Are dogs allowed in restaurants, bars and coffee shops?

International dog day is 26th August, so now is the pawfect time to ask.

It’s up to the owner of establishments such as restaurants, bars and cafes that serve food and drink whether they’d like to welcome dogs to join in the fun or not. 

There is no current law or any health and safety regulation in the UK that bans dogs from being in premises where food and drink is served or sold; however, the law does specifically state that pets must not enter areas where food is prepared, handled or stored, this specifically relates to food preparation areas, the kitchen, a servery area or a food storage area. The key consideration is to whether there is a risk of contamination to food, this is extremely unlikely once food has been prepared and served to the customer, therefore front of house areas are perfectly safe from a food hygiene perspective as long as general health and safety rules and good etiquette are followed by dog owners

The law is different when it comes to guide or assistance dogs being allowed into food premises, the Food Standards Agency would advise food businesses to consider that assistance dogs are highly trained working dogs, not pets and to be mindful of the following requirements within the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995, Article 22 on premises, and discrimination in relation to premises

(3) It is unlawful for a person managing any premises to discriminate against a disabled person occupying those premises-

(a) in the way they permit the disabled person to make use of any benefits or facilities;

(c ) by evicting the disabled person, or subjecting him to any other detriment

Common sense is the way forward, so here are some general rules that should be followed by both staff and guests, should you be thinking about being a ‘Dog Friendly establishment.


Doggy etiquette when bringing a dog into a food premises

Your dog cannot be aggressive and shouldn’t bark, as this disturbs and annoys other people.

Make sure your dog is not smelly, as this is extremely off-putting to other customers and gives others a perception that your dog is dirty!

Your dog needs to be on a leash and fully under control at all times

Food service staff shouldn’t stroke dogs, as there could be contamination issues when they are probably just about to handle food!

Don’t feed dogs with cutlery or allow them to lick food off a plate, as this is classified as indirect contact with food and could be a serious contamination risk.

Don’t let dogs sit on chairs or seating.

If your dog does have an accident, immediately help to clean it up and apologise profusely to staff.

Good Luck!

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