Can You Feed a Dog in a Restaurant?

There are laws as to whether you can take your dog to a restaurant. In the United States, it is different for every state. As a pet owner, it is up to you if you think your dog is well behaved enough to come out with you while you are dining. 

There are some dog-friendly restaurants. Some restaurants even have a dog-appropriate menu just for them. Some states are opting now to let the restaurant owner decide whether to allow dogs to come with their guardian.

Service dogs must always be allowed to come with their owners, regardless of the rules concerning companion dogs. As for other dogs, if they are allowed, they must be outside with their pet parent. Read this article to discover more about dogs and restaurants. 

What Are the Rules Concerning Feeding a Dog in a Restaurant?

The rules concerning allowing dogs at a restaurant are really up to the restaurant and the owner. If the owner says it is okay, dogs can dine outside, but not inside, unless they are service dogs. There are some guidelines that some restaurants follow if they allow dogs there. These include:

  • Dogs can only enter the outdoor dining area from outside, but not anywhere food is being prepared

  • Prepare food indoors, which keeps it away from dogs outside

  • Service dogs are allowed in other areas of the restaurant

  • Companion dogs must be licensed and vaccinated

  • Guardians of the dog must either keep it on a leash held by them or tied to the table or leg of the chair

  • If food or water is given to the dog, it needs to be in single-use disposable containers, as they may not eat from plates or bowls given to customers

  • If staff should happen to pet the pup, they must wash their hands with soap and water immediately afterword

  • Dogs are not permitted on chairs, benches, or other furniture, and they may not stand or sit in the aisles

Restaurants that do not comply with these rules could receive a notice of violation and a fine of up to $350. There may be other rules concerning how many dogs are allowed in the restaurant or the size and breed of dogs allowed. 

Are There Any Chain Restaurants That Allow Dogs?

You know you have been there when you take your dog out for a walk, and you start to get hungry. There is a restaurant just up ahead. You would like to take a break for a bite to eat, but you are unsure if your precious pup will be welcome. Don’t worry. 

Some chain restaurants will allow your dog to dine with you. “Dog-Friendly” is now a term used by restaurant owners. It means something different to every restaurant that allows dogs. The dog-friendly establishments include:

Dairy Queen

The best place to get an Oreo cookie blizzard, this ice cream store allows you to hang outside with your pup while you enjoy your blizzard or milkshake. Most Dairy Queen locations will offer your pup a free vanilla ice cream cone. What a lucky dog!

Bruster’s Real Ice Cream

Another yummy ice cream shop, this one will sometimes offer your pup a free vanilla ice cream cone as well. You and your dog can “chill” on the patio or sitting area and enjoy the scenery.  

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar

This restaurant is dog friendly, which offers your canine companion foods that are safe for them to eat, such as chicken breasts and brown rice. Every Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar has a lovely patio.

Johnny Rockets

This restaurant has a plethora of dog-friendly locations. Three Dog bakery teamed up with the restaurant to make gourmet treats for your pup. Hamburgers, lickety-split ice cream, and “pupcakes” are all part of a menu for pampered pooches. 

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger locations offer a pup-appropriate menu. They can give your dog an unseasoned burger called “The Puppy Patty.”  It also has smothered “Animal Fries” for your pup. They also offer grilled cheese. The menu is safe for your dog. 


Not only does Starbucks have the best lattes, but they also have a wonderful patio you can sit with your dog. They offer dogs something called a “puppuccino,” which is a tiny cup filled with whipped cream. Puppuccinos are free of charge.  

Shake Shack

This restaurant has a popular dog hang-out for your pup to go and play. They offer something called a Pooch-ini, which is a dessert for dogs made of dog biscuits and vanilla custard. You can also get a “Bag O’Bones,” which is a bag that contains dog biscuits made by New York’s Bocce Bakery. 


This restaurant is a cupcake dessert spot. They have a dessert menu just for dogs. “Pupcakes” are made from sugar, eggs whites, and buttermilk. They also have a safer, dog-friendly, sugar-free cupcake. The cupcakes come with a yogurt frosting.  

What About Service Dogs?

A service dog is specifically taught to help someone with a disability by doing things that may be difficult for them to do. The use of a service animal is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These dogs are allowed to go wherever their person goes. 

Some of the things that service animals do for their person include:

  • Pull wheelchairs

  • Retrieve items (phones, keys, medicine, wallet, etc.)

  • Guiding the visually impaired

  • Calling attention to sounds or people for the hearing impaired

  • Helping their person when they have a seizure

  • Helping someone who has a disorder with a psychiatric episode

  • Detecting allergens (life-threatening allergies)

  • Giving balance support for those who have mobility issues

Service dogs can go anywhere in public that their person goes, and they are granted access to all public places. Service animals are not considered “companion animals.” They are not banned because of healthcare laws prohibiting animals from entering a public place, such as a restaurant.

Neither staff nor a restaurant nor owner can ask for proof or certification for the dog from the disabled individual. 

You may only ask two questions regarding their service dog. These include:

  • Is your dog necessary due to a disability?

  • What work has your service dog been trained to perform? 

Any other questions are considered a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

What Are Some Tips to Know When Taking Dog to a Restaurant?

  • Bring your water bowl

  • Choose to sit in a quiet location away from traffic

  • Bring chew toys or food stuffed toys to keep them occupied

  • Make sure your pup minds their manners

  • Keep your dog on a leash

The more you practice obedience cues, the better your dog will act in public. Practice with your dog a lot before you take them to a restaurant. 


There is much debate over whether restaurants should allow dogs in their outdoor area. Many people feel that restaurants should adhere to the laws concerning the matter.

However, many others feel that restaurant owners should be the ones to make the call. Restaurant owners must decide if they are willing to risk losing business either way. 

However, they also know it would make pet owners feel very welcome to bring their dogs. If you would like to take your canine companion to a restaurant, make sure they are dog friendly.

Also read: How Do Cat Cafes Pass Health Inspections?


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