Tips for Taking Your Pet to a Restaurant, Bar or Café

If you have a pet-friendly outdoor dining venue in your neighborhood, lucky you! Being able to bring pets along is a special treat that can be fun for you and them. Just keep these tips in mind to make sure your visit is a success.

  • Make sure pets are welcome. Check the restaurant’s website or call ahead to make sure pets are welcome and see whether you need any documentation like proof of vaccination. You don’t want to arrive and realize your pet can’t join you.
  • Know your pet. Some pets love to be social and don’t mind loud or crowded spaces. Others would rather be in the safe quiet of home. If you know your pet is prone to stress or acting out, consider leaving them home where they’ll be happier.
  • Take care of business first. Keep your pet comfortable and avoid interrupting your meal for a pit stop by visiting a pet relief area before you get to the restaurant.
  • Get some exercise. It’s hard to settle in if you’re full of excess energy. Before eating out, take a long walk or run with your pet to burn off energy and tire them out so they can relax and snooze during your meal.
  • Make them comfortable. Bring along a small towel or blanket for your pet to lie on, especially if you don’t what type of floor surface you’ll be on or if you know it might be hot or uncomfortable.
  • Stay leashed. Even if you think your pet will just relax under the table, you never know when a loud noise or other distraction might startle them or cause them to run. Always keep a leash on your pet and keep them close by your side.
  • Be prepared. Bring water and a bowl in case the restaurant doesn’t offer it for visiting pets. Bring along waste bags too in case a pit stop is needed. Packing a treat is also a good idea, in case they get hungry along the way.
  • Bring some distractions. To help your pet pass the time, bring a chew toy or other favorite toy along so they’ll have something to do.
  • But don’t get distracted yourself! If there’s TV, music or a live performance, be sure to still focus on your pet. “Surprise” excitement or loud noises, like cheers and applause, can easily scare pets or even cause them to try to escape.
  • Stay aware. Keep a close eye on your pet throughout your visit, making sure they’re comfortable, hydrated and calm.
  • Make friends but ask first. Approach other pets with care until you know how the meeting will go. Always ask permission before touching someone else’s pet. Keep a close eye on your pet when interacting with others.

Want more tips? Check out the Pets on Patios Toolkit for tips to help cities, business and pet parents make outdoor dining pet friendly.

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