Pets in pubs permitted

'Rules' dating back to the 1950s have been repealed to permit domestic animals such as dogs and cats into food premises at the food business operator’s discretion.

The law does not specifically prohibit domestic animals (dogs and cats) from being in a pub but kitchens and store rooms or shops, supermarkets or other places where food is on open display remain off-bounds for animals, states the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

The development most likely follows a number of licensed premises ‘flouting’ the rules lately in protest at this ‘prohibition’ of pets and allowing their customers to have their pets accompany them for a pint.

However under Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 access by domestic animals continues to be prohibited to food premises or parts of food premises where food is prepared, handled or stored, which may be applicable to premises such as kitchens, supermarkets and shops.

According to a statement from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, “Where allowed by law, the decision to permit access to animals ultimately rests with the food business operator. Where access is granted, however, the food business operator must be able to demonstrate that such access will not pose an undue risk of contamination of foodstuffs. In deciding where and when access may be permitted, the food business operator must identify potential hazards, consider the likelihood and severity of the risks and determine effective controls”.

It should be noted that the exception is that food business operators should allow access for:

  • Guide dogs to help people who are vision impaired
  • Assistance dogs for families of children with autism
  • Assistance dogs for adolescents with autism
  • Companion dogs for persons with other disabilities
  • Pups and dogs in training who will go on to qualify as the above categories of dog.


According to the FSAI, “Access to customer dining areas of restaurants and bars could be permitted by the food business operator at his or her discretion and provided:

  • such access to customer dining areas is taken into account within the food safety management system in operation in the food business
  • the dining areas are monitored
  • Every effort is taken to ensure that food cannot be contaminated
  • dogs and other pets are kept under the control of the owners and
  • proper procedures are in place to deal with any contamination of the premises.

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