New Food Safety Authority Rules for Pets in Food Premises

Great news for dog lovers! The Food Safety Authority recently repealed legislation regarding dogs in restaurants and other food premises. This means we can now bring our furry friends with us when dining out, at the discretion of the business owner of course.

We wanted to share some of our training tips on how to ensure your dog is on their best behaviour in a restaurant or cafe, and what to do if you meet one of our own Guide Dogs while out and about.

The more polite our pets are, the more comfortable restaurants will become with allowing them into their premises. If you follow these simple tips you could be having a five star meal with a Toby, Buddy or Trixie at your feet in the near future!

Guide Dogs in Restaurants and Cafes

Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are highly trained, reliable and sociable working animals. They undergo two years of training before they qualify.

From a young age our puppies visit public places for socialisation in preparation for their future role as a Guide Dog or an Assistance Dog.

A key feature of the training is how to behave in cafes and restaurants. Our Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs are trained to lie quietly alongside their owner’s feet, at all times on a lead. For more information you can read our dog training page here.

It is also important that we raise awareness among pet owners of the importance of being “pet aware” when one of our dogs is working near them.

The following are some tips we hope you find helpful when preparing to visit a restaurant with your dog.

dog sitting under table

Tips for Bringing Your Dog to a Restaurant or Cafe

1. Keep your dog (or cat!) on a lead at all times.

2. If you encounter someone with a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog, please shorten the lead so that your pet can not reach over to sniff and greet them. This will distract the Guide Dog or Assistance Dog from keeping its owner safe.

3. Encourage your pet to sit alongside your feet like in the image above, or under the dining table. Make sure the lead is secured around a chair leg or under your foot. It is important your pet does not block the way and cause a possible trip hazard for somebody walking nearby. 

4. It may be beneficial for you to carry some of your dog’s food, such as dog food nuts, as a real reward for your pet when visiting restaurants and other food businesses.

5. Above all, please do take precautions to ensure your pet does not distract a Guide Dog from its role of guiding its owner or as Assistance Dog from keeping a child with autism safe and calm in public places. If you have a small pet you may consider picking it up and carrying it in your arms when passing by someone with a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog.

For further information please check the Food Safety Authority Legislation on Domestic Animals in Food Premises here. We hope you all have a great time dining with your pet. We also hope to see more and more restaurants opening their doors to dogs this year, and are confident this will happen if our furry friends are on their best behaviour.

Happy dining and shopping!