Just in time for the summer season, the US government has approved restaurants that would like to allow dogs in their outside areas.But while nearly half of states already allow dogs to dine out, the problem is far from solved, with many restaurants and inns objecting to the increasing presence of dogs.
In Oregon, where dogs are already allowed in the outdoor dining area, the news is greeted with a yawn, a slow drive and a nap. On-site, since 2017, puppies have been permitted to join their owners in the courtyards and sundecks at the rear of the restaurant, provided they do not pass through an indoor dining area on the way.
For decades, restaurants have been required to accept guide dogs. However, several states didn’t start passing laws allowing dogs to eat out until the mid-2000s, according to Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical Center.Currently, 23 states have such laws or regulations.
But the legal landscape is confusing. Michigan law, for example, doesn’t allow dogs to eat outside, but does allow restaurants to apply for a special permit with the county health department.
In 2020, the Food Defense Conference — a group of food and health experts that advises the government — turned to the United States.The Food and Drug Administration will issue guidelines for states. A 2012 risk assessment from Australia and New Zealand was cited, which concluded that the risk to human health from eating dogs was very low.
The FDA’s updated food code, released late last year, says restaurants can have dogs outside if they get approval from local regulators. Restaurants should have signs saying dogs are welcome and have plans for dealing with dogs and their waste. You should ensure dogs are properly restrained and provide separate bowls to ensure dogs do not use dishes or cutlery intended for humans.