We love to dine out with Irie and Tiki whenever possible. It’s something we all enjoy, like yesterday’s lunch at Fredericksburg’s Altdorf restaurant. With two large dogs, it’s not always possible to take them but, as we learned in researching our Texas with Dogs guidebook, many restaurants are very accepting of large dogs on their patios and al fresco dining options.
Here are our tips for dining out with your dog:
- Eat early or late. Whether you pick the early bird special or you wait, as we did yesterday, until the rush hour is done, select a time when the restaurant isn’t completely packed.
- Make sure your dog is walked before you dine. If possible, schedule a nice walk and potty break before visiting the restaurant.
- Look for restaurants with some elbow room. We don’t like to be crowded and neither do our dogs. If you have large dogs, this is extra important.
- Look for a corner table. If you predict that the restaurant will get busy (as with our visit to Shells restaurant in Port Aransas recently), ask for a corner table. That gave Irie and Tiki some room in the corner and beneath the table; we also didn’t have to worry about one of the dogs being in the way as people tried to walk through the patio restaurant.
- Bring a chew. Irie and Tiki both get long-lasting bully sticks when we’re at restaurants.
- Bring your own water dish. We travel with both silicone water dishes (I purchased silicone cake pans at the thrift store and they work great both in the car and on location) and pop up bowls like this one.
- Keep your dog on a short leash. Our dogs remain in the same safe dog harness they wear in the car, on a leash attached to me.
- Don’t tether your dog to the table. This is a recipe for disaster of slapstick proportions. If you have a waist leash, this is a great time to use it to keep your dogs closeby.
- Don’t feed or water your dog from restaurant plates.
- Don’t permit your dog to sit in the restaurant chairs or on the table.
- Watch for discarded food beneath the table. Let’s face it: even in the neatest establishments, discarded food winds up beneath tables. When you sit down, make sure there are no tossed chicken bones or onion rings for Fido to find.
- Don’t expect everyone to love your dog as much as you do. Of course, we find our dogs immeasurably adorable but we know that not everyone shares our feelings. We try to keep the dogs as unobtrusive as possible before, during, and after the meal.
We love it when we receive good feedback from fellow diners and especially restaurant management. In Fredericksburg, the manager came over to us after the meal and asked to meet the dogs, saying they were “great dogs and so well behaved,” a sweeter end to our meal than the scrumptious dessert we’d just enjoyed!