Tips to follow when dining out with your dog


Dogs WelcomeUnless you’re on reality television, you probably wouldn’t dream of taking your dog to an upscale dinner party and letting her drink out of the host’s ($500!) wine glasses. It’s also unlikely that you would let your dog get away with lifting his leg on a restaurant chair or climbing up on the table and gobbling up the entire Thanksgiving ham.

These horrifying instances all fall into extreme cases of “what not to do.” But do you know the proper etiquette for every day dining out with your pooch?

With the rising popularity of food trailers and outdoor patios, opportunities for dining out with your furry friends are on the rise. Matt Shepperd, owner of dog-friendly Roots Bistro in Georgetown, shares a few tips to remember the next time you dine out with your canine family members.

Call Ahead

“Before you enter,” says Matt, “always check to see if the establishment allows pets.” Matt suggests calling the restaurant in advance or sending someone inside to check while you wait outside with your dog. As a rule of thumb, restaurants like Roots that allow you to order at the counter and take your food outside are more likely to accommodate dogs than restaurants that offer indoor seating only.

Use the Doggie Door

Because of health regulations, most dog-friendly restaurants have alternate or side doors available so you can take your furry friends directly outside without having to enter the establishment. Roots offers a side entrance to the patio from Austin Avenue. “It’s easy access,” says Matt.

Tag Team

If it’s necessary to go inside to order food, Matt suggests making the dining experience a group effort. One person can order food inside at the counter, while the other person takes the dogs directly out to the patio and reserves a table for the group. That way, your pooch won’t break health code or disturb patrons who may choose to eat inside due to dog allergies.

Use a Leash

Make sure your dog is on a leash at all times. Even the best behaved dogs can be protective or inquisitive in new environments. Keep your pet on a short leash so that she isn’t underfoot when the waiter comes by, advises Matt.

Use Disposable Bowls . . . or Bring Your Own

Never allow your dog to eat or drink out of non-disposable restaurant glasses or dishes. Besides possibly offending other patrons, it’s just bad manners! Rest assured, however: Most dog-friendly restaurants provide disposable water bowls, and “people are welcome to bring their own dog food or treats,” says Matt.

And above all . . .

Be Respectful

When you take your four-legged friend out in public, make sure that he is well behaved. “Courtesy is the biggest thing,” says Matt. This means that barking and socializing with other pets or patrons should be kept to a minimum so that dogs and humans alike can share a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.

By Rachel Brownlow

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