Are There Restaurants That Allow Dogs?

A number of national chains and many local restaurants are dog-friendly, welcoming leashed dogs in outdoor patio areas – and may even offer a dog menu.


Americans are increasingly bringing their dogs with them when they go places, and to take advantage of this trend, many national chain restaurants have become known for welcoming dogs to join their humans for meals in their outdoor dining areas. Some even have special menus for dogs, or serve complementary treats or appetizers designed just for dogs.

The list of national-chain restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor dining areas grows longer all the time, but includes:

  • Applebee’s
  • Baja Fresh
  • Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Dairy Queen
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar
  • Le Madeline
  • Noah’s New York Bagels
  • Olive Garden
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Panera Bread
  • Shake Shack
  • Sonic Drive-in
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • Starbucks

In addition to national chains, many local restaurants invite well-behaved dogs and offer amenities such as clean water bowls for their canine customers.

Is your dog restaurant-ready?

Sounds like fun, yes? But first, consider your dog. No matter how welcoming a restaurant, it won’t be a pleasant meal if you’ve brought the wrong date. If your pup is noisy, easily startled, unable to settle down, uncomfortable around other dogs, or needs constant supervision, make other arrangements. Your best canine dining companion is polite, quiet, relaxed, travels well, and responds appropriately to cues such as sit, down, stay, and leave it.

Most dog-friendly establishments are casual, informal, and spacious rather than crowded. To avoid last-minute disappointments, call ahead to verify the establishment’s pet policy in case it doesn’t match a recommendation or website description.

Bring a friend if you can, someone who understands dogs and can assist as needed. Try to visit early or late, when the restaurant isn’t busy, to minimize distractions. Park a comfortable distance away so that you can take your dog for a walk before entering and have pick-up bags ready to clean up after your dog. Use a well-fitting harness and short leash, not a retractable leash. Ask or look for a table that’s in a corner or out of the way. Even if your dog is well-behaved around small children, aim for a table near quiet adults rather than young ones whose excitement and interest may stress your pup.

Bring a mat for your dog to lie on plus a portable water bowl. To help your dog relax around food distractions, consider feeding her before leaving home, and bring treats. Have your dog sit or lie on the floor or ground, not in a chair, on the table, on your lap, or where he’s in the way of serving staff or other diners or where he might have his tail stepped on. Once seated, hold onto your dog’s leash by looping it around your wrist or use a hands-free leash that attaches to your belt. Don’t tie the leash to a chair, table leg, or gate that could get pulled over and cause mayhem if your dog spots a pigeon walking around the other outdoor tables. Last, don’t let your dog eat off of your plate, and don’t feed anyone else’s dog.

In other words, use common sense and good manners to ensure that you, your friend, your dog, and the diners around you all enjoy yourselves.