Is Academy Dog-Friendly? Things to Keep in Mind

Love Pet, Pet Love


June 15, 2023

Academy Sports and Outdoors is a great store for exercise enthusiasts, campers, hikers, and joggers. They offer nearly every outdoor product you can think of at reasonable prices, and you can even get apparel and athletic shoes, too.

If you’d like to bring your dog into the store the next time you go, you’re in luck. The Academy Sports pet policy states that dogs are indeed allowed in these stores, but keep in mind that the decision is ultimately up to the manager of each store. For more information on bringing your pets into Academy, keep reading.

Is Academy Dog-Friendly?

Most of the Academy Sports and Outdoors stores allow you to bring your dog into the facilities when you’re shopping there, but some locations may not.

If you’re unsure about the Academy store in your area, the best thing to do is contact them and ask to speak to a manager. They will be able to give you an honest answer so that you can know what to do next.

The managers of stores such as these aim to make the shopping experience pleasant for everyone who enters.

Legally, if a store sells or prepares food items, they cannot allow any animals into the store, except for service dogs. Academy, however, does not sell or prepare food. In fact, the only food that they might have is packaged snack items for campers and hikers.

Can Dogs Go Into Academy Sports and Outdoors?

Dogs can go into most Academy Sports and Outdoors stores, but you’ll need to check with your local Academy store to know for sure before you bring your dog there.

If your local Academy Sports store does not allow dogs or other animals to enter, keep in mind that by law, they must still allow service animals to visit the store. This is a federal law that they cannot avoid.

It also varies when it comes to emotional support animals (ESAs) being considered service animals. Most stores do not consider ESAs to be service animals; therefore, if your local Academy store doesn’t allow animals, it’s very likely that they don’t allow any type of animal with the exception of service dogs that are there to help people who are blind or have other disabilities.

This can change, however, with each store. Academy’s official policy is that all dogs, including emotional support animals, are allowed in all of their stores.

Of course, they leave this to the discretion of each store’s manager and staff, which is why some of their stores may have a no-pet policy instead. Again, just check with your local store to be on the safe side.

Why Aren’t Pets Allowed in Some Facilities?

The Academy Sports stores are franchises and therefore individually owned. This is why some locations do not allow dogs in their facilities. Some of the reasons why they may not allow dogs in their stores include:

  • Even well-behaved dogs can get rowdy and attack customers or other animals
  • Many customers have allergies to animals and would suffer if you brought them with you
  • Dogs can track in dirt and bacteria that can make other people sick
  • Many customers are afraid of animals or simply don’t like them

The bottom line is this: Academy Sports and Outdoors stores want all customers, not just pet parents, to have a great experience the entire time they’re in the store, and as you can see, there are numerous reasons not to allow dogs in their stores.

It isn’t that the stores are making arbitrary decisions. They have good reasons for their no-pet policy, and people have to respect that.

Why Are Most Academy Stores Pet-Friendly?

The fact that most Academy stores are pet-friendly wasn’t a decision they made lightly. There are numerous benefits for both the stores themselves and for the customers if the latter is able to bring their pets while they shop.

Studies even prove this, and there are three main benefits for the stores to be pet-friendly:

  1. Shoppers tend to spend more time and money at stores that allow them to socialize with others, and this is the type of environment a pet-friendly policy creates.
  2. Shoppers usually spend more money on accessories, toys, and food for their animals if said animals are brought into the store for the shopping trip.
  3. Stores can test out certain products for pets or even hold special events in order to see how well a particular product sells. It makes for very good target-marketing.

To be sure, most people do love animals; therefore, most Academy stores are pet-friendly and allow customers to bring their pets in when they shop.

The policy was altered somewhat in many of their stores during the COVID-19 pandemic, but in most stores, the policy has been reinstated. You should be able to bring your pet into most Academy stores without any problems.

The Differences Between Service Animals and ESAs

There may be some confusion regarding the animals that are allowed in Academy stores, especially if the store does not allow any animals except for service animals. Whether or not they allow emotional support animals will vary with each location.

Here are a few ways to tell the difference between these two types of animals.

  • Service animals have to be trained as service animals, whereas ESAs do not get any type of training. Service animals are trained for specific tasks, such as helping a blind person get from place to place.
  • In order to do their job, service animals have to have excellent training and have a strong bond with their owner. An ESA doesn’t have to have training or a bond with their owner in order to offer the support that owner needs.
  • Service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and therefore no store or facility can prevent them from entering. ESAs have no legal protection and can be banned from all types of facilities, including retail outlets and grocery stores.

Not only that, but ESAs can include not just dogs but other animals as well, including cats, pigs, horses, and even snakes. When it comes to service animals, most of the time they include dogs but no other type of animal. In most cases, however, people are referring to dogs only when they talk about ESAs or service animals.

So, whether it’s the Academy Sports Tucson or the Academy Sports Baltimore, or anything in between, you can safely assume that it is a pet-friendly facility.

If you’ve visited your local Academy store and never noticed any animals there, it might be that that particular location does not allow them in the store. Always contact them to be certain of their particular policy.


For the most part, Academy Sports and Outdoors stores across the country allow you to bring your dogs in the store when you shop there. This doesn’t apply to all of them, however, so before you travel to your local Academy store with your pet in tow, you should contact the manager of that store to determine what their policy is.

All stores allow service dogs because it is the law. As far as emotional support animals (ESAs) go, most Academy stores will allow them but their policy may be different if they are not pet-friendly. If you have an ESA you’d like to take with you, always check with the store first.