Reasons Why Dogs Shouldn’t Be Allowed in Restaurants

As a dog lover, you find it unfair that Fido has to sit outside while you enjoy your meal inside. You know for a fact that your pup wouldn’t hurt a fly, and they’re so docile and well-mannered too. Why aren’t dogs allowed in restaurants?

Here are 8 reasons why dogs should be forbidden from restaurants:

  • People have pet allergies
  • Canine phobias
  • Dogs can become unpredictable 
  • Accidents happens 
  • Dogs can eat off other customers’ plates
  • Dog-on-dog aggression
  • Lots of barking
  • Too easy for dogs to get back in the kitchen 

 In today’s article, we’ll take you through all eight reasons why dogs shouldn’t be allowed access to restaurants unless the canine is a service animal. By the time you’re done reading, you too might agree that dogs and restaurants just don’t mix.

8 Compelling Reasons That Dogs Shouldn’t Be Allowed in Restaurants

People Have Pet Allergies

Let’s start with a very convincing reason to keep dogs out of restaurants: allergies.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America or AAFA, between 10 and 20 percent of people around the world are allergic to pets like cats or dogs. 

In a restaurant, a person with a pet allergy has a reasonable expectation that their fine dining experience won’t be marred by allergy symptoms since no pets will be around. 

Once you add dogs to the equation, that’s no longer the case. A person with pet allergies will soon begin suffering from congestion, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing.

Now, dog lovers who are big proponents of dogs being allowed in restaurants might argue that they could just groom their dogs ahead of dining out to limit the flow of loose fur.

While that’s the polite thing to do regardless (who wants dog hair in their food?), it’s not going to help the allergy sufferers much.

You see, when someone is allergic to a pet, there’s a common misconception that it’s the cat or dog’s coat that causes the symptoms. What the allergy sufferer is really allergic to is pet dander.

Dander is comprised of dead skin (or feathers in the case of birds), not fur. The dead skin can travel on shed fur, but the fur itself does not cause allergy symptoms.

Since every dog has skin, every dog is at risk of activating someone’s allergy symptoms.

Okay, but what about hypoallergenic dogs, you ask?

Well, a hypoallergenic dog doesn’t eliminate symptoms entirely, just reduces their likelihood and intensity.

Thus, it would still be unfair for a dander allergy sufferer to dine in a restaurant with even a hypoallergenic dog nearby. 

Canine Phobias

Cynophobia is known as the fear of dogs. 

Cleveland Clinic states that approximately nine percent of adults in the United States have cynophobia, which is one in three people.

All it takes is having one negative experience with a dog, whether in childhood or adulthood, and cynophobia can take hold. 

Cleveland Clinic notes that people with this phobia can become triggered if they know a dog will be somewhere they’re going, if they see a film or TV show with a dog in it, if they hear a dog growling or barking, or if they see a dog, even if the dog is on a leash.

A restaurant is not a reasonable place to see a dog. Someone with cynophobia could go out to a restaurant expecting to have a nice time with their loved ones and then find themselves triggered by the presence of a dog or several in the establishment.

What’s worse is that now that they’ve seen a dog in the restaurant, they can’t trust that the restaurant won’t ever have a dog again. They might not even want to dine out at all in the fear of seeing a dog. 

Dog phobias are very real to the sufferers. They may be actively working on reducing their fear, or to them, avoidance is how they reduce their fear. 

It’s one thing if someone with cynophobia goes to a park, as you can expect that a dog might be there. A restaurant is different. 

It’s unfair to introduce a dog to places where they usually do not go such as a restaurant.  

Dogs Can Become Unpredictable When in a Boisterous Environment

The mindset of dog owners from the intro is common. 

They might have the sweetest dog ever who’s an angel when walking around the neighborhood or at home. The dog doesn’t misbehave and has never displayed an ounce of aggression ever. 

It’s great to have such a well-behaved canine, and you should enjoy that every chance that you can. 

However, you have to remember that at the end of the day, a dog is an animal. Yes, they’re a domesticated animal, but an animal, nonetheless.

Animals behave unpredictably, especially in situations that they’ve never been in before. 

What happens when you put your dog in the middle of a busy, loud place such as a restaurant?

Although you might like to think that you know how your dog would react, especially if you’ve shared many years with your canine companion, the fact of the matter is, you simply don’t know and can’t say.

Your dog has never been in a situation like that, so you’ve never seen them react to these stimuli.

They could be calm, or they could very well begin acting aggressively even if that’s not a side of themselves they’ve shown. All dogs have the capacity to be aggressive, after all, especially when they feel threatened or scared.

You could be causing your dog significant stress just so you can bring them out with you to eat. Is it worth it for the dog? In most cases, no. 

Accidents Happen

Even if your pooch didn’t become aggressive in a strange situation, then they’d likely turn anxious and fearful instead. 

Besides the whimpering and crying, your poor dog could also have an accident. 

That’s not the only instance in which it’s likely for a dog to urinate or defecate in a restaurant. If the dog is overexcited, they could have an accident. 

Dogs that are trying to mark their territory will urinate, and territory marking is a lot likelier with strange dogs in the vicinity.

Even if a dog wasn’t panicked at all and was enjoying some food and beverage at a restaurant with their human owner, filling their bellies and their bladders increase the risk of accidents as well.

What is a restaurant supposed to do if a dog has an accident? Well, someone to clean it up immediately, that’s for sure. 

The restaurant might have to hire staff specifically to take care of dog messes, as it’s not like the cook or the waitstaff can stop what they’re doing and possibly contaminate a customer’s order to take care of dog poop or urine.

Even if the restaurant added an outdoor potty area for canines, this still wouldn’t solve the problem. 

The dogs are eating inside, not outside. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that a dog owner would be able to get their dog outside in enough time to prevent an accident. 

Fecal matter and urine in a restaurant reduce the cleanliness of the establishment. If this happens often enough, then a health inspector could come by and check the restaurant. 

Should the restaurant fail enough health inspections, that could be the end.  

Dogs Can Eat Off Other Customers’ Plates

If dogs were to be allowed into restaurants, and that’s obviously a huge if, they would be leashed up.

Even still, many leashes are adjustable, allowing a dog to gain more distance than perhaps their owner wants. 

In other cases, a dog that especially wants to get something such as food can pull until it’s free of its leash.

Then, before you know it, the dog is freely able to access the plates of other customers, where the dog will begin to munch, slurp, and eat greedily. This is a dog’s dream, after all, a nearly unlimited supply of people food! 

It doesn’t matter what kind of cuisine we’re talking about, when you order food at a restaurant, you’re paying for it and thus you want to be the one to enjoy it. Maybe you’re willing to share, but that’s your decision.

If you were going to share, it would be with another person, not a dog. You don’t even know this dog, which makes it worse.

Could the dog bite? Scratch? Attack? It’s impossible to say. So the dog scarfs down as much of the meal as they want, as the person feels helpless to stop the canine.

They can certainly pick a bone with the dog’s owner though, which will lead to a confrontation. That confrontation can start out verbal but become physical if feelings get heated enough. 

Then the restaurant staff will likely have to kick both people out.

Even if a dog eating off someone else’s plate didn’t result in a physical confrontation, the affected customer is still going to want the issue remediated by the restaurant. It’s technically the restaurant’s fault for allowing dogs in the first place, after all.

The restaurant would either have to refund the order or make it again without charging the customer. Both result in the restaurant losing money, as it’s not exactly like food ingredients are free. 

It’s just a bad situation all around. 

Possible Dog-on-Dog Aggression

We talked before about how hard it is to predict how your dog will behave when in a new and uncomfortable situation. 

Even if your dog wasn’t the aggressor in an instance like that, that doesn’t mean that another dog wouldn’t be. 

Dog-on-dog aggression is very scary to witness. There’s a lot of growling and attacking, and it can be very hard to separate the two canines. 

Anyone who attempts to get the dogs away from each other could end up getting attacked and bitten themselves. 

It’s a large enough spectacle that a good deal of the customers in the restaurant would likely leave out of fear. The local paper and even the local news station would probably want to cover what happened as well.

It would be very hard to convince people to come back to the restaurant after that, especially if dogs were still allowed on the premises. This kind of reputational damage would cost the restaurant in the long run as they continually lose business. 

Further, if someone’s dog gets seriously hurt at the restaurant because it was attacked by another dog, the dog owner can sue the restaurant. That’s also going to cost the establishment a lot of money. 

Lots of Barking

While some breeds bark more than others, all dogs bark. When in a strange situation with other canines such as eating in a restaurant, you can prepare for a whole lot more barking than usual.

The reason comes down to why dogs bark. They can do it to express their emotions, to verbally mark territory, ward off predators, or get the attention of their owner so they can get out of the restaurant.

A restaurant is all about creating that perfect ambiance, and it has everything to do with the lighting, décor, furniture, and music.

The dogs will drown out the music in an instant with their incessant barking. 

Have you ever gone out to eat or gone to see a movie and there was a baby crying nonstop? It drove you up a wall, right?

That’s how the dog-less customers at the restaurant will feel. They’ll begin complaining to the manager, and some might even demand refunds. 

Again, this type of behavior is going to hurt business rather than help it. 

Too Easy for Dogs to Get Back into the Kitchen 

Did you know that dog breeds such as the Greyhound can run at speeds of 40 miles per hour? Even the more common pet the German Shepherd has top speeds of 35 MPH.

To put it simply, dogs are fast, especially when there’s something they want, such as food. 

When the chefs or waitstaff open the kitchen doors and a dog gets a whiff of what’s cooking in the back, they’re going to want to get in on the action.

If the dog can wriggle free of its leash or unwrap the leash from the dining chair, then voila, they’re free. 

In the blink of an eye, the dog can make its way to the kitchen, where it would cause complete chaos.

There are many people working in a restaurant kitchen, so it’s already busy enough back there as it is. 

With all the hubbub of the dog being in the kitchen, panic will ensue. Dishes could be dropped, hot ingredients could be splashed, and people could end up seriously hurt. That includes the dog as well! 

The restaurant could also suffer a whole laundry list of health code violations for letting a live animal in the kitchen. 


There you have it, eight very convincing reasons why dogs should not be allowed in restaurants. It’s for everyone’s safety, enjoyment, and for less stress in canines that they stay at home while you go out!

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