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Bone appetit! Dogs now allowed on Nova Scotia restaurant and cafe patios

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WATCH: Nova Scotia has announced that pet dogs will now be allowed to accompany their owners to restaurant, bar, and café patios. Alexa MacLean reports – Mar 30, 2021

Nova Scotia has announced that pet dogs will now be allowed to accompany their owners to restaurant, bar, and café patios.

The change, in effect on Tuesday, is a part of Premier Iain Rankin’s promise to “remove unnecessary barriers for restaurants to meet customer needs,” the government said in a statement.

“We’ve listened to the restaurant industry. They told us this change will help them attract more dog owners who want to enjoy a leisurely meal or a beverage and be able to do so without having to leave their dogs at home,” said Rankin in the release.

“The new rules will still protect food safety and allow restaurants to offer this option if that’s what their customers want.”

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Business owners can still make their own call on whether to allow pet dogs or limit the number of dogs. They can also ask a customer to remove the pet if it’s misbehaving, the province says.

Food and safety guidelines must be followed, including the following rules, according the province:

  • pet dogs are not allowed inside restaurants and are only allowed on patios that can be accessed from the street
  • dogs cannot eat while at the restaurant but they can drink water from separate bowls brought by the owner
  • restaurants with dog-friendly patios must post a sign so potential customers are aware before they sit down

Gordon Stewart, executive director of Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, said in the release that this change is good for restaurants, bars and cafes.

“Our research shows that restaurants that allow dogs see a five per cent increase in sales,” Stewart said.

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“Many dog owners are more likely to linger on their favourite patio, and order food or another beverage, if their dog can stay with them. It’s good for our industry and good for customers.”

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Additional rules include that:

  • pet owners must keep their dogs on the ground and away from aisles
  • owners must clean up any waste immediately

The province also said there are no changes to rules for dogs certified under the Nova Scotia Service Dogs Act, which are allowed on patios and inside restaurants.

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