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Dogs now allowed on Iowa bar and restaurant patios without a waiver

DES MOINES – Now that the weather is getting warmer, Iowans may soon see more of man’s best friend at Iowa eateries.

Due to a change in Iowa Administrative Code last year, Iowa bars and restaurants do not have to apply for a waiver from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to allow pet dogs on their outdoor patios.

“Food establishments still have to follow the same rules as they have in past years,” said DIA Director Larry Johnson, Jr. “But this new process will be less cumbersome for them.”

One of the steps food businesses are required to implement if they decide to allow pet dogs in their outdoor dining spaces is to post rules governing pet dogs at each entrance of the establishment. At a minimum, those rules must contain the following:

  • Pet dogs shall be leashed at all times;
  • Pet dogs shall not enter any interior area of the food establishment at any time;
  • Pet dogs must be controlled at all times by the dog’s owner or designee;
  • Pet dogs are not permitted on chairs, tables, benches or seats; and
  • Pet dog owners must immediately notify the food establishment’s staff in the event that excrement or bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vomit, or the like) are deposited.”

These rules do not pertain to service dogs. Service dogs, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are already allowed in places where pet dogs (including emotional support dogs) are not.

For more information on what food establishments will need to do to allow dogs on their patios, please visit the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals’ website.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals is committed to protecting the health and safety of Iowans through regulation and oversight of health care, food, and gaming; application of administrative law; and investigation of Medicaid and welfare fraud.

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