When the weather is nice, many of us love to find a seat on a restaurant patio to enjoy some fresh air. Luckily, many restaurants and bars will allow us to bring our four-legged friends along, provided they are well-behaved. But humans, don’t embarrass your fur-children. Make sure that you are patio-ready, too. Here are the 10 commandments for pet parents of patio pooches:
1. Thou shalt only bring a pet to a crowded patio who actually enjoys patio time.
This is the first commandment for a reason; not every dog likes patio time as much as we do. Don’t force it. If you have a dog that could benefit from more socialization, consider a patio with a smaller crowd or have a doggie “play date” with a trusted friend whose dog you know.
2. Honor the patio policy of thy local tavern, and call ahead to ensure thy pooch may bless the patio with his presence.
Several patios already have the dog-friendly variance (see a complete list for Dallas here) but many places are “unofficially” dog-friendly. If the patio is not on the list, be sure to call ahead and make sure it’s okay.
3. Thou shalt not ignore thy pooch; yea, thou shalt watch over thy dog at all times.
It’s easy to get caught up in conversation with your friends, so just remember to check on your dog and make sure he hasn’t wandered off or gotten tangled up in his leash.
4. Thou shalt always have water available for thy dog.
Most pet-friendly patios will bring out a water bowl for your dog (some even have doggie menus!) but bring your own bowl just in case.
5. Thou shalt always be prepared to scoop thy dog’s poop.
Not on the patio of course! Take your dog for potty breaks often, especially if your dog is drinking a lot of water. And don’t forget the poop bags!
6. Thou shalt not take thy dog out in excessive heat.
Even covered patios or those with misters can get pretty warm. Dogs can get overheated easily, especially short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Pekingese. Don’t forget to pay attention to the humidity, too. Even when the temperature isn’t very high, the humidity can make it hard for your dog to breathe.
7. Remember the kibble, and feed thy dog at the appointed hour.
If your patio time extends past your dog’s dinner time, you may want to bring a zip-lock bag of your dog’s food with you. Note: Don’t do this if your dog gets territorial about his food bowl; there are restaurant patrons and waitstaff walking by you constantly and you don’t want to risk an incident.
8. Thou shalt not gloat when thy neighbor covets thy canine companion.
We all love those “Your dog is soooooo cute!” comments from fellow diners. Just don’t gloat. Okay, you can gloat a little. Your dog is pretty cute.
9. Thou shalt not allow thy dog to steal from the plates of other guests, that thy days shall be long upon the patio.
Ah, yes. The old food thief. Don’t let your dogs climb on the patio tables and sniff (or steal) food. As much as we all love dogs, that’s just gross.
10. Keep Dallas-Fort Worth pet friendly, and do not allow your dog to act like a hooligan.
The truth is, not all dogs are suited for patio time. Dogs that bark or howl nonstop, dogs that jump on strangers, and especially dogs that snap at other dogs or people should stay home until they’ve had some training and are ready to try out their new patio skills. It only takes one bad incident for a restaurant to stop their pet-friendly policy, so know your dogs and only take them for patio time if they have the temperament for it.
And the 11th commandment: when someone asks about pet-friendly activities in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas, tell them to visit DallasDogLife.com!