Dogs: Service Animals and Outdoor Dining

Service Animals

For more information about service animals, including the two questions staff may ask, see ADA Requirements: Service Animals or Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA.

Service dog

Dogs in Outdoor Dining Areas

Virginia law allows dogs in outdoor dining areas if an establishment meets certain criteria. Please note that this only applies to dogs; other animals are not permitted.

Dog in an outdoor dining area

Establishments that would like to allow dogs, must submit an application(PDF, 174KB) to the Public Health Division agreeing to comply with these criteria. Once Public Health approves your application, you will receive a new license, which specifies Dog Dining as a condition.

Criteria for Dog Dining:

  1. The outdoor dining area is not fully enclosed and is not a part of the interior physical facility.
  2. The outdoor dining area has a separate entrance for patrons and their dogs.
  3. The establishment posts a clearly observable sign stating that dogs:
    • Are allowed in the outdoor dining area
    • Must be kept leashed and under control
    • Are not allowed on seats, tables, and laps
    • Are not allowed to eat or drink from restaurant dishes
  4. The establishment provides effective means for cleaning up dog vomitus and fecal matter. For more information, read the handout Keep It Clean(PDF, 1MB).

Service animals or patrol dogs are exempt from these requirements.

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