Is Barnes and Noble Dog-Friendly? Things You Should Know

Pet Care


June 19, 2023

Barnes and Noble is one of the biggest booksellers on the planet, with nearly 600 locations in all 50 states. The store continues to be the biggest book retailer in the United States, and if you’ve ever shopped there, you’ll understand why.

That being said, if you’d like to go shopping there with your pet in tow, you should probably contact the store first to see if they allow it. While most Barnes and Noble locations allow dogs in their stores, some do not, which makes contacting them first important.

Is Barnes and Noble Dog-Friendly?

As a general rule, Barnes and Noble allows dogs in their stores, which makes pet parents happy. Some stores, however, do not allow any type of pets in their stores, and there are different reasons for this.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict rules regarding animals being in facilities where food is either sold or processed, and this includes many of the Barnes and Noble locations.

While many Barnes and Noble stores have books, toys, and gift items only, others have cafes that sell snacks, drinks, sandwiches, and much more.

Because of this, it is unsanitary to allow dogs to walk around the store, even if they’re wearing a leash. If you contact a Barnes and Noble store that has a diner on the inside, don’t be surprised if they tell you that you cannot bring your dog there.

As you can see, the Barnes and Noble dog policy varies with each store. If you already know that the Barnes and Noble located near you has a diner, you can safely assume that your dog will not be welcome there.

If you know the store does not have a diner inside, it’s very likely you’ll be able to bring your dog with you when you go there. Either way, it’s always good to call them first.

Are There Any Exceptions?

In general, there is only one exception to the “no pets” policy belonging to Barnes and Noble, and that is the use of service dogs.

Service dogs are specially trained animals that help the blind and other disabled people get through life, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires them to be allowed in all public places. But what about other types of therapeutic dogs?

Many Barnes and Noble customers ask about emotional support animals (ESAs) and therapy dogs, which is a good question.

Unfortunately, ESAs and therapy dogs are usually not considered service dogs and therefore aren’t usually allowed in stores that do not allow pets. ESAs and therapy dogs are not specially trained in anything, which normally puts them in the category of non-service animals.

You can always check with your local Barnes and Noble store just to be sure but don’t be surprised if they tell you that these two types of animals are not allowed in their store.

For practical reasons, most stores do not consider ESAs and therapy dogs to be service animals; instead, they are usually considered pets and, therefore, aren’t allowed in stores where food is being served.

Other Reasons the Rule Exists

Of course, whether we’re talking about the Barnes and Noble Layton in Utah or the Barnes and Noble in Johnson City, Tennessee, the reasons for this rule are easy to understand.

First of all, dogs can track in dirt and debris that can get other people sick. The store simply wouldn’t be as clean or as sanitary if they decided to let pets into their store.

Second, many customers have severe allergies to animals of all kinds, and it just wouldn’t be fair to allow animals in the store.

Some people’s allergies are more severe than others, but many stores feel they shouldn’t take a chance of this happening. In order to eliminate the possibility of these people suffering or even being hospitalized, it’s easier for the store not to allow dogs.

Finally, many children—and even some adults—are scared of animals or very uncomfortable around them.

If the owner of the dog looks away for just a minute or two, even if the dog is on a leash, that dog could go over to where a child is and scare them or even nip or bark at them. To avoid this and any lawsuit that might occur as a result, store managers can decide not to allow dogs in their stores.

No Store Owner Wants to Be Sued

Naturally, it has to be recognized that any of the above-mentioned scenarios could result in a lawsuit for the store, and even if they win the suit in the end, it could harm their reputation and cost them a lot of money.

No store owner wants this to happen. For many reasons, even some Barnes and Noble stores without diners may decide they do not want animals of any kind in their facilities.


Many Barnes and Noble stores allow you to bring your pets with you when you visit them, but some do not.

Many of their stores that do not have diners will allow dogs because they aren’t serving food, but the bottom line is that you should contact your local Barnes and Noble store to learn what their specific policy is regarding animals being in their facility.

The only exception these stores have is that federal law requires them to allow service dogs, but this does not normally include either emotional support animals or therapy dogs. Calling the store near you is always recommended.