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Buddy hangs out on Denver Brewing Co's outdoor patio. Photo by Jay Bouchard

Dog-Friendly Denver: Rules for Bringing Your Dog to Restaurants

So you want to bring Lassie out for a beer and a bite? Here's what you need to know.

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Dogs these days are in tow just about everywhere their pet-parents go in Denver. The office? Sure. The grocery store? Sometimes. The bedroom? Of course.

Because there are so few places Denverites don’t take their dogs, establishments across the city have been forced to adapt. In fact, when it comes to restaurants and breweries, Denver is the most progressive city in Colorado. Dating back to 2007, the city has allowed leashed dogs on eligible patios at regulated food facilities—providing certain requirements are met—and is still the only jurisdiction in the state with such an allowance. The rules have been updated and revised over the years to make compliance easier for restaurants and breweries, but the Mile High City remains one of the easiest places to drink and dine with your pooch. Here are the rules from Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment that you need to know before doing so.

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For Pet Owners

Always On Leash: The simplest rule for pet parents is also the most obvious: If you’re bringing your dog to a restaurant or brewery, you must keep it leashed and under control. Dogs also must be kept at least 15 feet from any outdoor food or drink handling areas and wait stations at all times. The only exception to this rule is at the Watering Bowl, which is pursuing an exception so that it can provide an off-leash area adjacent to its outdoor dining area, per a city spokesperson.

Stay Outside: Dogs are prohibited from entering the interior of any retail food establishment (exceptions are made for service animals), and customers accompanied by dogs may only enter the outdoor seating area via designated outdoor entrances.

Chairs and Tables: This one should go without saying, but dogs must remain on the ground at all times. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s cute: Dogs are not allowed on a seat, table, countertop or any other furnishings.

Vaccinations: Any dog in an outdoor dining area must have current vaccinations and tags fixed to their collars.

Pick It Up: If your pooch has an accident, pick it up immediately. It’s that simple. The area then must be sanitized (with supplies provided by the establishment).

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For Restaurants

Per updated city code from 2014, a dining establishment with a patio over 400-square-feet has to designate half of that area for patrons without dogs. If a patio is under 400-square-feet and allows dogs, then no wait service can be provided. Prior to this update, businesses had to register with the city indicating their dog-friendly status, but that requirement was phased out, increasing the number of eligible facilities, according to a city spokesperson.

Signage: Any establishment that allows dogs must have a sign in a “conspicuous location” in the interior of the dining area, as well as in the outdoor dining area alerting patrons that dogs may be present.

Cleaning up: Any establishment allowing dogs must provide sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and a designated waste bin in the instance that an animal has an accident on site. Clean up must be immediate.

Don’t Touch: While on duty, employees are not permitted to pet, care for, or handle any animal in the designated outdoor area.

Complete rules and regulations can be found here

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(Read more: 15 of our favorite dog-friendly restaurants, breweries, and cafes in Denver)


Discover our favorite local products, hikes and more in Dog-Friendly Denver, a dog-lover’s guide to the Mile High City.

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