the patio of a restaurant

Dog Friendly Restaurants: What Are The Risks? 

Many of us love our dogs so much that we naturally want to take them to dinner with us! In fact, there are entire databases like BringFido that are dedicated to helping you find an eatery near you that accommodates pets. Although dog-friendly restaurants are popping up all over the country, it is important to understand the risks of bringing your dog to a food establishment beforehand. 

Health Risks

Most of these restaurants make an extra effort to help the dogs of diners feel at home. Oftentimes, this includes communal water bowls for all of the patrons’ dogs. The risk here is that many canine-illnesses can be transmitted through communal dog bowls, and any kind of direct contact with an infected dog. While some of these illnesses are pretty mild, others like Leptospirosis can be life threatening in certain cases. Also, Leptospirosis can be spread to humans. If you opt to bring your dog to a pet friendly restaurant, keep them and the other pets at the safe by avoiding the communal dog bowl. 


Dog Fights

Watching your dog socialize with other dogs is part of the fun of bringing them to a pet-friendly restaurant! Although most dog encounters are peaceful, any time dogs get together it poses the risk of dog fights. Often moments before a dog fight there are physical symptoms that both pets display. The American Kennel Club has a complete guide to breaking up dog fights, but here are some characteristics of stress to keep an eye out for:

  • Vocalizing. Your dog might growl, whine, or bark.
  • Tucking the tail.
  • Flattening the ears back against the head.
  • Showing whale eye. This is when you can see the whites of your dog’s eyes.
  • Lip licking and/or panting.
  • Yawning.
  • Excessive sniffing. This can be a displacement behavior to avoid confronting the source of the stress.
  • Pacing
  • A “hard stare” towards the other dog, which is a sign of aggression.


A Dog Attacking A Patron 

Unfortunately, bringing dogs around public areas such as restaurants can lead to dogs biting humans. The severity of the injuries depends greatly on the specific factors of the incident, the breed of dog, and its level of aggression at the time. These dog bite incidents can range from minor scrapes and bruises to fatal injuries, and each situation is different. 

When you get bit by a dog, it is important to act quickly. The personal injury team at Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP cite the importance of seeking medical attention after a dog bite incident. This can be due to medical concerns from the bite itself, or potential rabies exposure due to improper vaccination. 

There are many opinions on why dogs attack humans, but it is impossible to know the exact reasoning every time. Even dogs that do not have a history of aggressive behavior have still reportedly attacked humans. 

Ultimately, dog friendly restaurants are meant to be a fun addition to the dining experience. And most of the time, bringing your dog works out well for both the owner and the pet. However, it is important to keep the potential risks in mind before deciding whether bringing your pup with you is the best choice.  

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