Dining Out with Dogs

By Margot McNeeley / Photography By Melissa Petersen | July 03, 2016
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I love dogs. I love every little thing about them (well, almost every little thing), and I have three dogs to prove my adoration. And, I love to dine out. Sometimes two passions come together and work well for people, and sometimes they just don’t. The ‘just don’ts’ remind me of those parents whose kid starts acting up in a restaurant and quickly disappear before the situation turns ugly. Well, dog parents can experience the same embarrassing incidents and we too can pull a quick Houdini-esque disappearing act with our own over-excited, misbehaving, or just plain uncomfortable, kid (dog).

Other than a couple times while socializing my dogs when they were pups and adolescents, I really haven’t attempted the daunting dog-dining-out feat and, as I write this, I’m wondering if they would even enjoy an al fresco dining experience. Maybe they’d be more content staying at home in the comfort of their beds and air conditioning. Only one way to know!

My first stop was City & State, with Hank my Ibizan Hound mix. I thought I’d get an easy visit under my belt, with just coffee and not an actual sit-down meal. While I enjoyed an iced mint chip matcha, Hank enjoyed a dog biscuit from a kind C&S staffer. City & State’s newly shaded patio was perfect for us and we had close proximity to the parking lot for a quick get away if needed. But, as luck would have it, we didn’t need to quickly disappear, Hank did exceptionally well and enjoyed lots of dog-loving visitors.

One Sunday we decided to be really brave and have brunch at South of Beale (SOB) with one of our dogs. I purposely saved the longer meal for my most well-behaved dog, Fiona, a 13-year-old Border Collie mix. I brought all her favorite treats and toys, but she wasn’t interested in any of them. While our table ate eggs and drank mimosas, Fiona panted and gave me the. “I want to go home look.” But then a side order of bacon came to our rescue. Living in a vegan household, that real bacon kept Fiona focused long enough for us to finish our meals.

Later in the week, I found myself stuck with one of my dogs in the car en route to the dog park only to discover it was closed. There are not many places to go with your dog at 7:30 am, but Muddy’s Bakeshop in Midtown was! Hank and I had a great little visit in their backyard with coffee and scones, and biscuits that they bake and sell specifically for dogs. It was a very nice early morning reprieve from the sometimes chaotic dog park.

Another nice place for dog dining is Cheffie’s, where I took Cleo, my middle child, three-year old, Boxer/American Staffordshire Terrier mix, for lunch. She did great, but I was glad we arrived and left early. As the patio started to fill up, I could tell some people weren’t comfortable with my dog being there.

All in all, dining out with dogs was just about as I predicted. No real drama, no embarrassing dog accidents, but I really didn’t get the impression that my pups were too thrilled about dining out. I didn’t enjoy my time with the friends as much as I would have had I not had a 4-legged critter along. The dogs would probably have been better off staying at home in the comfort of their beds (who am I kidding — my bed!) and the air conditioning.

As much as I love my dogs, I also enjoy a little time away from them. I imagine people with kids might feel the same. Remember, it’s not necessary to bring your dog everywhere with you. But, if you have a dog that enjoys dining out and you enjoy taking her with you (and she behaves), dine on and enjoy!

Send us your pics! Your dog probably looks pretty cute accompanying you to patios around Memphis. Send your photo to ediblememphis.com and we’ll share with our readers.

IMPORTANT SUMMER SAFETY INFORMATION

Never leave your dog in a parked car. Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. Windows rolled down have little effect on the temperature inside a car. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. Tennessee law allows good Samaritans to contact law enforcement to break into a car, if the car is locked and the pet is in danger of suffering harm from the heat.

Watch the humidity! “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels — very quickly,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Provide ample shade and water. Any time your pet is outside, make sure she has protection from heat and sun, and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct airflow.  A doghouse does not provide relief from heat — in fact, it makes it worse.

Concrete and asphalt are hot on paws. If it’s too hot for you to go barefoot, it’s too hot for your dogs paws.

BRING YOUR OWN

Toys or things to chew on or hold the dog’s attention

A Kong — stuffed with non-fat plain yogurt and frozen overnight

Treats!

Water bowl

Leash (retractable leashes are not safe; use a thick mesh leash).

Bottled water

Cooling mat

Cooling jacket

Doggie poop bags (just in case)

Article from Edible Memphis at http://ediblememphis.ediblecommunities.com/things-do/dining-out-dogs
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