Etiquette Tips for Dining Out with a Pet


    More and more restaurants are now allowing customers to dine with their canine companions in outdoor seating areas.  However, before you bring Fido out to eat with you, there are important things to bear in mind to ensure happy pets and to be respectful of other restaurant patrons.

    Know the Restaurant’s Pet Policy

    This may seem obvious, but it is always a good idea to call ahead of time to ensure there is seating available to you and your dog. Restaurants in the United States and Canada are prohibited by the FDA to allow pets inside, but many eateries allow pets on their outdoor patio or sidewalk seating. Do your research ahead of time to make sure the restaurant is pet friendly and seating is open.

    Start Small

    Take your furry friend for a shorter visit to a coffee house or bar during non-peak days/times so it is not as busy.  Once they seem comfortable and calm in public, work up to larger or busier restaurants.

    Socialize Your Dog

    Make sure your pooch is well-behaved around other people, especially children. Socializing your dog is important for you to understand how your pup reacts to strangers, loud noises, and other animals before you bring them to a restaurant. If your dog does not react well to these situations, it’s best to leave them at home.

    Exercise First

    Exercising your hound before going to the restaurant will release your pet’s pent up energy, making them much more calm in a social setting.

    Potty First

    Have pets relieve themselves before you get to the restaurant. Nobody wants to see Spot do his business on the floor of the establishment.

    Bring a Human Friend

    Having another person there will ensure the trip runs smoothly. This person can go inside the restaurant if necessary or will be able to watch your pup if you need to use the restroom or step away for a few minutes.

    One Dog Per Person

    Do not bring more dogs than people to a restaurant. Although a restaurant may be pet friendly, it is not a dog park. Be respectful.

    Bring a Portable Water Bowl

    Some restaurants may provide special dog bowls, but don’t rely on that. It’s a good idea to bring along a portable water bowl. It is in violation of health codes for pets to use restaurant glasses or dishware, unless they are disposable. Also, make sure that you do not allow your pet to lick your plate or silverware.

    Practice Good Table Manners

    Leash your pup and keep him or her from socializing with other diners or employees, unless welcomed. Make sure your pet is calm and do not allow your pooch to sit in your lap. Dogs are not allowed on the chairs or tables. Your pup should be sitting or lying down next to your chair at all times and not in the way of the waiter’s path. If you need to, tie your dog to your chair and not a table. A dog tied to a table can result in spilled drinks or food if he or she is strong enough to make the table move.

    Be Courteous of Other Patrons

    If your pet is being loud or unruly, please take him/her from the restaurant. Others may find noisy and boisterous pups more of a distraction than you do. Not everybody is a “dog person,” so don’t allow your pet to wander and disturb other guests.

    For a list of pet-friendly restaurants in the Los Angeles South Bay, click here:



    Check out the South Bay Events Calendar for upcoming pet-friendly events near you.

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