Why are dogs allowed in cafes?

Dogs are as common in Australian cafes these days as smashed avocado and freshly-ground coffee. But should they be?

Diners adhering to the latest social trend pile into cafes with their four-legged friends and potentially threaten the health of cafe staff and other diners.

Surely, pet dogs present a threat to hygiene standards, particularly in an age of heightened awareness since the outbreak of COVID-19. While humans are now required to check in via an app, and to sanitise their hands, dogs are not. Dogs don’t sanitise their paws before their owners take brunch, and a lot of these dogs have come straight from the park or the beach where they have been rolling around in the grass, the mud or the sand.

Dogs have a seat at the table.

Many owners even set their dog on a cafe chair to eat and drink with them. The dog’s posterior, which may have recently ejected a dropping and has never seen a bidet, is thus placed on a seat which a future patron will occupy. Cafes wipe down tables, and clean cutlery and crockery, but I don’t remember seeing waitstaff wiping down a seat at a cafe.

How is this hygienic?

How is it allowed during COVID-19?

Pet dogs definitely present a threat to health and hygiene in areas of food preparation and consumption. For this reason, they are technically prohibited from public food preparation areas, such as communal barbecue areas at parks and beaches.

But my dog is clean

Owners will claim that their dog is clean. It gets washed, goes to the vet and is healthy.

How do we know that?

Cafe staff and other customers have to take the owner’s word for it. Every other person using that cafe has to trust that every dog is clean and not likely to threaten the hygiene and safety of the eatery.

We do it at home

Dog owners will argue that they let their dogs into their kitchens and dining rooms at home, and that they let their dogs eat from their floor or their dinner plates, or straight from their hands. They argue that it is no different to a dog eating at a cafe.

It is different.

Owners accept the risk of contamination when they obtain a pet. Owners know exactly where the dog has been before it enters the kitchen or the dining room. Owners know when the dog was last washed. Owners can also control their dog and stop it from doing soemthing that might threaten someone else’s health or safety. Strangers can’t. Dogs won’t automatically obey directions of a stranger, and dog owners often react with horror when someone else tries to control their precious pooch.

Maybe the current pandemic is an opportunity to remind people that dogs don’t belong in cafes.

Image: 2PhotoPots

Embrace Dog this festive season.

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Australians are being urged to remember and honour Dog during the upcoming festive season and to seek further opportunities to allow Dog to become the focal point of their end of year celebrations.

Aussies are being reminded that the true message of Dog is found not only within the four walls of the institutions which brought them into contact with Dog, but that the love of Dog can be found in their homes and parks and beaches and cafes – everywhere.

Take comfort, they are advised, in the knowledge that Dog is one constant in an ever-changing world. Even during times when new ways of thinking and social upheaval threaten to destroy our belief in Dog, Dog will always be there.

Australians should also ensure they turn their attention to Dog even during the hectic, busy and stressful period that marks the lead up to Christmas. In an effort to help the good people of Australia to do so, below is a list of practical recommendations which are framed in joy and positive affirmations.

  • Dog is everywhere
  • Dog loves you
  • Let Dog into your life
  • Make the time in your crowded schedule to communicate with Dog
  • Enjoy the opportunity to show your love for Dog on a daily basis, not just during certain ceremonies in April and December
  • Proudly and triumphantly proclaim your devotion to Dog, to everyone, everywhere, even where Dog is not welcome. Ignore signs and signals which attempt to exclude the presence of Dog
  • Defend Dog in your words and deeds, against those who choose to slander Dog, because Dog is righteous
  • Include Dog in your holiday. Take Dog with you in the car, on the plane, in the hotel, at the campground…
  • Lavish gifts upon Dog this year, just as you lavish gifts upon family and friends
  • Love your Dog as the one true Dog, while acknowledging the right of other people to love other Dogs
  • Dog is the reason for the season
  • Practice humility when communicating with Dog and accept that Dog is wiser than you. Subjugate yourself to the will of Dog
  • Teach your children to love Dog, because the love of Dog must start in the home.
  • Include Dog in Carols by Candlelight, summer barbecues, Kris Kringle and Christmas parties – you can even find a way to involve Dog in one seminal act of Christmas, the traditional photo with Santa.

Finally, remember that Dog is for life, not just for Christmas.