Can I Bring My Dog To A Restaurant In San Diego

If you’re a dog lover in San Diego, you may be wondering if you can bring your pup to a restaurant in San Diego. If the facility has an outdoor patio, the answer may be “yes.”
However, if the restaurant only has indoor dining, you probably don't bring your dog unless it’s a service animal. In this blog from Laureti & Associates, we’ll discuss the applicable federal, state, and local regulations related to dining with your dogs in San Diego.

California Law Only Allows Dogs In Outdoor Patio Areas Of Restaurants

A 2014 change to the California Retail Food Code allowed pet dogs in outdoor dining areas. As long as the restaurant owner allows it, dogs can be brought to any outdoor dining area as long as certain requirements are met, such as:

  • A separate outdoor entrance
  • Employees washing hands after touching dogs
  • Dogs are leashed and under control
  • Pet waste is properly dealt with
  • Food and water provided to pet dogs is provided in disposable, single-use containers

San Diego County also has its own guidelines, which do not supersede state law, but are recommended for restaurant owners and patrons to follow, such as having signage that says “Dog Friendly Outdoor Patio Area.”

Dogs are not allowed inside restaurants at all, unless they are service animals. We will talk about this exception a bit later. 

Restaurant Owners May Choose To Prohibit Dogs In Outdoor Areas At Their Discretion

You do not have the right to bring your dog to an outdoor patio area if the restaurant owner disallows it. It is up to the owner and operator of the restaurant to determine whether or not dogs are permitted. 

If you bring a dog to an outdoor dining area where your dog is not allowed, you may legally be refused service and asked to leave, with the exception of service animals. 

Service Animals Are Exempt From These Regulations

Service animals, as defined by the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) are allowed in all “places of public accommodation.” A guide dog for a blind person, for example, is allowed into all restaurants unless it is disrupting the business or restaurant. 

Note that “Emotional Support Animals” are NOT service animals. They do not have any special privileges under the ADA. You cannot bring an emotional support dog into an area where dogs are not allowed.

How Restaurants And Patrons Can Protect Against Dog Bites 

As any San Diego dog bite attorney will tell you, dog bites are always a concern, particularly in crowded restaurants where dogs may be exposed to other animals and strangers.

Dog owners should take all possible steps to prevent dog bites, including only bringing well-behaved animals, leashing them, and keeping the dog under control at all times.

Restaurant owners can also protect against dog bites by spacing out tables and seating properly, or implementing rules banning certain breeds or excessively large dogs from using outdoor dining areas. They may also ask owners of misbehaving or aggressive dogs to leave the facility. 

Use Your Best Judgment When Bringing Your Dog To A Restaurant! 

Outdoor dining with your dog can be fun, but you need to maintain control of your dog and make sure it behaves, and does not bite any other patron, employee, or dog at the restaurant. 

If you’ve been bitten by a dog at a restaurant in San Diego and have been injured, Laureti & Associates is here to help. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced San Diego dog bite attorneys now by contacting us online, and explore your options for getting the compensation you deserve. 

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