While it may have been a strange sight to see a dog in a café many years ago, Pet parents across the world are increasingly taking their furry friends with them for a warm cup of coffee. Especially now that many of us are working remotely from cafes and restaurants.
The world is becoming more dog friendly and accepting of pets in establishments such as cafes and restaurants. It’s likely that if you’re in the UK or Europe, you will see a dog sitting beside their human at a café.
While it’s great to have your best friend by your side everywhere you go, not all dogs would do well right away on their first visit to a café.
If you have never taken your dog to a café, or you have not taken them very often, here are some tips to help make the whole experience pleasant for both you and your dog. Of course, only you can predict how your dog would behave in public and possibly crowded places so if they do well in these situations, it’s likely they will also do well in cafes.
- Make sure the café is indeed pet friendly
This would almost go without saying. Maybe it’s happened before where you get excited to visit the new, hip café in town and it seems friendly enough, so on a day out into town you and your dog you decide to check it out. However, the café staff then tell you no dogs are allowed and heartbreak and sad puppy eyes follow. So do make sure they are indeed pet friendly by checking the place online or calling ahead of time.
What I usually do if I can’t find that the place is pet friendly is I Google the name of the café and then type in dogs allowed, or pet friendly and usually one of the first results will tell me if the café allows dogs.
Many cafes in Spain, France, Portugal and the Mediterranean allow pets to sit with you if they outside seating and usually will even provide a bowl of water for your pup. Some cafes in the US and Latin America also allow pets to sit beside you in their outside seating area, but always check ahead of time.
2. Be sure to exercise them prior to the café visit
If your local café is within walking distance from your place, then it’s a bonus if you can take your dog with you and get them tired enough so that by the time they reach the café, they can catch a breath and relax for a bit.
Walking your dog before their café visit helps them to avoid any disruptive behavior that could come as a result of restlessness.
Of course, it’s natural for your dog to want to smell and explore a new place so they will likely want to sniff around the café, or they will be curious of the many new smells, sights and sounds, but after a good walk, they will feel more peaceful and are more likely to sniff around in a relaxed manner.
3. Go during non-peak hours
If it’s the first time that your dog visits a café, then try to pick a time outside of the busiest hours of the day. If you go into a café and it’s empty or mostly empty, then this would be ideal for your dog to get to take in the café and its surroundings and they will likely feel even more comfortable than if they visit during peak hours with lots of noise and people.
4. Have a leash and keep them close
While your dog may want to sniff around, especially if it’s their first time in a cafe, you don’t want to let them get into trouble if they stray too far. It’s a good idea to have a leash and use it on their first few visits to keep them close. In fact, the cafe may even require them. You also don’t want your dog to disrupt the other cafe customers or try to eat their food, or even worse, find random food on the floor, which could be dangerous if they manage to eat the wrong kind of food. If your dog is a seasoned pro at cafes and there’s no rules on leashes, just make sure to keep an eye on them.
5. Make sure they are comfortable
Ending up in a cramped café corner on a busy day is not fun for us, so imagine how uncomfortable it would be for your dog. If you happen to go to the café and there’s some people in there, try to find a less busy corner of the café with a bit of space so your dog can stretch their four legs out and lie next to you without the possibility of getting stepped on by someone in the next table.
6. Pick a non-crowed area
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip, but try to find an area of the cafe that’s spacious so your dog can stretch their legs and feel as comfortable as possible. If it’s their first time, then take them to an area of the cafe where there is less people and where they may feel less overwhelmed and where you can interact with them more and hold their attention.
7. Bring an item or toy they are familiar with
We all have one little piece of clothing or possession that we turn to for comfort. For dogs, it’s no different. If they feel overwhelmed at a strange new place with new sights and smells, then having a toy, or a piece of clothing like a bandana, that they are familiar with will help them cope better and can relieve any stress. Even if they are not overwhelmed, having this item can make them much more comfortable at the cafe.
8. Have a bowl of water for them
You may have your own coffee or smoothie to sip from, but always have some water nearby for your dog. If a cafe does not offer your dog water, simply ask the servers for water or ask them if you can use your own collapsible dog bowl and fill it with water.
9. Bring treats
If your dog behaves well, then be sure to reward that great behavior with some treats! The treats can help take their focus off the new sights and smells of the cafe too! Either way, they will be happy that you brought those treats along!
Above all, always make sure they are comfortable. The main goal is to avoid a bad experience for you and your dog.