By Dr. Becker
Do you have a penchant for bringing your pup along when you travel, eat at restaurants or shop at pet-friendly stores? You’re not alone. A survey by online travel community TripAdvisor found that 53 percent of Americans travel with their pets (and are more likely to do so than people in the U.K.).1
Travelling with your pet can indeed be fulfilling for both of you, provided your pet isn’t overly anxious and enjoys it, and doing so has just gotten a lot easier, particularly if you’re planning to travel by air in the U.S.
Dog Potty Areas Now Mandatory in US Airports
A U.S. regulation that went into effect in August 2016 requires all airports that service more than 10,000 passengers a year to provide a designated post-security pet relief area in every terminal. The change is welcome news for those who travel with dogs frequently, such as those with service animals.
Prior to the requirement, taking your dog for a needed potty break could mean having to go back through airport security or cause you to miss your flight entirely. Now, pets will have virtually as easy access to the bathroom as you do.
What does an indoor doggy potty entail? At John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, the pet relief area in terminal 4 features artificial turf, a fire hydrant, poop bags and a hose to clean up messes. There’s also a sink for owners to wash their hands.
JFKIAT, the management company that operates the terminal, worked with the Guide Dog Foundation to design the space. Gert-Jan de Graaff, president and CEO of JFKIAT, told USA Today:2
“We recognize the growing presence of animals in our terminal, and the significant increase in passengers traveling with pets, and we wanted to provide owners with a convenient location to relieve their animals without having to exit the terminal.”
Dogs Officially Allowed in NYC Outdoor Cafes
For those who enjoy a meal more when in the company of their canine companion, there’s more good news. New York state became the latest to pass a law allowing dogs at outdoor cafes, provided there’s no food prep there.
Previously, New Yorkers got around the law by dining in cafes with sidewalks next to tables. By keeping their dogs on the sidewalk next to them, they were technically not in the café. Now, however, they can legally accompany their owners to the table — and café owners have reported a boom in business as a result.3
The ruling was passed much to the chagrin the city Health Department, who lobbied against the law, citing sanitary concerns.
New York isn’t the first state to allow pooches in outdoor eateries. In 2015, California made it legal for dogs to dine with their humans in restaurants with outdoor seating. As in New York, the dogs must be leashed (or in a carrier), licensed and well-behaved to enter.
The next step, as far as some New Yorkers are concerned, is allowing pets to dine inside restaurants, but officials say there are no plans for that. This isn’t the case in Sweden, however.
Since 1995, Swedish restaurant owners have had the choice of welcoming dogs into their establishments.
Although it’s still a somewhat controversial matter, one restaurant group — Avenyfamiljen — has embraced the philosophy that it’s natural for dogs to be around people and they add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the atmosphere.
Not only do they welcome dogs into their eateries but they also provide a special canine menu. As reported in The Bark, one of the restaurants, Taverna Averna, shared the following recipe, in case you’re wondering what’s on the doggy menu:4
- 1/3 parts raw game chopped into small pieces
- 1/3 parts grated vegetables (carrots, parsnip, turnip, cabbage, etc.)
- 1/3 parts boiled rice
- Mix the ingredients and garnish with chopped nettles
Other countries, like Britain, are also remarkably dog-friendly, allowing pooches to frequent bars and even public transportation along with their owners.5
Most Americans Don’t Want Dogs in Restaurants
If you’re thinking that Sweden’s laissez-faire attitude about dogs in restaurants sounds delightfully refreshing, you may be sporting an unpopular opinion, even in a dog-loving nation like the U.S.
According to YouGov, an international market research firm, 76 percent of Americans are opposed to allowing dogs in restaurants and 71 percent oppose dogs in bars.6 Other findings included:
- 58 percent oppose dogs in malls
- 64 percent oppose dogs in stores
- 68 percent oppose dogs in grocery stores
- 72 percent oppose dogs in fast food restaurants
Overall, some were slightly more favorable when it came to allowing dogs on public transportation (47 percent said dogs should be allowed on buses and subways).
The findings shouldn’t be translated to mean that Americans have grown disloyal toward “man’s best friend;” the survey also revealed that 70 percent of Americans say they like dogs “a lot.”
If you’re planning to hit up dog-friendly businesses in your area, it’s always a good idea to double-check with the establishment about their pet policies before you arrive. In addition, be sure your dog is well-mannered and calm; dogs who bark, beg or get overly excited, fearful or aggressive are better off staying at home.