Dogs dining by our side. What’s wrong with that? Apparently there is a certain contingency of naysayers to negate dining with dogs out there. Yours truly does not mean 5-star-in-your-lap dining, but the al fresco sort. The kind where well-behaved dogs sit by you, be the loving family members they are, and rejoice in a meal by their mom or dad’s side. Should dogs be allowed in restaurants?
In compliance with state health codes, more and more eateries are realizing that the way to their patron’s hearts is through their stomach and at the end of a leash—Fido’s.
I get asked often, “Why exactly can’t my dog eat by my side in a restaurant?” I’ve heard countless numbers of people tell me how well behaved, current on vaccines/titers, and quiet their dogs are. De-wormed and have a clean bill of health? Why not?
The FDA prohibits live animals in restaurants where food is served. Apparently this excludes tanks of fish. Concerns of pets defecating on the floor and employees petting the dog(s) and then not washing their hands raises concerns from “the other side.”
One of the first states to allow dogs to sit by their owners at outdoor seating sections of restaurants was Florida. Slowly, more and more states have caught on and realize that dogs mean dollars. In these economic times, wouldn’t it then make sense to allow Fido to dine with you? How many of us work all day, come home and feel guilty leaving Fido yet again to head for dining pleasures sans the dog? I don’t eat out any longer; I am a happier person, I am saving money, and I share meals with my pooch. I am part of the norm these days.
In traveling with dogs for over 20 years, I’ve seen many restaurants allowing outdoor dog-friendly seating but the dog had to remain on the rail outside the patio or beyond the actual tables. How does this make sense? Airborne is airborne, whether a dog spreads something or a person next to me sneezes.
Each week, my pooch and I head out as a family for “mommy and me night.” If the weather is nice, we start with a ball playing session at the park. We hit up the local pet supply stores (the big three around here), chain and independent variety, check out the latest merchandise, mingle with the others who are having a night out with Fido, and then head to a fast food restaurant for afterwards. The girls have gotten to known Dexter, so we order “the usual:” a sweet tea and fries for me and a hamburger plain for him. Dex gets to socialize, sniff, be in new environments and I get to enjoy being the dog mom I pride myself in being 24/7.
Dogs should be well socialized, clean, and have basic manners before pet parents should consider allowing their dog to eat al fresco with them. My dog has his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title.
So we’re curious: Does your dog belong in a restaurant? If so, what restrictions should be enforced? What about outdoor restaurants and cafes? Would you ever consider taking your dog(s) to a restaurant? Have you ever done so?
Would love to hear from you on either side of the fence.