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8 Useful Etiquette Tips to Follow When Eating Out with Your Dog

How many of these etiquette tips do YOU follow?

In general, people love to eat out during the summer days and take their beloved furry friends with them, because this way you spend more quality time together and your meal will be more enjoyable.

And luckily, many restaurants around the world offer outdoor services, which allows people who own a dog the opportunity to take them when eating out.

But many people (especially those who are novice pet owners) don’t know that owning a dog requires some maintenance costs (which can be higher or lower depending on the breed) and certain social rules as well.

Of course, just like anything else in life, the etiquette rules change depending on where you go with your dog. For example, if you go for a walk in the park it’s important to take tools with you to collect your dog’s feces… not to mention that when you get there, you probably have to go to a specially designated space for dogs, but if you take your dog with you when dining out, then these social rules change a lot.

When eating out with your dog, it’s crucial to follow certain etiquette tips, be polite and know how to train your dog properly because having a dog that barks a lot at a restaurant (even though you are outdoors) can be quite annoying for other people.

So, in order to help you have an excellent dining companion and to make sure that everyone around you is happy, here are some etiquette tips to follow when eating out with your dog. Read on to find out more info!

Etiquette Tip
Photo by Olena Yakobchuk at Shutterstock

Etiquette Tip: Make sure that you know your pet well

Your dog’s personality and behavior: First and foremost, it’s essential to understand your dog’s personality traits and behavior. See their reaction around strangers and in public spaces and take it into consideration before choosing to eat out with them. For example, if they are anxious, bark a lot, or are too friendly when they interact with other animals or people, they may do the same at a restaurant and may disturb other people. Also, these factors depend not only on the dog breed but also on how appropriate the training sessions and the socializing process are. Even though your dog acts nicely at home during a meal, it doesn’t mean that they will act the same when eating in a public space being surrounded by a lot of strangers.

Your dog’s size and age: According to a former zookeeper and a certified animal trainer at Curiosity Trained, Stephanie Mantilla, one of the most important things that you have to keep in mind when turning your dog into your dining companion is their size and age. In other words, even if your dog is a gentle giant, they can cause accidents as well, especially if the space is small. Also, “Just because your dog is small doesn’t mean they are automatically good dining guests,” Mantilla added. When it comes to their age, it’s essential to remember that young dogs are more likely to get overwhelmed, scared, and excited than adult dogs.

Your dog’s fur: Before taking your dog with you when dining out, you should be aware that there are people who are allergic to them. Plus, try to groom them before, because eating next to a dog that smells bad can be quite disgusting for some people, not to mention that when they shake their coat, their hair can end up in their food.

Make sure your dog listens to your commands: If you are a dog owner, you probably already know that the most important commands are “sit”, “lie down” and “no”. If your adorable dog is not familiar with them, then a good etiquette tip is that it is probably a bad idea to take them with you when eating out.

Etiquette Tip: Know the restaurant’s policies

Knowing the restaurant’s policies in advance is crucial, of course, if you don’t want to feel embarrassed when certain restaurant entry conditions are imposed on you. According to a certified animal behaviorist specializing in canines and a consultant to the website Dog Owner, Jeff Carbridge, each restaurant has its own different rules, so you have to choose the one that’s right for you and your dog.

Hence, a good etiquette tip to follow is to check their website, reviews and policies. If they are not exposed on their online platform, then try to call them. It’s also important to make sure that there is enough space between the tables because as I said before, some people are allergic or scared of dogs, and your main aim is to be polite, to enjoy your meal and make everyone happy with you and your dining friend, right?

Etiquette Tip: Call the restaurant staff beforehand

Once you have discovered the restaurant’s policies, whether you already know the restaurant or have checked their website, it’s a good idea to call ahead to tell them that you will be there with your dog or to make a reservation (why not?). After this process, be sure to mention what you want your dog to have, such as a bowl of water, a chair, and so on.

Etiquette Tip: Choose the right table

If you want to take your dog with you when eating out, you have to make some compromises, even if it means choosing a table in a corner of the terrace. However, by having a corner table, your dining experience will be more pleasant not only because your dog won’t get anxious and overwhelmed by people around you (as obviously there are fewer tables around), but also because people won’t be bothered by your beloved furry friend.

Etiquette Tip
Photo by sirtravelalot at Shutterstock

Etiquette Tip: Opt for a harness and a short leash, but don’t tie it to furniture

Many people choose retractable leashes when they take their furry friends for a walk in the park, but things have to change once you change the location. In other words, when you eat at a restaurant with your pet, try to opt for a harness and a short leash to keep your dog and other people safe.

According to Erin DeAngelis, a dog behavior expert with Pet Supplies Plus, “Dogs can easily slip out of collars, so a harness gives you more control if there is anything startling or when a dog is pulling at the table.”

In addition, another common mistake that people make when turning their dogs into restaurant dining companions is to tie their leashes to the table, chair, or other pieces of furniture. This mistake should be avoided not only because they can get hurt or ruin the furniture, but also because they can make annoying noises by pulling the furniture, which can bother people around you. Instead, a good etiquette tip would be to “loop it around your wrist,” added Carbridge.

Etiquette Tip: Don’t feed your dog from your plate

According to Sarah Wooten, DVM, a veterinarian expert at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, “Feeding your dog from your plate will reinforce begging at the table, and a lot of restaurant food is not healthy for dogs to eat.”

An important etiquette tip to remember is that you are not the only one eating at a restaurant, so try to respect people around you as well. That being said, feeding your pet directly from your plate can be quite disgusting for other diners, as well as the restaurant staff. Plus, there are certain bacteria or viruses that can be easily transmitted to humans through the dog’s saliva. If you do this at home, try to avoid such behavior at a restaurant.

Nevertheless, restaurants can be like real temptations for your dog who is always hungry, right? So, try to feed your dog in advance and bring treats with you as well. In this way, your dog won’t bark at other diners to get some food.

Etiquette Tip
Photo by Olesia Bilkei at Shutterstock

Etiquette Tip: Don’t force your dog to interact with other pets

One of the most common mistakes that many people make when dining out with their furry friends is to force their dog to interact with others or to feed other dogs. Even though they are adorable and make those ‘puppy eyes’ to melt your heart and get food, you should definitely avoid this! “Do not feed any dog you don’t know. Even healthy-looking dogs can have underlying health conditions that result in food restrictions,” DeAngelis says.

Nonetheless, forcing your dog to interact with other pets just because you want them to have another canine companion while you enjoy your meal is a huge mistake, as you risk creating a fight between them and causing them to adopt an aggressive behavior that could be dangerous for them and other diners as well.

Etiquette Tip: Don’t place your dog at the table next to you

Of course your dog is like your child and your best friend, but it’s better for both of you if you seat them on the floor. Otherwise, they risk getting food off the table, as well as eating from your plate and being considered uncouth by other people. However, try to keep them away from walkways, doors and children.

If you liked this article about etiquette tips to follow when you’re eating out with your dog, we’ve got many more amazing suggestions for you! We highly recommend reading: 20 Problem Solving Items That Make Having A Dog Even Simpler

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