You may be headed to a quiet cafe or a bustling restaurant with your furry friend? Or maybe you’re on holiday and leading your friends and family to a countryside pub, or treating yourself to a fine dining experience in the city. Regardless of where you’re choosing to eat, we’ve carefully curated the below tips to ensure you have a stress free experience. It’ll be so chilled that you’ll be wanting to shout from the wooftops!
All of us here at PetsPyjamas HQ have taken our pups out many times for many meals, coffees and pints. The PetsPyjamas Pack swear by these rules, which is exactly why we’re passing on our knowledge and sharing them with you.
So go and give your pup a belly rub, grab a cup of tea and enjoy reading our 12 top tips on how to dine with your dog…
1. Know your dog
What are they like in crowded areas? Do you know how to calm them down if they get overwhelmed? What about if they start barking – do you know how to quieten them down? Eating out is not the same as eating at home, so air on the side of caution. Consider how socialised your dog is as well. If they’re not good with other dogs (or in busy/crowded situations), maybe ease them into being around other dogs before eating out with them. Once they are socialised, a good first step would be to do a trial run in a cafe on a quiet day, at a quiet time.
2. Know the restaurant
Firstly, do they have a dog policy? Are they dog-welcoming? How dog-welcoming are they? Know all this before you go. If the restaurant is busy, overcrowded and there’s nowhere for your dog to settle – then maybe it’s not the place to take them. Not only this, but how dog-friendly is the restaurant? Do they provide water bowls, blankets and beds? These are all the questions you should be asking ahead of your visit. (P.S. Gaucho Restaurants, who feature in our list of London’s best dog-friendly restaurants and pubs, are incredibly dog-welcoming and are currently offering 25% off food if you’re a member of our Priority Paws Loyalty Programme, so book your petaway today to get access. We highly recommend them!)
3. Be aware of other humans
Just because you’re a dog person, doesn’t mean everyone is. Some of the customers at other tables may be scared of dogs and not know how to deal with them, or may just be allergic to them. Be aware of this and take steps where possible to ensure everyone has a pawsome experience in the restaurant.
4. Book ahead if possible
Let the restaurant know ahead of time that you’ll be accompanied by your best furry friend. This way they’ll be able to cater to you even more than if you’d just walked in from the street. They may be able to provide water bowls, blankets, dog beds – you just don’t know until you let them know your furry friend will be in tow. If possible, we’d recommend asking for a corner table. It’ll take away some of the additional stimulus that would happen should you be placed in the middle of the establishment.
5. Keep your pup on their lead
Ensure that your dog remains on their lead, and said lead isn’t too long either. You won’t want your furry friend to get distracted and run across the restaurant. There’s much they can trip over, knock over and cause just general havoc in the restaurant. Avoid this embarrassment and keep your pup close!
6. Don’t tie your pooch’s lead to furniture
Picture the scene. You tie your furry friends’ lead to the table leg. Something catches their attention. They run towards said item. Boom. The whole table goes flying, causing your meal to be ruined and potential damage to the restaurant’s property. Try and avoid this happening where possible. Keep hold of your pup’s lead.
7. Never feed your dog off your plate
Good table manners are important, even more so when eating out. Just because your furry friend can sit on your lap, it doesn’t mean they should. Where possible, let your pooch settle on the floor near your chair and avoid having them on your lap or sitting on a chair at the table.
8. Avoid sitting by children
Children love playing with dogs. Fact. They’re sure to get your pup all excited, then will most likely head on their way, leaving you with an over-excited pooch. If it can be avoided, try to do so.
9. Be prepared
Feed your dog beforehand and bring treats with you. Although you may not mind giving your pup bits of your meal off your plate, it’s less than ideal when eating out. Something else that should be avoided is letting your pup beg for food. Try and give your pup time to use the bathroom before you head on in. This will make settling them down easier. It’s also a good idea to wear them out beforehand. A sleepy dog is much more chill in a busy environment than one that is full of energy and over-stimulated.
10. Don’t feed other dogs
Much like other customers don’t know what your dogs likes, dislikes and allergies are – you don’t know theirs. Remember this before trying to share your fido’s treats. Sharing isn’t always caring.
11. Pack the essentials
There’s a couple of items that will make your trip a lot easier and more enjoyable. These include a PetsPyjamas travel water bowl, some poo bags, your pups fav toy and a blanket – all these items will help settle them.
12. Know when to head home
If your dog looks distressed or starts misbehaving, ask for your food to be packed up and leave. Sometimes your pup just isn’t in the mood to be out and about and that’s completely fine. But don’t let this cause issues within the restaurant. Politely excuse yourself, then head home.
Remember – although many places are now dog-friendly, there are many more that still are not. It’s a privilege to be able to do so. Do everything you can to help out the restaurant staff and make everyone’s experience as enjoyable as possible. If the staff in the establishment do have a request, then please willingly follow. Don’t make them regret the decision to make their restaurant a dog-welcoming one.
Check out our foodie petaways. Our expert team here at PetsPyjamas have taken the time to identify the best hotels for gourmet getaways. If that’s not your style, don’t fret. Our pubs with rooms promise an equally good holiday (and delicious food, just the same) for you and your furry friend.