DOGS IN RESTAURANTS - ARE YOU BARKING MAD?

New research reveals a doggy divide when it comes to allowing man’s best friend into our nation’s eateries

A new poll reveals a mixed (doggy) bag when it comes to Britain’s view on allowing canines into cafes and restaurants. The Restaurant Club, a scheme supporting local restaurateurs over chains monopolising the high street, posed the question to its 11,000 strong fine dining group.

And while almost four in 10 (39%) people believe that dogs should be banned entirely from restaurants, a surprising 61% were a lot more flexible. This includes one in 10 (11%) saying they’d only be happy for them to enter cafes (although not restaurants), 8% saying only guide dogs should be permitted and one in 20 (5%) calling for a dog only area. In bad taste, however, a cheeky few canine-haters ‘joked’ that dogs should only be allowed in on the menu!

By popular demand the club has now added a dog-friendly section on its website that offers discerning diners discounts and advice on where to eat out across the capital, so that people have the option of not leaving their pooch at home.

Louisa Walters, founder of The Restaurant Club says:

“I love the fact that I can take my shih tzu into my local newsagent, post office, chemist and hairdresser, so it follows that I would want to take her with me into local restaurants too. Every high street needs at least one dog friendly eatery and we’ve scoped out the best ones for our members.

“However, the Club is calling for a dog-friendly code of conduct, not just for restauranteurs in terms of hygiene when feeding dogs, but for pet owners too.

“For instance, dogs should only be taken out to eat if they are well trained and don’t disturb other clientele – unless of course the next table is happy to engage with your pet! Be considerate, especially if you have a big dog and there are young children around.”

Whilst we pride ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, it seems there is a misconception in the UK that dogs are not allowed in any places where food is served for health, safety and disturbance reasons. This is not the case. The only legal obligation on the owner is to make sure there is no risk of contamination and that all food preparation areas are up to specified hygiene standards.