How to take your dog out to eat

You know it’s summer when you see people taking advantage of the warmer weather and eating on restaurant patios.

With their dogs.

While a good many establishments throughout the area are prepared to accommodate and welcome your four-legged family member, even perhaps providing water and a little affection, there are a few things to consider before you venture out.

First and foremost, would your dog enjoy the experience? Restaurants are busy places. Lots of people. Lots of noise. Possibly even other canines.

Teddy, my family’s 7-year-old Lab, doesn’t like a lot of activity going on around him. He would love the attention of the servers and wouldn’t mind sitting on the patio. But the hustle and bustle would bother him. While we would be trying to enjoy our meal, he would be trying to meet and greet every other dining dog.

Some families include their dogs in their outdoor dining experiences with great success. I’ve known several, in fact.

But keep in mind most eateries either prefer or require that you make reservations ahead of time if you plan to bring pets. Generally, a dog must wear a non-retractable leash and stay on the patio. Furrier ones are not allowed to sit on the furniture or their owners’ laps.

Also, four-legged guests are not allowed to use dishes or glasses. Most places will offer water in dog bowls or disposable containers.

You can’t feed your dog from your plate so bring along a few of his favorite treats on these patio trips. If you have leftovers, ask for a “doggy bag” so you both can enjoy the tasty morsels at home.

Finally, don’t forget the poop bags. If an accident happens, a server can help you get the area cleaned quickly, but it’s your responsibility, of course.

Bon appetit.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals, all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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