Sharing a meal is fun, engaging and intimate. It’s one of the best ways to spend quality time with loved ones. If you’re a pet parent, wouldn’t you like to dine out with your dog? It is an excellent way to bond!

But there are a few twists when dining with our furry buddies. For starters, not all eateries welcome our four-legged companions. Also, the FDA still prohibits eateries and diners from hosting animals within enclosed spaces.

Fortunately, there are dozens of review websites, and excellent pet-friendly restaurants are no longer like needles in haystacks.

The following dos and don’ts for dining out with your dog will help you plan better and save you from many embarrassing moments.

The Do’s

Do your homework

Look for reviews and find out what other dog owners say about the establishment. Call in and learn more about their pet policy or animal rules. You could save yourself some embarrassing moments. For example, some establishments only allow service dogs on their premises. Pet-friendly restaurants also have specific rules on behavior and how to control your pet. You wouldn’t want to have an egg on your face just when you’ve arrived.

Also, ask about their menu for pets. Find out if the dog meals are nutritionally sound and appropriate. The meals should be protein-rich and contain other ingredients essential for maintaining good health. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends that dog food contains at least 18% and 8% dry matter protein for puppies and adults.

If you like the place, animal policy, and menu, go ahead and make reservations! The following dos and don’ts will help you and your dog have a great time during the date night.

Do bring distractions

It’s not like you want to distract Fido all the time and have no intimate moments. But, you will need something to take Fido’s attention away from the movement and sounds. Remember, it is a public space and bound to have plenty of strangers and new sounds.

A distraction like a chew toy or treat-filled puzzle could save you from some embarrassing moments. It will not just help keep Fido busy but also help keep you calm while waiting.

Also, bring Fido’s water bowl

Pet-friendly restaurants often have pet-loving staffers. Waiters could sometimes play with pet-friendly dogs and give treats. Such staffers could even bring an extra bowl for Fido’s water.

But that’s not always the case. Not all pet-friendly restaurants go the extra mile to please your pooch. Bring along Fido’s water bowl whenever you want to dine out. It will come in handy when your dog wants a drink.

Be courteous to other guests, staff, and pets

It’s not like it’s a sin if Fido briefly lays his paws on the table, but try to practice good table manners. Help your furry buddy remain calm and avoid sitting on your lap, on a chair, or on the table. Fido should sit or lie down next to you all the time. But, don’t block service pathways, and do not allow your dog to roam.

Ask a friend to tag along

Dining alone with your furry buddy would be perfect. But there are instances when three is not a crowd. A pal could come in handy. They can help watch Fido, especially when you need to use the restroom or step out briefly.

The Don’ts

Don’t go in before taking care of your dog

Don’t go in before your dog does his exercise routine, grooms, and feeds. Exercise helps to keep him calm, and grooming ensures Fido is clean and doesn’t smell like a dumpster. Also, ensure Fido goes for a short call just before going out. You don’t want him toileting on the floor and bothering other guests.

Don’t allow your dog to be overly curious

Take your furry buddy out dining only if they are socialized and would be comfortable around other people and pets. If your dog is not socialized, he could be unruly, loud, and a bother to staffers and other guests.

But you could be thinking Fido is pleasant and social.

Even so, all dogs can be as curious as cats. Don’t allow Fido to approach and interact with strangers. It may be a pet-friendly restaurant, but many people fear dogs. And you should not assume everyone in the restaurant loves dogs. Your dog could make them uncomfortable.

Don’t share utensils

Don’t allow your pet to feed from your plate or bowl. It could disturb other guests. Besides, the FDA has rules prohibiting that behavior. Also, don’t permit Fido to lick your cutlery or plate! Ask for special pet utensils and use them instead.

Don’t be offended if the management asks you to leave

Since Fido has a mind of his own, he could be anxious or uncomfortable about a particular restaurant. Your dog could bark, make a fuss, and make other guests uncomfortable. Don’t be offended if the restaurant management asks you to leave. If dogs could speak, Fido would say he did not like it there, and you would leave anyway.

A Final Word

If it’s your first time dining with your dog at a pet-friendly restaurant, keep this list handy. Also, plan to go during off-peak hours. That way, you’ll have enough time to check out the best meals for your dog. Remember to ask a friend to tag along and keep checking Fido’s mood. Dining out will be easier and more enjoyable as you go out more often.


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