. John Lewis allows all dogs.
Now it must be said that this is a relatively recent change.
In fact, it only came in a couple of years ago, as we can see the announcement via Twitter:
Hi! 🐾 We’ve decided to allow all customers, not just those with assistance dogs, to bring their dogs into our shops with immediate effect. Well behaved dogs only will be allowed in our shops and they must be on a fixed lead at all times, unless they are being carried. 🐶 ~ Amy— John Lewis & Partners (@JohnLewisRetail) July 23, 2019
Now, this is a little confusing.
John Lewis is the parent company of Waitrose after all.
But consider it this way.
While they are owned by the same company, John Lewis and Waitrose are businesses with different store policies.
While there is some overlap, there are differences too.
Besides, Waitrose does sell food and John Lewis does not.
And John Lewis stores are generally much larger than Waitrose stores too.
Now I know what you could be thinking. Some Waitrose stores are inside John Lewis stores. How does that work?
Well, you likely would be allowed in John Lewis with your dog but then asked to leave Waitrose (if you did manage to get in).
Dogs are not allowed in Waitrose unless they are certified guide or assistance dogs.
It doesn’t matter what breed you have, how well behaved they are, or even if you could carry them under your arm.
So you are going to need to make other arrangements.
It’s not the most convenient, but it’s a policy that does make sense and we should ultimately honor.
Wondering what other supermarkets and stores’ dog policies are? Check out my other guides below:
- Are Dogs Allowed In Marks And Spencer? [In Any M&S?]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Sainsburys? [You’ll Be Glad You Checked]
- Are Dogs Allowed In Asda? [What You Should Know]
- 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.