Visiting dog friendly places to eat

As restaurants, pubs and cafes begin to reopen, we expect more people will want to dine out with the option to bring their dog. With over 9000 dog friendly places to eat in the UK, there are a range of places for you to choose from when going out for a meal or meeting for a coffee.

New research undertaken by us has found that a quarter of dog owners have previously cancelled plans because they couldn’t find anyone to look after their dog. To avoid this, we’re encouraging businesses to open for dogs, and dog owners to dine with your dog!

Owners

Visiting a dog friendly restaurant, pub or cafe is a great way for you to enjoy a meal out and socialise without having to leave your dog at home. 72% of owners say they are more likely to visit a restaurant, pub or cafe if their dog can come too. With this in mind, we have put together some information and advice on how to plan and enjoy heading out with your dog responsibly.

Benefits for you and your dog

There are lots of benefits for you and your dog when taking them to a dog friendly restaurant, pub or café. Whether you purchased a puppy during the Covid-19 pandemic or have spent extra time with your dog during lockdown, it can be difficult for your dog to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Therefore, taking them with you can be a huge benefit if they are well-trained and socialised. Find out more about some of the benefits below.

  • Your dog is not left alone at home
  • Reduces separation anxiety
  • Enables your dog to get used to different environments
  • No need to rush home for your dog after dinner – you can relax and enjoy the meal for longer!
  • Great way to meet up with friends and their dogs
  • Dogs are an easy way to break the ice with someone new – there are so many stories you can tell about your dog! If the restaurant has a special area for dog owners to sit together, it is a great way to meet fellow dog owners
Things to think about before going
  • Consider whether your dog will be comfortable surrounded by other people and dogs
  • Research the restaurant, pub or cafe by looking at their website and calling beforehand, or searching dog friendly places to eat for information and reviews
  • Reserve a table at a time when the restaurant is quieter and in the best location for your dog
  • Is your dog ok with sitting/staying if needed?
Preparing for visiting a restaurant, pub or cafe
  • Feed your dog before going out so they are less likely to be tempted by any food
  • Ensure your dog has been walked or exercised before visiting so they will settle when you sit down to eat/drink
  • Take treats and dog toys with you so if your dog needs a distraction you have something for them
Once you are at the restaurant, pub or cafe

Once you arrive at the restaurant, pub or cafe, be sure to make sure your dog is happy. They are most likely to be excitable at first, so remain calm and they will soon settle down into their new surroundings. Below are some top tips for when you are at the restaurant, pub or café.

  • Use a short lead. This will act as a safety device so that your dog doesn’t run away and will also prevent a trip hazard
  • Make sure you don’t attach your dog’s lead to a table or chair because these are not necessarily secure and can injure your dog and other people
  • Refrain from feeding your dog at the table. It may encourage them to think its ok to go up to other customers for food and human foods can be harmful to dogs
  • Be mindful that some diners might not want to interact with your dog
  • Make sure to praise your dog when they are behaving, this should be a positive experience for them
  • Keep an eye on your dog and make sure they seem relaxed, safe and comfortable in their new surroundings

Most importantly enjoy your visit to a dog friendly restaurant, pub or cafe with your dog! For a list of 'Open for Dog' places, see the Be Dog Friendly website.

Businesses

With 12 million dogs across the UK, welcoming man’s best friend can encourage customers to stay longer and spend more money. In fact, more than half (55%) of owners claim they would stay longer at a place if they had their dog with them, and 52% said they would spend more.

Since two in three new dog owners believe that establishments would benefit from being dog friendly, citing reasons from making the atmosphere more friendly to enjoying being around dogs, we have compiled some guidance on how you can do this.   

Preparing to make your business ‘Open for Dogs’

Once you have decided you are ready to make your establishment 'Open for Dogs', you should make sure you put all the below in place. We have also created some downloads for you to print out to make sure you have everything you need.

  • Create a policy or guidelines, for example mapping out areas where dogs can and can’t go
  • Add your policy or guidelines to your website
  • Download our 'Open for Dogs' sign and place this in areas where dog owners can take their dog
  • Discuss with employees to ensure they are comfortable with the dog friendly policy
  • Make sure there is adequate spacing between tables to allow for dogs to enter and exit, and sit or lie down
  • If it’s a hot day, ensure there is somewhere which has access to shade or an umbrella to reduce the chance of heatstroke
  • Provide access to water bowls especially on hot days
  • We have created an 'Open for Dogs' sticker that you can request to be sent to you to show dog owners you are a dog friendly business
Fun things you can do:
  • Why not have dog treats or even a dog menu on offer for your customers?
  • Create a designated area for dog customers to sit together
  • Create a ‘regulars’ dog wall with pictures of all the regular dog visitors you have