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Should dogs be allowed in restaurants?

Courtesy Paw House Inn

Courtesy Paw House Inn

Many years ago my parents took me and my sister on vacation in France. I remember being absolutely blown away when we were in a restaurant one night and the woman sitting at the table next to us opened her purse and pulled out….a dog!

For the rest of the meal it sat in her lap, waiting patiently as she fed it smidgens off her plate. I can’t imagine she had the most enjoyable time because my sister and I kept giggling throughout the meal.

I noticed a little back and forth on the subject of dogs in restaurants yesterday on this blog in the post about the new Thirsty Dog Tavern, which will be dog friendly.

As a sometimes travel writer, I hear all the time about hotels and restaurants that are dog friendly. The Paw House Inn in Vermont bills itself as a resort for dogs and their owners.

I will admit to being a dyed-in-the-fur cat person and really don’t like dogs who want to slobber all over me, no matter how noble their intentions. That said, I have no problem with well behaved dogs, whether they are in a park or lying by the restaurant patio table next to mine. Dogs in restaurants are like kids in restaurants: if they behave reasonably well, I’m happy to see them there.

What do you think? Do you mind dogs in restaurants?

207 comments Add your comment


April 7th, 2010
1:29 pm

I think that dogs should be allowed in restaurants. Children are allowed into these places and many dogs act much better than most children. Also, as far as cleanliness goes, my sister has had every disease under the sun since she had children. they are always “passing something around”. I have never caught anything from my dogs.

Souffle Chef

April 7th, 2010
2:21 pm

Americans are so germ-phobic and that’s the reason why they get sick whenever they leave our borders. (Of course, they blame the local water, not understanding that foreigners often get sick drinking our water.) I’ve traveled all over the world and well-behaved dogs have dined alongside humans without any ill effects. As long as a dog is well behaved, I say, “Yes!” Besides, I would prefer to eat alongside a dog than having to observe the poor dining habits of most human beings.

Barbara Reynolds

April 7th, 2010
3:54 pm

Kudos to Atlanta and The Thirsty Dog Tavern for finally giving us the life I used to enjoy in Florida…Dog-Friendly Dining and Shopping. My Pomeranians are better behaved than most kids in public and at restaurants. We dined at Thirsty Dog on March 26th and it was great! I dislike dining with kids/brats hanging all over my booth, screeching, or walking all over the place, so I stay away from Restaurants advertising Kids Night or chain restaurants that are family dining grounds. Don’t like it, don’t do it or eat there! This Gwinnett Surburbanite wishes we had this in the Burbs. Sincerely, BFabulous & Her Poms


April 7th, 2010
8:17 pm

Absolutely not. Consider your PAYING patrons who may not like dogs near their food. Other patrons may be allergic to them. If you want to accomodate dogs have a separate room for patrons with dogs with glass doors to shut them in….far from the rest of your customers who prefer to have a dog-less eating experience. That should be do-able.


Carrie Neal Walden

April 10th, 2010
9:30 am

First, I find it hilarious that so many of you say you’d never go to or want to go to a restaurant and eat near/next to a dog. How do you know that you haven’t?

I ask because, as the owner of a very well-behaved 4-lb Maltipoo, he’s dined with me many times. He’s in his bag – or one of my larger purses – under the table or on a hook at the bar at a place like Dantanna’s or Houston’s. You’d never know he was there.

My dog is better behaved than MANY people’s children. And if he ever makes a peep (happened once) I immediately take him out. How many parents do the same when junior gets fussy, etc? Uh-huh. That’s what I thought.

Now, I never would have taken my Mastiff or Labs to a restaurant. Largely because of their size, but also because of hygiene, etc – Maltipoos have hair, not fur. They are hypo-allergenic. But, disregarding that – if he’s in a bag (or any small animal is contained, if you’re inside) or if you’re on a patio and the dogs are behaving and not anywhere touching food and/or tables – what in the world is the problem, risk or danger? Nothing.

Dogs who bark or act up in any way should be immediately removed. Just like rude cell phone talkers and screaming children. But, well, we all disagree on the last two and the dog thing – we’ll see how that goes!


April 11th, 2010
6:33 pm

BIG FURRY HAIRY DOGS shoud NOT be taken to patios much less inside, the reason is because if there are kids around (KIDS MORE IMPORTANT – DON’T HAVE ANY YET) we don’t know how the kid and the dog may react to each other, furthermore the hair of a big size dog YES can INDEED MAGICALLY FLY into a persons plate and that is a yuk yuk. I own a 13 week old pug who is 7 pounds and I do take him to patios and call upfront to places to see if dogs are allowed. BUT WHEN HE GROWS. NO! i won’t be ruining a nice eating out exoerience for anyone.

vinay gupta

June 21st, 2010
7:25 pm

If dogs and cats are OK in restaurants, why not someone’s pet rat, snake, or pig. I’m sorry, but there are boundaries between humans and animals. Yesterday I was in a local establishment and next to us there was a family of six at the table next who had a retriever puppy that was sitting on the table and drinking out of a water glass on the table. This is a serious health code violation. We were shocked and I quietly mentioned this to the waiter and not much was said, but they brought out a bowl for the dog. Few minutes later, our food showed up and the dog was by our feet begging for food. I asked the owners (nicely, but seriously) to keep their dog by the own table and away from us.

Most animal owners would have apologized and obliged, but these people were pretty offended and started making very offensive personal comments to us. It got ugly and they were asked to leave. I won’t go back even though the food and service is pretty decent because of this issue.

The manager and waiter tried to smooth things over, but nothing could be done to salvage our experience. I was surprised and disappointed that despite our experience being completely ruined, the waiter showed up with a check for the full amount. I thanked the manager and waiter, paid the bill, and walked out.

For some, the family dog is like a child and there are no boundaries.