Can I Bring My Dog to a Restaurant – What Does the Law Say?


Bringing a dog into a food establishment, such as a store or restaurant, often raises questions and discussions. What does the food law say about this? Can a pet dog be brought into any food establishment, or are there restrictions?


Animal Access to Registered Food Premises


Pets

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Food Hygiene Regulation (318/2021), bringing a pet into the customer areas of a registered food premises is allowed, but it requires the operator's consent. The operator can also restrict the allowed pets, for example, by limiting access to certain animal species or sizes.

The operator's consent and any possible restrictions must be indicated at the entrance of the food premises. This means that owners of shops, restaurants, and kiosks must clearly inform their customers if bringing pets into the premises is allowed or if there are specific conditions.


Assistance Dogs

Unlike pet animals, assistance dogs, such as guide dogs, hearing dogs, service dogs, support dogs, and hypoglycemia alert dogs, are allowed to enter the customer areas of registered food premises without the operator's permission. This right is protected by law, and assistance dogs are essential for many people in their daily lives.


Restrictions

It is important to note that pets or assistance dogs are not allowed in kitchens or other food handling or storage areas. This restriction is in place to ensure food safety. It is the operator's responsibility, according to the Food Act (297/2021), to ensure that the safety of the food being produced, prepared, stored, or handled is not compromised.


Food Safety and Hygiene Passport

Food safety is a critical factor in the food industry. A hygiene passport is proof that a person knows the basics of food hygiene and can follow good hygiene practices. Obtaining and following the hygiene passport ensures that employees know how to act in situations where, for example, a pet is brought into the customer area.

Food industry operators must ensure that all employees are aware of the risks and strictly follow the practices learned from the hygiene passport. This reduces the risk of harmful bacteria spreading to food and ensures a safe and hygienic environment for both customers and employees.



Bringing a pet into the customer areas of a registered food premises is possible with the operator's consent, but assistance dogs are an exception and may enter without permission. Ensuring food safety is of paramount importance, and the hygiene passport helps food industry employees follow proper hygiene practices. Always keep food safety in mind and ensure that you comply with laws and regulations when considering bringing a pet into a food establishment.