SAMSUNG DIGITAL MOVIEWhether you are driving across country, or just going out for lunch, there are often times when you want to grab a bite to eat with your four-legged friend in tow. You can always go to a fast food restaurant drive-through or purchase food to go at many restaurants. Then you either have to eat in your car or back at your hotel room or home. But for many dog lovers, there is an increasing demand for restaurants that offer dog-friendly outdoor seating.

While not all outdoor restaurants allow dogs, many restaurants throughout the United States and Canada allow people to dine outside with their pooch. There are certain rules of thumb to follow that will increase your chances of finding a pet-friendly establishment. First, make sure you can access the outdoor seats without having to walk through the inside of the restaurant. Second, find a restaurant that does not serve food outside. Restaurants that require you to order your food inside and then take the food to an outdoor table are more likely to allow dogs than an outdoor restaurant where waiters serve food. While fast food restaurants fall under this category, so do a varieties of cafes. Third, if you prefer to have food served by a waiter, it is just a matter of asking around at various restaurants. To help narrow down your search, try finding a restaurant that offers sidewalk seating. A sidewalk is usually considered a public right-of-way where dogs are permitted, but it is still up to the restaurant management to allow dogs. Fourth, you will always need to ask a restaurant employee in advance if your pooch is welcome to dine with you al fresco. It most cases, it is up the restaurant owner to decide the policy.

When you do find that perfect outdoor eating establishment that welcomes your best friend, be sure to practice good doggie dining etiquette. Here are some tips that will help outdoor restaurants continue to be pet-friendly.

Etiquette Tips for Dogs at Outdoor Restaurants
  • Make sure your pooch is well-behaved around other people and especially children.
  • Leash your four-legged friend and keep him or her from socializing with other diners or employees, unless welcomed.
  • Try to keep your dog close to your table or chair so he or she is not in the waiter's path. Dogs are not allowed on the chairs or tables.
  • Bring your own doggie bowl or ask the waiter for a paper or plastic bowl or cup for water if necessary. Pets are not permitted to eat or drink out of restaurant glasses or dishes, unless they are disposable.
  • Remember 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.
  • Always call ahead or ask first to make sure an establishment allow dogs at their outdoor tables.

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