Are dogs allowed in restaurants in Australia? Can they join you on a patio in Cambodia? What about cafes in South Korea?
When you’re traveling the world with your dog, one of the big questions that comes up over and over again is this:
Where can we eat?
It seems like a straightforward question, but when you’re exploring a new city with your dog, sometimes grabbing lunch gets tricky. Because despite the fact that vaccinated dogs pose no health risk (the humans around you in a restaurant are much more likely to get you sick), many countries still see dogs as persona non grata when it comes to indoor activities.
And fine. That’s their choice. But it poses a real dilemma for those traveling with not only pets, but also service animals.
Which is why, for the last four or five months, I’ve been scouring blogs, interviewing expats, and creating an extensive list of every country in Asia and Oceana and what their policies are around dogs in restaurants. Because the best we can do is choose our destinations wisely or at least go in knowing what norms to expect.
So, where can you easily travel with your pooch and where should you plan on leaving them back at the hotel (or skipping altogether for now)?
Here’s what I learned:
Before we dive in, an important note: Many of these places face significant animal welfare and animal cruelty challenges.
I fully understand that “can I grab lunch with my dog” is a first-world problem and that issues of cruelty, mass poisonings, rabies impact on local communities, etc. are much more significant. I’ve tried to briefly include those concerns below, while also addressing the core question of this article. To learn more about overall pet-friendliness, I suggest following the many dog shelters who answered my questions below (linked where available) and doing some additional research if you plan to take your dog to a higher-risk place.
Dog-friendly! Dogs are allowed in most restaurants and eateries.
Moderately dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed in some restaurants, but it’s hit or miss.
Not very dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed in outdoor spaces, but never indoors.
Not dog-friendly. Dogs are not allowed to dine with you, there’s not enough information available to tell, or there’s significant danger for dogs or humans traveling in this area at this time.
Table of contents
Australia · New Zealand · Afghanistan · Armenia · Azerbaijan · Bahrain
Not very dog-friendly. “The local laws are very confusing as everything is becoming more pet-friendly and rapidly changing. For restaurants, inside is generally a no and outside is generally a yes. The good news is that it’s Australia, so there are lots of options for eating outside and things are changing rapidly. When Atticus a pup, we could not take him anywhere. In fact, even when eating outside he had to be 5 metres away from food being served. As it turned out…none of that was true and never legally tested. About 3 – 4 years ago everything seemed to change overnight. Now, we had no problem finding places to eat outside.” – M and P
Moderately dog-friendly. Since 2014, dogs have been legally allowed in restaurant dining areas (at the discretion of owners) for certain registered businesses. Now, it’s easier to find at least patio seating with a dog in places like Auckland and throughout the islands.
Not very dog-friendly. “As a country, it’s an absolute no to animals of any kind in restaurants. In the capital, though, many cafes are semi-dog friendly. It’s not advertised, but if you ask they may let you.” – Dogs of Gyumri
Not dog-friendly. The attitude in Azerbaijan isn’t a pet-friendly one and we wouldn’t recommend trying to take your dog into restaurants. As seen on the Hey Travel Bug blog: “The people of Baku are petrified of animals. So petrified that I’ve seen a three year old boy’s first knee-jerk reaction to seeing a dog be holding up a milk bottle and preparing to smack the dog. I’ve been asked to get the next elevator because I had a dog in my hands. I’ve had people run away from a kitten I’m holding.”
Not very dog-friendly. Don’t expect to see a lot of dogs out and about dining with their owners. But according to locals, sometimes you can find a pet-friendly patio. Lumee, Calexico, Caribou Coffee, and Starbucks were all mentioned as dog-friendly options.
Not dog-friendly. In Bhutan, dogs aren’t often seen as pets and it would very unusual for a restaurant to allow a dog. Bhutan also has large street dog populations and some issues with rabies (though a large effort starting in 2009 saw 30,000 street dogs sterilized and vaccinated by 2011), so it may not be the easiest place to travel with your pet.
Not very dog-friendly. “Indoor restaurants usually do not allow dogs. However, since Cambodia has many outdoor restaurants there are quite a few places that do allow dogs. Those are mostly either foreign-run or small local family restaurants, of whom some have their own dogs.” – Animal Rescue Cambodia
Not very dog-friendly. “It’s definitely not a cultural thing to bring one’s dog to a restaurant – the middle class, while huge and fast growing, is relatively new in China’s modern history, so companion animals are a small but growing luxury item in big cities (of which China has a *lot*).
For a dog experience in a restaurant, you’d likely need to seek out one of the kitschy theme cafes popular all over east Asia that feature various animals of the domestic and exotic variety, and I’m sure those make up less than 1% of food establishments.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you started seeing more dog friendliness (at least among the tiny purse dogs favored in high density urban environments) in places like Shanghai and Hong Kong over time, though. The thing about China is that it’s so enormous and varied in both geography and population that what’s happening in Beijing (which is super restrictive in general and definitely not dog friendly due to the strong government presence there) just has no relation to what you might see in cities much further south or inland or in the countryside where they are actually still eating dogs.” – Jessica Lee
Not dog-friendly. Don’t expect to take your dog with you to dine, even in nicer restaurants like Barbarestan.
Moderately dog-friendly. Not every restaurant will welcome dogs, but there are definitely some out there.
Moderately dog-friendly. India’s dog-friendliness is on the upswing. You’ll find dog-friendly eateries popping up around the country.
Not dog-friendly. As recently as August 2019, the Iranian government has been brutally killing stray dogs. The people are appalled and protesting, but restaurant policies aside, this is probably not the best choice for a dog-friendly vacation.
Dog-friendly! Israel – and particularly Tel Aviv – is a country full of dog-lovers. According to the Times of Israel, “Dogs crowd the streets of Tel Aviv, encouraged by its year-round sunshine and walkability. They’re allowed in most cafes, stores and even high-end restaurants, as well as on city buses and trains and in taxi vans.”
Moderately dog-friendly. Japan takes the concept of dogs in restaurants to a new level, even offering bento boxes for your pooch (yes, you read that right). That said, it’s only some restaurants and cafes that allow you in with pooch in tow – not all. For those going to Tokyo, here’s a list of 10 pet-friendly eateries. If you’re visiting another city, ask around or call ahead to make sure your lunch plans are fuzzbucket-friendly.
Not very dog-friendly. “In Jordan, we found restaurants to eat inside with our dog, but generally it isn’t so easy. Eating on patios was never a problem.” – Fatima and Jose
Not dog-friendly. “Unfortunately, Kazakhstan is not dog-friendly, though historically dogs played important role in the life of the nomads, as they helped shepherds to herd sheep or accompanied falcon hunters…99% of malls, cafes, etc. prohibit dogs and local laws say dog owners can only walk their animals in certain [very limited] places…[Worse], animal welfare activists face several problems we are not able to solve as there are no laws protecting dogs…
There are many Korean cafes in every city, where anyone can eat dogs. In winter, it is believed that you can treat your throat and cough if you eat dogs soup and apply dog grease. Strays are absolutely unprotected…there are no laws to protect dogs from cruelty.” – KARE
Moderately dog-friendly. “In general, cafes are okay and restaurants are a no. There are a large assortment of designated dog/cat/animal cafes (not just in Seoul, but in most cities around the country) and most let you bring your own pet in. Non-pet cafes for their part are pretty laissez-faire about enforcing any ‘no animal’ policies that may exist, though this may be due to the fact that most dogs in Korea are smaller than a cat and are thus easy to physically manipulate (though, broadly speaking, terribly trained). This could also be due to the fact that ‘saving face’ is a very big part of Korean culture, and most baristas would rather pretend your dog isn’t there than rock the boat by asking you to leave. In three years here, I’ve never seen a dog inside a restaurant (not including patio seating).” – Chris Dunckel
In places like Seoul, you’ll find a smattering of dog-friendly cafes and restaurants.
Not dog-friendly. Don’t expect to take your pup into eateries in Kyrgyzstan. The local attitude is not particularly dog-friendly. There was even a recent public uproar because someone thought it would be cute to put a dog in the traditional local hat and the locals found it insulting to the point of demanding legal action.
Moderately dog-friendly. “Dogs are welcome in every park both on- and off-leash and (on leash) at shops, restaurants, and café. However, they have to be under control of owners at all times and have good manners.” – Vientiane Dog Paradise
Moderately dog-friendly. “The general attitude in Lebanon has been shifting towards being super dog-friendly for the past eight years. You can take your dog to almost any cafe on the patio/terrace/garden. Some places are full-on dog friendly (restaurants and cafes) to the extent of serving complimentary water bowl and, in some cases, even treats. We have had several requests to serve our food at human resto/cafes so that the dog is not left out (we make 100% fresh dog food).” – The Happy Dog
Not dog-friendly. “The general attitude here is changing for better. However, cruelty is still a problem. For restaurants, it’s a no in 99.99%. I only know very few cases where cats and dogs are allowed.” – Albano Martins, Anima Macau
Not dog-friendly. According to Starwood Animal Transport, “They are canine-non-grata when it comes to shops, restaurants, and public transportation.”
Not dog-friendly. Maldives does not allow dogs on the islands at all.
Not very dog-friendly. “My dog Brando and I have been able to go to a few places together since we got here in 2010. However, it was predominantly places with outside seating and therefore restricted to summertime. Over the years, more and more cool places have opened that are ok with him coming inside, really just one or two. And mostly because the owners know him to be a super chill dog version of a human. Ha.
All in all, the culture here doesn’t really value dogs as equals and no traditional establishment would welcome dogs in their place of business. Because there are so many street dogs, often people are terribly scared of dogs and react in very frightened ways when they see them. Sometimes Brando and i will have whole sidewalks to ourselves because everyone that sees us coming will cross to the other side to avoid passing him. It’s actually kinda nice because i don’t like most people. Ha.
But, like in the states, there are a few gems that we can go out on a summers night and drink beer on balconies, listen to live music, or the following day nurse a hangover at a favorite brunch spot. So, those places get my business and I’m quite happy with those options.” – Justin Tully
Not very dog-friendly. “Honestly, in Nepal, they don’t really have established rules. Dogs are viewed as a guard dog or a luxury because only the rich have them. No one really tries to bring a dog places. We stuck with traditional rules where if they had an outside patio we’d bring Merci. Most people were honestly afraid of her and thought she was guarding us. We never had any trouble when we did take her places, often people would try to bring her food from the kitchen. I’d say mostly if it was outdoor seating, and then a case-by-case basis because it’s something they’re not used to.” – Gator and Nuthin
Not very dog-friendly. “On patios, [taking my dog] was fine for most places. I think only one place said no. When I traveled in a rural places with him, I was very surprised. People who normally would never let a dog in their home or in an eating area allowed him to come! But this would not necessarily be the same for all dogs. Winston is a small little teddy bear and is very well behaved and well mannered. So this might make a difference.” – Rosie Gabrielle
Not dog-friendly. Pakistan is grappling with major stray dog problems (and a lot of dogs biting humans in the capital). It’s a known problem and one people are actively working on. But it also means more risk for your not-stray dog (of being bitten, of ingesting poison meant for the strays) in the country. For this reason, Pakistan probably isn’t the best choice for a with-dog trip, restaurants aside.
Moderately dog-friendly. Search for dog-friendly places in the Philippines and you’ll unearth adorable photos like this. And this. Obviously, at least some of the restaurants in the Philippines are pet-friendly.
Not dog-friendly. “Dogs are not generally allowed in public places in Qatar. There are a couple of municipal parks and public beaches that dogs are allowed on a leash and a cafe that will accept them. No restaurants and they are not allowed in indoor areas such as shopping malls. Due to the weather here it’s just not practical to have them out and about through the day though, summer temperatures are in the high 40s and even into the 50s (celsius).
“As a country, Qatar is still fairly new to the idea of dogs as pets. Dogs were used for desert hunting, as working members of the tribe for centuries, plus many of the workers here have similar cultures back home so there is lack of experience and understanding. But! Things are changing and the younger generations have different views and dog ownership is increasing not just with the number of expats here but with young local families choosing to have dogs.” – QAWS
Not dog-friendly. No surprise here: Saudi Arabia isn’t particularly dog-friendly. In 2008, the religious police banned people from walking their dogs (afraid that men would use them to try and seduce women) and I couldn’t find any documentation that this ban has been lifted.
Moderately dog-friendly. “In Singapore we can only bring them to food establishments that have a special license to allow pets. So envious of places where they can just be brought in, no questions asked! It’s a small country, and while these establishments are mainly in the south and east of Singapore, they are accessible to all. They tend to be more expensive too. Also, some aren’t licensed to allow pets but do anyway. Those, of course, I won’t name to prevent them from getting in trouble.” – Hannah Wong
Not dog-friendly. Sri Lanka has a severe homeless dog problem and a decided lack of empathy toward dogs (I won’t elaborate on what I’ve read, but suffice to say it’s very cruel). I would not recommend traveling there with a dog at this time.
Moderately dog-friendly. “Some restaurants will allow them inside. Most will allow if it’s outdoor seating. Shops as well. Public transport only if they’re inside a stroller. Generally speaking, Taiwanese people are very dog friendly.” – Matthew
Not dog-friendly. “I don’t have a dog and have am generally afraid of dogs, but even I can say for sure the country is not dog friendly. The problem goes waaaay beyond just not letting dogs into cafes and restaurants. I wish those were the only measures of unfriendliness to dogs here.” – Rukhshona Nazhmidinova
“From a religious point of view, Tajiks are brought up to think of dogs as dirty animals. Thus they are shunned, which, in turn, creates a noticeable street-dog population. This, in turn, fulfills the belief that dogs are dirty.
In general, Tajiks are afraid of dogs and again, this is because street-dogs will naturally develop a more aggressive behavior. If a pack is perceived to be forming, municipal workers will be sent out to shoot the dogs with a low caliber bullet. More than often this doesn’t kill them, but it does slow them down enough for the workers to move in and club the dog to death…
Another side of dog welfare is dog fighting. While is is mostly an underground sport, it is culturally accepted. They cut the ears and tails and train them to be aggressive. The street-dog population provides these people with an endless supply of potential money earners. Again, I have seen this played out when two such owners crossed paths while walking their dogs and they allowed an impromptu fight to begin while a crowd gathered round. As far as the farming community is concerned, dogs are held in a slightly higher regard. They are primarily guard dogs. They are tied or caged most of the day, but I don’t think it is too different from other farming communities around the world.” – An anonymous dog-loving local
Not very dog-friendly. “In Thailand, we never found a restaurant where we could eat indoors with our dog, but eating on patios was never a problem.” – Fatima and Jose
United Arab Emirates
Not dog-friendly. “It’s really much more dog friendly in the UAE now than it was in 2000. Back then we had empty soda cans thrown at us when walking him and nowhere was he accepted. Now the the outdoor areas of restaurants in tourist areas are more open (though it’s still not every place).” – Kate
Very little information is available. This leads me to believe that it’s probably not a place where dogs would be accepted in restaurants. (If you have information on this, please let me know!)
Not dog-friendly. Yemen is currently at war and having a pet is a major luxury and not the norm. There probably aren’t many readers traveling here just now, but if you do, I wouldn’t expect to take your pooch out to dinner.
Now, to you: What have your experiences been? Did I get it wrong with any of the above? If so, please reach out to me on Facebook and let me know! I’ll be updating this post regularly.