Dog Friendly Patios in Dallas: Fun or Foul

This dog may look cuddly and sweet, but she could steal your burger or bite you in the leg if allowed on the patio of a restaurant.

Despite the heat, I’m seeing an uptick in the number of restaurants advertising their dog friendly patios. In mid-2008 the City of Dallas amended their ordinance allowing dogs on restaurant patios under certain conditions, such as no outside food prep, entering only through an outdoor entrance, leashed only, and not allowed to sit on tables, chairs, or counter tops.

I might take some heat for it here on SideDish, but I’m just not a fan of dogs on a restaurant patio. While 90% of dogs (and their owners) are well-behaved, that leaves 1 out of 10 that are not.  When I lived in Europe, it was very common to have dogs on the patios and inside of the restaurants, roaming at will and sitting on chairs.  I’ve had my fill of dogs sniffing around my table.

So let’s just throw this open for discussion.  Are you a fan of dog friendly patios?  Have you had any problems?



  • ELH

    Dogs are welcome if they are well behaved, the same should be true of humans but is usually not. I have seen more bad behavior from supposed adults on Dallas patios than I have seen from dogs.

  • Laurel

    I’m ok with it as long as the waitstaff doesn’t handle the pet. I went to one of my favorite restaurants with my friend and her pup, and the waitresses took turns holding the dog and cooing at it. I hope they washed their hands. Also, people with tiny dogs need to make sure they they stay out from underofood. I tripped over a tiny yorkie sitting on the floor of a yogurt shop (yes, INSIDE) because I just didn’t see it. The owner acted as though I’d kicked it down a flight of stairs.

  • Laurel

    Sigh, it’s supposed to say “underfoot”. TGIF.

  • Lee

    Agree, a well behaved dog is absolutely welcome. More problems are caused by humans than dogs.

  • Foodie

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about the servers holding the dog, if you saw the condition of most restaurant kitchens. I’d much rather have dogs than unruly kids any day.

  • Molly

    I’m always happy to see dogs at a restaurant patio… even the little yippy ones.

  • Do you have a list of dog-friendly restaurants?

  • alyb

    I’ve never had a meal ruined by the presence of a dog on a patio. I find most dog owners to be very considerate and appreciative of the privilege the Dallas ordinance provides. On the other hand, many a meal has been marred by screaming children with oblivious parents, loud talkers who think everyone 3 tables over cares about their conversation or people who can’t handle alcohol (the Loud Drunk or the Mean Drunk).

  • Chris

    I agree I would rather have dogs that dirty, loud or poor behaved children on a patio.

  • Tinkerbell


  • Rebecca0521

    I don’t always have a dog with me…but when I do…I like to have them on a patio.

  • As long as they’re well behaved and the owners keep them under control and cleaned up after, I’m all for it.

    I wouldn’t want to see the waitstaff handling the animals, either.

    I think it’s just like anything else . . . you have an option. If you don’t like dogs on patios, go somewhere else. If you want to be able to dine with your pet, pick a place that allows it. Especially in a place like Dallas. Options are limitless!

  • Jim

    Keep your dog confined to your table area and I’m fine.

    As mentioned, dogs in Europe are often welcome inside the restaurant, as well as outside. If Rover likes the smell of your entree from 6 tables away, he thinks nothing of cruising over and staring at you while you eat. Part of the reason I go to restaurants is to avoid my dogs attempts at ESP (“feed me, feed me…”) while I eat. I don’t come over to your table and stare at your food (usually). Tell your dog to do me the same courtesy.

  • Jamie

    @Paula: The DMN runs a weekly column in Briefing and online with a comprehensive list of dog-friendly patios.

  • logan

    Not really a fan of dogs at a restaurant, inside or out. I think the comparisons to dog vs. children are ridiculous. You keep comparing a poorly behaved child to a well-behaved dog. Of course you’ll take the well-behaved dog…i’ve had a meal interrupted up a bit by a poorly behaved dog on a patio. My food had to be remade while my husband sat there not enjoying his food because i insisted he go ahead and eat and he felt guilty about it.

  • Lisa

    Definitely love when restaurants have dog-friendly patios. I have never had a dining experience ruined by an unruly dog. However, as others mentioned, I have had countless restaurant experiences tainted by the sound of a screaming child.

    Can some restaurants ban kids? That would be fantastic.

  • C knutson

    My friends & I are all big fans of dog friendly patios. We work all week, leave our dogs at home & it’s nice to bring them out on weekends. My dog is a very well trained, quite, very short haired.
    I’m more offended by loud screaming kids with foul pants.

  • Tracy

    I love dogs on the patio. It brings life to a place! Dallas can be way too bland an uptight. Bad manners in any creature should be politely addressed, but if you don’t want to be around a dog, or children, or chatty business men or snooty sorority girls or anything else you don’t like take responsibility for your own happiness and move.

  • To be an “officially” sanctioned dog-friendly patio you have to have an outside entrance to the patios for dogs, restaurants can’t feed dogs, restaurants can’t provide water for dogs unless it is in a disposable bowl (not even dog bowls count), and you have to have a hose to hose down the patio every 6 hours.

  • Thats a VERY good thing.

  • Tracey Thompson

    For more pet friendly restaurants and reviews check out

  • The Janitor

    I hear the French also serve horse inside the restaurant.

  • Twinwillow

    At least with dogs unlike children, you don’t have to nag at them to eat their food.

  • Its fun to be able to take your dog with for a leisurely weekend eat/drink experience. But, I also understand how having dogs at a restaurant is unattractive to the dog-less.
    But wait!
    Establishments that DON’T allow dogs greatly outnumber places that DO allow dogs.
    If you aren’t into it, go to a restaurant that doesn’t allow dogs.
    See there?
    Everyone wins.

  • Pingback: Dog Friendly Patios in Dallas: Fun or Foul – D Magazine | scotthardy01()

  • Maryofdallas

    I have had a bad experience when I was eating on the patio at Toulouse with some friends and my dog. The dog is tiny and was under the table the entire time. Two women on the patio were absolutely freaking out that there was a dog on the patio. They were screaming, “Ewwww!” and they expressed their displeasure verbally over and over. It was very awkward. After a while they asked to leave. It was painful. The thing that galled me the most was that Toulouse is a very dog-friendly establishment. I thought this was pretty well-known, given its proximity to the Katy Trail.

  • As others have said, I’m much more likely to have my meal negatively affected by kids, or for that matter adults, than by dogs.

  • Twinwillow

    @Emily. +1!

  • dog lover

    I think allowing dogs on outside patios is fabulous!!! I think more establishments and cities should allow animals on patios. Also, it seems as if everyone is overlooking the obvious: assistance dogs have been allowed inside and outside of restaurants for a long time. Is there really much difference?

  • dog lover

    Oh, and I would venture to guess that about 50 percent of restaurant patron have either a dog or cat…they don’t seem to mind them INSIDE THEIR home.

  • Ryan

    I agree with everyone who expresses more likeliness for a meal to be ruined by a screaming or poorly contained child. Dog owners keep their pets on a leash – if only more parents had that sort of respect for the other patrons.

  • eater

    agree with foodie

  • Chuck

    I don’t understand all the hate for the kids. Do not lay your bad experience at the feet of misbehaving children. The blame rests squarely with the parents. Save the hateful stares and comments for them.

    As for dogs, I love them and have never had a bad experience with one. I will go so far to say that it has enriched my dining experience on many occasions.

  • loves to dine out

    i can see that the majority favors dogs on the patio….do so i. unruly kids, people on cell phones upset me, dogs do not. the kitchen is probably not as clean as you’d imagine and i personally pet my dog then prepare dinner. and dont say ewwwwww! you do it too and you know it!