Patio Protocol for Outdoor Dining With Dogs

It’s outdoor restaurant season, and of course you want to take your sweet dog with you.

Before you and your canine dine al fresco, there are a few steps to take to ensure your dog is ready and that you’re respectful of other diners.

Assess the Situation

Before you head out to eat, think about your dog’s personality: Is she comfortable in a crowd? Around other dogs? Surrounded by loud noises? Although you want to have her with you, if she doesn’t feel comfortable in a potentially crowded, noisy setting, it’s probably best to leave her at home. Additionally, just because a restaurant has outside seating doesn’t mean that they are a dog-friendly establishment. Once you’ve assessed your dog and feel comfortable bringing her, call the restaurant to verify that she’s welcome.

Be Prepared

Of course your pup will be on leash, but there are a few other steps to take to make sure she—and you—are prepared for an outdoor dining experience. If the patio is concrete or pavement, bring a towel or small blanket for her to lie on so she doesn’t overheat. While some pet-friendly establishments provide water bowls, don’t count on it. Bring a dish for your dog, and request an extra glass of water for your pup.

Mind Fido’s Manners

You and your dog need to be respectful of the other diners, so keep your pup as close to your table as possible. Consider hooking her leash around the leg of you chair to ensure she doesn’t wander off to beg for the steak at the next table over. It should go without saying that your dog must not be allowed to jump on the table, climb up on the chairs, or stand in a pathway where she could trip the waiter or another diner.

Have Fun!

Even though it takes a bit of prep to head out with your pup, once you’re settled in at the restaurant, enjoy each other’s company. For an extra treat, consider spoiling your dog with a special menu item—for instance, a piece of plain chicken off of your salad or a side of fresh, grilled veggies. Throughout the summer, you and your pup can test out a number of local establishments to come up with your favorite. You might even discover your town has an exceptionally pet-friendly place, like those that provide dog treats and water bowls upon your pup’s arrival!

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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