February 28 2019

Our four-legged friend, they bring us happiness and companionship like no other.  Unshakeable loyalty, resolute protection and a furry shoulder to cry on from time to time.  They are a part of our family, hogging the bed, leaving chew holes in our belongings and always reminding us what is and isn’t important in life.

That lopsided doggy grin they give us after a long and satisfying walk always melts our hearts. The cute tricks they do to gain those much-wanted doggie treats make us laugh and applaud.  Every moment they spend beside us is joyous and memorable just because they are our best friend.

With that in our hearts we often find ourselves taking our companion with us on our daily and nightly outings to enjoy the life that we live.  We want to share in those special moments with our family and friends, and since the dog in our life is both, what could be better?

From our morning running in the park, a drive around to the gas station, riding the tractor to cut the grass or digging holes with us in the garden there is nowhere else they would rather be but by our side.

Some days we may be so busy with our own lives that we may seem to forget about them as we run from one project or agenda to the next, but they never ever forget about us.  The wet nuzzle against our arm as we read, the dog sneeze in the background as we work on our computer and the hair that seems to float through the air as we prepare dinner, they are always with us.

Dining out at a restaurant whether fancy or simple is a most wonderful experience we all greatly enjoy.  Taking our most beloved friend, our dog, along can bring them pleasure. All the sights, smells and tastes they will experience, the comfort of being close brings contentment and happiness to their hearts.

There are some things to consider when bringing a dog along to a restaurant.  Preparations that are often necessary for the enjoyment of everyone, including the dog.  Below are 7 tips (plus bonus tip) for taking your dog to a restaurant that will help you begin your journey into this territory with knowledge and skills to succeed.  Above all else, always remember to have a good time. 


1. Know the Rules

Consideration for the type of restaurant you will choose for your outing is a top priority.  You will want to think about the following when selecting a restaurant:

Is the restaurant pet friendly?  Of course, choose a dog friendly eatery

Are reservations required?

Do they have a size limit on pets dining in their restaurant?

Are there only certain times when you can bring a dog to their establishment?

Is barking tolerated?

Are the dogs required to stay on a leash at all times?

What about dogs who have long hair that may shed?

What are the local county health department rules and regulations in place for pets visiting a restaurant?

With this information you can determine which restaurants will work best for you and your pet.


2. Ambiance

Taking your dog to a restaurant takes planning that any dog owner is more than capable of handling.

You will want to match the restaurant to the temperament of your dog.

Should your dog be a bit skittish, afraid of loud noises and fast movements then finding a restaurant that is quiet and smaller, not on a busy street or where there is lots of traffic by vehicle or on foot.

Perhaps your dog is a very happy, and loves people, then dining at a restaurant that is a bit lively and full of people coming and going will fit the bill.

While dogs have many facets to their personality that can change from day to day just as we do, as their loving companion you should have a good idea about who they are as a dog.


3. Location in the Restaurant

When you arrive at your dog friendly restaurant take a moment to assess the location.

Where are other people and pets  seated.

What sort of patrons are directly around you, friendly, busy, pet lover?

If for some reason you need a change of location, simply explain to the staff, most will be very accommodating


4. Feeding Your Dog at the Restaurant

When, how and what to feed your dog companion while eating out are listed below.

Feed your dog a little bit of food right after your arrival to take the edge off.

Share samples of your own food or a specially selected plate of food but put it in the dog’s own bowl.

Have the waitress or server bring fresh water for your dog to utilize as he or she wishes.

If your dog has dietary restrictions keep to what they are best digesting for their health and safety.


5. Timing

In addition to the restaurant’s rules on times dogs are allowed to dine,  you will want to determine the best time to visit based on your dog’s personality.

Most dogs would likely be easily distracted during peak hours when so many patrons are visiting. 

There is a higher likelihood of incidents during this time when there is so much going on around them, sights, sounds and smells. 

Depending on the time of day you feed your dog will assist you in determining whether your pet is better suited to dining on the patio with you for lunch or dinner.

 good dog sitting at table in dog friendly restaurant

6. Essentials to Bring Along

There are some necessary items to carry along with you on your dining with dog experience.

Bowls for food and water

Their favorite treats

Harness or collar, with a spare


Favorite restaurant appropriate toy – one that doesn’t squeak!

Any medications they take and might need for a long night out

Dog tags and vaccination/veterinarian information

Dog sweater or other apparel depending on the weather


7. Prep Time

Be sure to exercise your furry friend before leaving for the eatery.  You do not want to arrive with a dog that wants to run and play during your visit

How far of a drive to the restaurant?  You might not want to go to far if you dog gets rambunctious after a long drive

Be sure your dog is looking good. Grooming can make or break the social scene for you and your dog.

Schedule a dog grooming appt prior to the visit or at least use your own bathtub for a washing, trimming nails and brushing teeth

Fashionable doggy attire or even just  cute bow or bandanna can add to experience

 Terrier at the groomers

Bonus Tip

Unforeseen situations always arise even if a dog has superb manners and is always well behaved.  Prepare for them by remaining calm and having small bits of treats handy to distract and intervene is necessary.  While these situations are unacceptable, getting flustered and frustrated will solve nothing.


Fighting between your dog and another canine patron.

Begging or reaching for table food.

Barking repeatedly and loudly.

Chewing or licking of furnishings and carpet.

Jumping up on a patrons clothing or lap.

Growling or being territorial and aggressive.


Always have a backup plan in case things don’t work out at the restaurant.  A plan B will help keep you from becoming upset if for some reason you must leave the restaurant and try again another day.  I have a few plan B days and to be honest, they were some of the best outings.


In Conclusion

Your best friend will join you where ever you wish them to go, including when dining out.  They love you and living life right beside you.  The above list of ideas can be used to guide you through your dining journey, it isn’t exhaustive but merely a beginning.  Be sure to exhaust them before your taking your dog to a restaurant, they are more relaxed and calmer because their needs have been met.  Understand that there are laws about bringing pets into a restaurant so it is a privilege the owner bestows upon their guest and we should show gratitude for this.  Searching the internet if you visit www.bringfido.com you can find restaurants that accept pets. 

Dogs are receiving welcoming smiles in places they never went before, and rightfully so.  With all the love and happiness they bring, it should have never taken this long to begin with.  From dog friendly spas to bakeries that cater to dogs.  Our lives wouldn’t be nearly as happy and memorable without our furry four-legged best friends and all their love.

Please let us know about your experiences taking your dog to a restaurant by leaving a comment below.

Back to top