Our dogs have become our constant companions, accompanying us on life’s adventures near and far. For many people, it has become a common practice to take your pup along even on everyday errands. More restaurants are beginning open to the idea of welcoming dogs. This is fortunate news for foodie pet parents who love to get a bite to eat but don’t want to leave their sweet pup home alone. The number of dog-friendly restaurants is increasing both nationally and worldwide.
Not every restaurant chain is as welcoming to canine customers as others, so it is wise to be informed before taking your pooch out to eat. Nothing is worse than being turned away at the door, making a hard choice about what to do with your pet, or just giving up on your meal altogether.
The good news is several national restaurant chains are very open and welcoming to canine customers. Some places even offer unique dishes specially for dogs and have areas for puppies to play and feel comfortable. Let’s take a look at some of the top dog-friendly restaurants.
Explain The Meaning Of “Dog-Friendly”
Before we get into much detail about which restaurants it’s okay to take your dog to, we should explain what the term dog-friendly means. Being dog-friendly does not mean your pooch can pull up a chair and order a plate. In most localities, it is against the health code to have animals and food together in the same place. This means that in many places, only service animals are allowed indoors.
Many eateries offer outdoor seating and patio areas that are accommodating to dogs. Some businesses will provide canine-specific menu items and areas for pups to have access to drinking water, lay in the shade, and enjoy an afternoon out with their owners. However, owners should only expect restaurants, in general, to allow dogs to come in with restrictions. The term dog-friendly has a wide range, from dogs being allowed on a patio to dog-centric menu items.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants In The United States
Before going to any restaurant with your dog, national chain, or local spot, check their website or get in touch to ensure they are pet-friendly. This is important because every state is different, and some establishments are franchises and may have rules that do not allow pets.
We are listing these restaurants in alphabetical order.
Applebee’s offers classic American food, cocktails, beers, and a fun ambiance. Many locations are amiable to dog diners as long as they stay in outdoor seating. Check with your preferred location, and ask about their “Yappy Hour” events. These are special dog-friendly events with food and drink deals. Service animals are the only kind allowed to dine indoors.
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill
Spicy dishes, crisp beer, and dogs are allowed on the patio. This chain restaurant serves up tasty tapas and has no problem with dogs hanging out outside. A perfect place for a casual lunch after the park.
Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
Bruster’s is an ice cream chain located in 22 states and internationally, including Guyana and South Korea. They serve every kind of delectable ice cream treat one can imagine. Most locations are walk-up, and several have patio seating. Some locations even give Fido a tasty little treat courtesy of the house. Of course, this varies by location, so check with your local store before heading out.
Cracker Barrel is a long-standing nationwide chain known for classic breakfast treats. The chain is known for its large, comfortable porches and fun and nostalgic country stores. Relax on the rocking chairs and enjoy a hot coffee with man’s best friend.
Chick-fil-A does not let dogs inside but offers a Pup Cup at some locations. A scoop of vanilla topped with a doggie biscuit is a nice treat in the drive-through on a hot or cold day.
While Dairy Queen does not allow dogs inside, many locations have pup-friendly patios. Additionally, when going through the drive-through, ask for a “pup cup,” a tasty vanilla soft-serve treat, and a dog biscuit made just for your pup.
In-N-Out Burger often allows dogs outside. They also have two secret doggie dishes. Ask for the Pup Patty- a 100% unseasoned hamburger patty, or if you have a hefty pup, ask for the Flying Dutchman. Two tasty burger patties and two slices of cheese.
Joe’s Crab Shack
Joe’s Crab Shack offers seafood and a place to have a nice meal with your pooch. Many locations have canine-friendly patios, but so far, no doggie menu items.
Are you looking for a good sandwich or chili dog? Johnny Rockets has both. Many locations will let your pooch hang on the patio. Some locations even have a pooch-specific menu with Pupcakes, doggy burgers, and ice cream.
Lazy Dog stands out on the list because every single location has a patio, and dogs are welcome on all of them. Make sure to verify with your location just to be sure, but this West Coast-based chain is all about dogs. They also have menu items that are paw patron appropriate and served without seasonings.
Panera Bread is known for having a paw-friendly patio. Diners can order and eat outside while their bark baby snoozes in the shade.
Olive Garden has some restaurants with patios, and a few do allow pups outside. Of course, this varies by location, so check ahead of time. Pasta, breadsticks and your PFF (Pooch Friend for Life) sound like a perfect evening out.
Raising Cane’s is a chicken chain named after a beloved Yellow Lab who loved people. Even today, a real-life Yellow lab serves as the chain’s mascot and works as a therapy dog. Four-legged friends are welcome on the patio and can get a drink from the doggie water fountain. Share a nice chicken tender lunch with your canine friend, either on the patio or from the drive-through.
Rock & Brews
Rock & Brews is an American chain restaurant in Florida, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Kansas. They have a dog menu and welcome bark buddies of all sizes to the patio. This chain even has doggie beer.
Shake Shack is another burger place that opens its patio doors wide to four-legged diners. They also have a pup menu with a vanilla custard dish and doggy biscuits.
Sprinkles is a cupcake shop that currently has locations in nine states. They have a pupcake made for canine kings and queens. Sugar-free, flash frozen, and topped with a tasty yogurt frosting. Sounds good enough for paw parents to eat.
Starbucks has tasty coffee, and it is common to find a canine or two sitting outside with their owners, enjoying a morning latte. Many locations will even make a pup-friendly treat called the “puppuccino,” if you ask nicely. Do not give your pet any real coffee, though, as it is unsafe.
Three Dog Bakery
Three Dog Bakery is a nationwide dog bakery. They craft canine-specific baked goods just for paw patrons. Even though these look good enough for pet parents to eat, this restaurant only caters to doggy diners.
The restaurants on this list are large chains with a canine-friendly attitude. Some restaurants are extremely dog-focused, like Hops & Hound in San Antonio, Texas, that even has an enclosed dog park on the patio where owners and pets can eat, socialize, and be merry. If you want to go somewhere fancy, try The Wilson in New York City. They have a delightful doggie menu, and you can treat your bark baby to a $24 steak, a $16 chicken breast, or a $9 burger, all served with steamed baby vegetables.
Before Taking Your Dog Out For Dinner
- Before taking your best canine bud out to dine, ensure that the location you are going to allows dogs. Do not assume that because a restaurant has a patio, it will be okay if you bring your puppy in. This is only sometimes the case.
- It is also essential to avoid taking your pooch into a very crowded restaurant, so skip those busy times like lunch or the dinner rush. Even a well-socialized pet can feel anxious or overwhelmed in crowded places.
- Before you take your pup into any restaurant, make sure he has had a quick walk around the block and an opportunity for a potty break. You do not want to leave a mess in the restaurant or have to leave right away because he has to go to the bathroom.
- Ensure your dog’s collar and harness are on securely and you have a reliable leash. Do not take your pup into a restaurant without a leash. This is bad manners and unsafe for you, your pet, or other diners.
- Always come prepared if you take your fur baby to a restaurant. Refrain from assuming they will have water, bowls, or treats. Just like you bring a backpack for your human child, bring a bag with treats, food, toys, a water bowl, and whatever else your pup will need.
- Only allow your pet to eat or drink from the restaurant plates if given the go-ahead. This is unacceptable and rude, and other diners and restaurant staff are sure to take issue.
- Make sure your pup is not eating scraps off the floor or begging other customers to give him a treat. This is bound to happen, but you want to ensure he doesn’t eat anything that isn’t safe and does not steal anyone’s delicious dinner.
- Do not tether your pup or attach his leash to the table. This is not safe and will likely cause some ire in the establishment. Be respectful of the business and other patrons.
- Be respectful of those around you, and understand that not every diner will be a dog person or like every breed. While for you and your dog, it is a beautiful treat to go out and enjoy a meal together, some other patrons may not appreciate this. For this reason, try to go at times that are not crowded, and always confirm with a specific location if they allow pets. You can ask around locally, at the dog park, on social media, or at the veterinarian’s office for recommendations.
- Lastly, never leave your pup unattended in or outside of a restaurant. You must ensure your dog feels safe and secure and that no one around him is threatened or afraid. Restaurants are usually crowded places, which can cause canines to have anxiety, get stressed out, or be scared. These are not great environments to leave a pup unattended.
Dining out with your best four-legged buddy is a wonderful treat, and it is truly fantastic that there are so many restaurants that allow owners to bring their dogs with them. Though only service animals are usually allowed to dine inside, it is still a great comfort to know that you can take your bark baby out for dinner or an afternoon meal at a restaurant. Though this is something only some people want to do, it is a wonderful experience for many pet owners. Remember to check with your specific location before heading out. If you know of a fantastic local or national restaurant we left out, please let us know in the comments.