Wilko has announced a major change to stores across the UK with some customers threatening to boycott the store as a result.

Starting this week, four-legged friends will be able to pop along when visiting Wilko stores for essentials as the retailer announced pets are now welcome in-store.

The British retailer stocks home and garden items from cooking and cleaning to painting and decorating.

Wilko has more than 400 stores UK-wide but the new initiative will only be allowed in 248 stores.

Signs at stores will make it clear whether pets are welcome in-store although you can always check with staff.

Wilko customers threaten boycott over controversial rule change

The retailer announced the change on Facebook: “A pet is more than just a pet, they’re family. That’s why we’ve decided to welcome pets in-store at 248 of our locations.

“We hope that shoppers will enjoy bringing their furry friends along with them.

“Please check for new signage at the entrance of your local store to see if they are participating.”

8,000 people have commented on the post with more than 6,000 shares.

One customer wrote: “That’s ok if they are well behaved. I have a Guide Dog and find Yaps on straps are enough of a pain outside the shops so it’s going to be very interesting in a confined space down an aisle…and no, my dog doesn’t want to talk to your dog, he’s working! Guide Dogs can get very stressed if a little dog is yapping around their legs!”

Another added: “It's a nice gesture, but not everyone likes dogs, even well-behaved ones. I can see this backfiring on Wilko when an incident occurs. You are not a pet shop, dog owners can socialise their pets elsewhere, shoppers shouldn't need to worry about being confronted by a dog whilst buying wallpaper, toilet rolls and biscuits. Assistance dogs are one thing, but not all dogs!” 

On customer threatened to boycott the stores if the new rule stayed in place.

"This is no good for my child that has anaphylaxis reactions to animal dander and saliva, they said.

"Service dogs have their place in stores and we can avoid them and monitor, they are well behaved etc.. pets do not belong in stores and raises the risk for my son to come in contact with areas that have been contaminated!

"We won't be shopping in your all dogs welcome stores!"

Although others welcomed the gesture.

“This is fantastic! Because of the bad world we live in you can no longer tie dogs up Outside.. well done Wilko,” said one social media user.

Another added: “What a brilliant idea! I really don't like being among loads of people so having a few dogs about will make me feel much more relaxed. I don't why people are so against dogs being in shops, when you think of the very "sick" humans walking about who are much more dangerous to us all.”

Rules do apply to those bringing pets in store.

Pets must be on their leads and will be able to browse all areas of the participating stores except for food aisles.