We're dog people. Whatever that means. To us, it means that Gus (he'll soon have a new little brother) is part of our family.
Ever since we lost his big brother Beau, he's developed a bit of separation anxiety, so now, not only is he part of the family, but we rarely do anything without him.
And since we live in LA and love to go out to eat, we've had to make sure that anyplace we go is ok with having pets. Sometimes that's a significant challenge, but we think it's worth it. An evening out at a nice place to eat with your dog is a unique experience. We've found that as long as your dog is well-behaved, not only is dining out together a treat for you, it also tends to put a smile on the face of your fellow diners.
That's why we wanted to share a few tips if you’re brining your dog to dinner.
While some states and towns are well known for welcoming dogs in outdoor dining spaces—hello, Colorado—not all are. We feel that California is relatively pet friendly but it's hard to back this up with real stats. For what it's worth, in 2019, Reader's Digest voted California the most pet friendly state. So here are a few suggestions to help make the experience great for everyone.
Check the rules—Don’t assume that just because a restaurant has outdoor seating it allows your pet to join the party. While you can do a quick website check we've found that making a phone call is the best way to go. That way, the restaurant can reserve a table that is conducive to having a pet.
Bring your own bowls—A restaurant meal can last a couple of hours, sometimes, so remember your dog’s needs while there. At the very least bring along a bowl for water, and maybe consider some kibble or treats, as well. You might also want to feed your dog before leaving so that he or she isn’t overly interested in the human food while at the restaurant.
Speaking of which: do not offer your dog food or a plate from the table—this could get the restaurant into trouble for health violations.
Keep your four-legged bestie out of the aisles—Bring your dog on its leash and then make sure he gets comfortable well out of the way of other guests and the wait staff. That's why we suggested that a phone call in advance is a good idea. There's probably a table that's perfectly suited for having a friend on the floor.
Find the off hours—While your ideal dining time might be 6:30 or 7, it’s not the ideal time to bring your dog along. Aim for off prime-time dining, when having your dog in tow will be less of a distraction for other diners or the wait staff. Think very early evening or a bit post-dinner rush, like 8 or 8:30. In fact, you might even consider going out on Sunday evening instead of Saturday.
When walking to and from your table, keep your pet on a short leash so that he or she can’t invade the space of other diners.
Be willing to bail—Even the best dogs can have bad days, and if yours is misbehaving, whining, or otherwise causing a commotion, be ready to call it a day. Box up your food and head out the door, leaving your fellow diners in peace. You can always try another day.
Los Angeles tip: If you're in the Santa Monica, Brentwood area, Palmeria is super Dog Friendly.
P.s. Our sweaters are perfect to keep you warm if you're dining out on the patio in the evening.