7 Rules For Bringing Your Dog To A Restaurant

Dining out with pets is fun, but you have to consider their well-being, and other diners, when you do it.

We're still in the middle of summer no matter what anyone says, which means outdoor dining at restaurants is still an option. And wherever outdoor fun is to be had, sometimes we like to bring our best friends, aka our dogs, to come enjoy some patio hangs with us.


But as much as we love our pets, it's important to remember what's best for them, not to mention what's best for those seated around you. Here are some good rules, backed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, for dining with your dog at a restaurant.

Plan ahead

Just because your dining destination has an expansive sidewalk patio doesn't mean your dog is allowed on the premises by default. To save yourself hassle and headache, just give the restaurant a quick ring to double check that it's okay to bring your pup along.


And by the way, if the restaurant refuses, they probably have a number of reasons for doing so, none of which have to do with a dislike of dogs. So try to be understanding of places that turn you down.

Remember, dogs can catch bugs too

This is one of those things that you may have not actively thought about for a while. The American Veterinary Medical Association wishes to gently remind us that keeping your dog up to date on medications, vaccines, and flea and tick prevention methods is important for their health. You wouldn't want your dog to catch something crummy while you're having the best outdoor meal of your life, would you?


Sharing isn’t always caring

I know, it can be pretty hard to resist those round eyes begging for food beneath the table. But don't sneak restaurant scraps to your dog since, unlike the food you prepare at home, you don't know what might be in the dish that dogs cannot have. Better safe than sorry.


Understand not everyone is a fan of dogs

I know, this one seems impossible to believe, but I've met plenty of people who are terrified of dogs (and none of them were even postal service workers). Some people don't want to be around dogs, even if yours is "super friendly and obedient, for real." For the sake of those around you who are also paying for a fun night out, keep your dog leashed and secured near your seat while you're eating and don't go let them sniffing around other tables.


Preventing your dog from wandering is also a safety issue. If a server is bringing a heavy tray full of food to a table, they might not see an exploring pup underfoot; the extended leash could also form a sort of tripwire. Just avoid it by keeping your dog close.

Keep your dog groomed

Before you head out, don't forget to give your dog a good brushing. A friend of was dining outside this season, and customers at a nearby table had a pair of beautiful dogs with them. But the dogs were shedding fur in the summer heat, and he ended up having to abandon his cocktail because a tuft landed in it.


Make sure they’re fed, watered, and occupied

If you're going to bring your dog to a restaurant, a few essentials are in order. Bring a small water dish, since it's not always a guarantee that the restaurant has one (and sometimes if a bunch of dogs are sharing one, it gets a little funky). Bring some treats, because even if it's between mealtimes for your dog, treats incentivize good behavior. And if your dog is the type to be monitoring what's going on around them, bring a small distraction like a chew toy to keep them busy. Don't bring a ball, which can roll under neighboring tables. Things like Kongs or their favorite bone are best.


Think about what your dog feels

Just because it's warm out doesn't mean your dog's a fan of the hot weather. After all, your furry companion doesn't have the option of putting on shorts for the day. You should also think about whether your dog gets anxious around crowds, a bunch of scraping chair legs, or generally loud and unpredictable environments. You wouldn't want to endure a social situation that you hate, so why should your dog?