Why Aren’t Dogs Allowed In Restaurants?

Have you ever seen that a dog owner doesn’t get to go inside of a restaurant because of the dog, or perhaps you have been that owner that didn’t get in, you were probably left with the question why?

I’m writing this article because the other day I witnessed a similar thing and as a restaurant worker, I know why that is but the dog owner at the entrance didn’t know at first and it got me thinking, how many other people are there that doesn’t know the answer to this. A a lot of people is my guess so good thing that you wondered up to this article because you’re about to learn the answer to this question.

Dogs aren’t allowed in restaurants because certain health regulations state that you can’t bring your pet inside the restaurant. In addition, dogs might trigger allergic reactions in some customers and some people just don’t want pets near them when they eat.

There are a couple of exceptions to this. If the restaurant provides outdoor seating, then it is okay in most restaurants to bring a pet.

The second and most important exception is that people with service dogs can dine even inside of the restaurant. A person might have a service dog due to sight problems that are the most common reason for a service dog. There are also other reasons such as anxiety, depression, limb problem, or even diabetes.

Let’s see more in-depth about the health regulations and other reasons why dogs aren’t allowed into restaurants.

Health regulations

These regulations vary so greatly between the countries and even the states so it is hard to say whether it applies in our area, however in most areas, dogs aren’t allowed inside of the restaurants, ever. As previously stated, there are states in the US that do allow dogs into the outdoor seating section of the restaurant, but the majority of the states don’t allow this. I have listed all the 17 states below that allow pets for outdoor areas.

  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

And again, customers with a service dog can go anywhere regardless of the state and laws in there.


Safety is another concern why dogs aren’t allowed inside restaurants so let’s talk about these aspects next.

Many people have concerns about the safety that dogs might lower when they come into the establishment, partly because of health reasons and partly because of other factors. For example, many people have concerns that the dog might bite or start to ravage especially if it is a big one.

Also, there are people with severe allergies towards dogs, so if dogs would be approved inside of a restaurant and there was an allergic person, it could be a serious health risk and it could even load as a hospital trip for the allergic customer. Therefore letting dogs inside just isn’t an option.


The third reason which I can personally understand especially if the dog is big and the restaurant small is aesthetics. Many people have concerns about dogs and their behavior, and how it would disturb their peaceful dining experience. So it is understandable that restaurants need to think about the bigger picture and exclude dogs and pets in general for coming inside of the restaurant.

However, aesthetics aren’t a concern when there is wide outdoor seating provided, however, allergies could present problems in outdoor seating as well.

Now that it is clear why dogs aren’t allowed into restaurants, it’s good to recap why it would be wise to let dogs in the outdoor section of the restaurant because believe it or not, there are some pros to this as well!

Why should dogs be allowed in restaurants

Dog-friendly values can boost sales

If your restaurant’s brand is known for its dog-friendly values, and how you invite all dog owners to come and join for a grub, it will definitely gain sights to your direction. Advertising this in your social media accounts, having a couple of designated flyers and a small part of your banner advertising this aspect, will flood your restaurant with dog-loving persons.

On a side note, you should keep in mind that this might repel certain customers away from your restaurants if they are concerned about their health, safety, or if they just don’t like dogs.

Dog-friendliness will attract younger generations

It is no secret that most young children and adults love dogs and would be glad to bring their own to the dining session. In fact, the majority of young couples and families get a dog as their first pet, and they are really excited about it, therefore you could have a totally new customer group within your grasp if you have proper outdoor seating to do so.

Seeing a dog-friendly restaurant will attract customers

The biggest attraction to outdoor seating is that it looks comfortable, it is usually on the side of a road, and it is super convenient to just take a seat and order some food and drinks. This can be benefited greatly if you think about all the dog walkers passing by your restaurant so you should definitely take a closer look and if you notice that there are a decent amount of them passing by every day, make an announcement about it!

What are the rules on dogs in restaurants

Now, if you are making the choice to let dogs attend the outdoor seating section of your restaurant, there are certain rules that you must abide by in order to keep this aspect going in your restaurant, let’s see what those are.


If the restaurant is inside of a state or area that allows pets to the outdoor area, the employees are required to wash hands if they come in contact with the pet. In addition to that, employees should never touch the pet while serving the food.

Dog Owners

Another aspect is that the dog’s owner must keep the dog in a lease at all times. Also, the owner must take control of the pet and make sure that it doesn’t get out of under control. In addition, the dogs can’t get on chairs, tables, or any other furniture, and that these rules must be made clear to the owner. Therefore a note in the pet designated tables would be a great place to start.

The restaurant must also provide hand sanitizers for the owners in all the tables where dogs are allowed to go.

Food preparation area

Both the dog owners and employees must keep an eye on the pets, especially that they don’t get into the food preparation area which could contaminate the ingredients in the nearby area.

Pet waste

The final requirement is that if the pest would waste a certain area within the outdoor seating, there must be supplies for sanitizing and cleaning that pet waste.

Can restaurants ban service dogs

Restaurants can’t ban service dogs for many reasons. First of all, refusing service to a person that is coming in with a service dog is illegal, therefore the person must be served if he or she isn’t causing any problems which would result in a ban on other customers as well.

Additionally, it is highly unprofessional to refuse service if the person is trying to get a seat or order food when accompanied by a service dog.

However, according to ADA if the service dog is under control, and the owner doesn’t take effective action to control it, the staff may request that the animal removed from the area,

Can you ask someone if their dog is a service dog

If it is unclear if the dog really is a service dog or not, the staff may ask only two questions. The first question that can be asked is the service animal required because of a disability? The second question is what tasks have the dog been trained for. The staff can’t ask for the dog to perform tasks, ask for any documentation that the dog is actually a service dog, or ask anything about the owner’s disability.


As we can see, there are many reasons why restaurants just can’t allow dogs inside of the restaurants, and there are quite strict limitations as well for the outdoor possibilities as well.

All in all, the restaurant should think about the majority of the customers and if they offer outdoor seating, they would need to check the local laws and regulations, and only then they could decide whether they want dogs to be part of the restaurant’s values or not.

I hope this article gave you decent value and you can now understand why dog’s cant be allowed inside of a restaurant.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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