Dogs in outdoor dining areas

Food businesses may choose to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas, providing certain criteria are met. There are also regulations around assistance animals in outdoor, and indoor eating environments, but this does not include companion animals.

Read more about the responsibilities of businesses that allow animals in food premises

As a customer, if you choose to take your dog to an outdoor dining area you have certain responsibilities too:

  • respect the food business’ choice as to whether or not they permit a dog (that is not an assistance animal) in their outdoor dining area
  • maintain control of your animal while dining at the food premises.
  • be aware of your legal obligations under relevant legislation:
    • Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008
    • Local laws
    • Conditions of entry that apply to a location e.g. shopping centres, sporting grounds

Food businesses may exclude a dog that is not an assistance animal, for any reason.

If you have any further questions relating to animals in food premises, contact the local government for the area where you are located.   

Tips for customers

Safety and comfort of other patrons

You are responsible for your animal at all times. You should:

  • keep the dog tied to a tether point or ensure the dog remains close to you
  • make all attempts to control the dog’s barking and address any other behavioural issues e.g. fighting with other dogs, unwelcome physical contact with other customers, or eating from customer’s plates
  • remove the dog from the premises to an appropriate place, if you become aware of the dog’s need to urinate or defecate (it is your responsibility to clean up after your dog, including dog excrement, and dispose of waste appropriately)
  • inform a staff member immediately of any dog excrement at the premises.

Food safety and hygiene

Patting dogs can increase risks of contamination for you and for the business’ staff. You should:

  • refrain from touching dogs while eating
  • not encourage food service staff or other customers to pat your dog.