Animals on the premises of food establishments

The State-written Texas Food Establishment Rules previously prohibited animals from being on the premises of a food establishment with the exception of K-9 police and service dogs as defined by ADA regulations.  As of September 1, 2019, the State Legislature added Section 437.025 to the Texas Health and Safety Code establishing requirements for dogs in outdoor dining areas of food service establishments.

How do I know if a location is dog-friendly?

  • Locations will have a signage posted in conspicuous view stating that dogs are permitted.

What rules do I need to follow if I bring my dog with me to a dog-friendly patio?

  • The customer and dog must access the establishment directly from the exterior; and
  • Dogs:
    • may not be brought to the interior of the establishment to access an exterior patio.
    • must be constantly under the control of the owner via a dog leash.
    • may not rest on any table, chair, bench, or any similar surface in which a patron sits.

I own a restaurant and want to allow dogs on my outdoor patio. What do I do?

  • Determine whether your location has exterior access to the outdoor patio area.
  • Ensure food safety & sanitation practices are put in place to protect the health and safety of guests.
  • Establishment must not prepare food, or permit open food other than food that is being served to a customer in the outdoor patio area.

During every on-site inspection, Sanitarians will verify compliance of food safety regulations in accordance with the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER), and Section 437.025 to the Texas Health and Safety Code regarding dogs on the patio.