Food For Thought: Dogs Should Be Welcome In More Restaurants

And if we’re really honest about it – they should be as welcome as babies!

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

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Picture for a moment your favorite person in the whole wide world – your partner, your parent, you sibling, your best friend, or your child. What’s your favorite activity to do with them? Is it playing games? Is it sitting around doing nothing? Is it watching bad movies? Is it eating? Now imagine not being able to do half of those things with your favorite person because they’re not allowed inside any of the venues.

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That’s how a lot of Ontario dog lovers feel. In Ontario, restaurants do not allow dogs inside or even on the patio. Dog lovers must choose between chaining their dog to fences while they quickly enjoy their meal or not indulging.

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The alternative would be to leave your pet at home on such a beautiful day or spending the extra effort eating on the go!

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Around the world, the rules are different. Paris, Tokyo, Korea, and Los Angeles are a few of the many places that allow dogs everywhere – from your local coffee shop to fine dining.

Dog-friendly rules open the doors to a whole new eating experience.

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We all know just how much our dogs love our food even if it is just to smell. Sometimes, all they want is to be next to us – they don’t REALLY have to eat.

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Restaurants across Canada have expanded their services to include dogs – some even have dog-menus! According to Claudia McNeilly in her piece in The National Post there are restaurants in Calgary and Port Moody, British Columbia that have table-side kibble and dog bowls along with the human cutlery.

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Restaurants everywhere, except for Ontario it seems, have allowed dogs to fulfill their dreams of being real-life Foodies!

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Sometimes the only company you want when you eat is your dog. They don’t criticize what you eat and will definitely agree with the extra dessert!

But why is Ontario so behind in the times?

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Because some people are wary about the “health” problems dogs introduce with their presence. They also think that dogs may pose a safety risk because they may be unpredictable with their behavior.

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But well-trained dogs usually don’t pose any threat to other people and are arguably better behaved than tantrum-throwing toddlers. (We love babies, but we’re just saying)!

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Ontario restaurants risk paying fines for allowing dogs into their dining area. Even if they do receive a permit, dogs are only allowed in areas that are separate from anywhere there’s food.

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Credit: Instagram / @thatgoldendoodle

So the permit is essentially useless because dogs and humans are separated. This “over-sterilized” food culture just prevents dog lovers from doing what they want with their best fur friends.

These restrictions on dogs are stunting Ontario’s possibility to grow into a mature food culture.

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We want more dogs in restaurants – arguably, all the points anti-dog people have can be dismissed with the fact that dogs are welcome in five-star Michelin restaurants in Paris and Tokyo.

In 2015, New York instated a law that allowed restaurants to welcome dogs to their patios. The ‘dining with dogs’ bill was a huge win. Our south-of-the-border neighbors have adopted dog-friendly laws, it’s our turn in Toronto to do so too!

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Credit: Instagram / @thatgoldendoodle

There are no “freak” accidents where dogs attack waiters for appetizers or any horrible health outbreaks as a result of the presence of dogs.

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Credit: Instagram / @angpang_smile

For now, we can dream of a time where we can sit across our doggos while we brunch. Until then, let’s keep the conversation going!

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Even still – become a member of Get Leashed & Company and enjoy our Diner En BarkDiner En Bark brings together fine dining and dogs in a sophisticated way. Your dog can enjoy a night out with you, while you have a three course meal with the best wine selections, and mingle with other people and their fancy schmancy dogs! Don’t believe us? See our most recent Diner En Bark article!