Six Interesting Facts About Dining Out with Dogs


People who travel with their dogs and take them around town have probably dined at an outdoor restaurant, coffee shop or fast food restaurant with their pooch. While U.S. state health codes usually ban pet dogs from the inside seating areas of restaurants, there is often the question of whether or not dogs are allowed at outdoor dining areas. has investigated this situation, including Federal, state and local laws, and whether or not it is legal to dine outside at a restaurant with a dog. Here are six interesting facts about dining out with dogs…


1. There are no Federal laws prohibiting dogs at restaurants. The FDA Food Code is a recommendation, not a law. Federal Law requires restaurants to allow service dogs for the handicapped both inside and outside.


2. State laws govern the restaurant health codes. Not the Federal Government. Many States incorporate parts of the FDA Food Code into their laws.


3. If a state doesn’t allow dogs at outdoor restaurants then cities or counties in most states may allow it locally by issuing a variance (exception) to the state code. Cities may implement these variances through an ordinance or simply through the health department. Variances can be allowed for all restaurants or individually.


4. Even if allowed by law the final decision is up to the restaurant owner who may choose to allow or not allow dogs.


5. Best States for Outdoor Dog-Friendly Restaurants:
1. California
2. Florida


6. Best Cities in Other States for Outdoor Dog-Friendly Restaurants because of local ordinances or variances:
1. Austin, TX
2. Alexandria, VA

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