Dogs in food premises

Page updated on: 18/12/2023

Whether or not to allow a pet dog into the public areas of a food business is a matter for the individual food business operator to decide.

Some businesses may have a 'no pets' policy; others may welcome well behaved dogs in public areas.

Assistance dogs in restaurants/cafés
An assistance dog is instantly recognisable by the harness it wears and the special tag on its collar. The Food Standards Agency advises that an exception is usually made for assistance dogs as a result of the following qualities:

  • assistance dogs are highly trained working dogs, not pets.
  • an assistance dog will not wander freely around the premises.
  • an assistance dog will sit or lie quietly on the floor next to its owner.
  • assistance dogs are trained to go to the toilet on command and so are unlikely to foul in a public place.

The Equality Act 2010 says that anyone who provides services, goods or facilities to the public cannot refuse to provide their service to a disabled person for a reason relating to that person's disability.

The Act also requires a service provider to make reasonable adjustments to any practice, policy or procedure which makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to make use of the goods, facilities or services in question.