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Are Dogs Allowed In McDonald’s? [Restaurant Policy Guide]

Are you planning on stopping by at McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat? Maybe you’re after a Big Mac, maybe it’s for McNuggets. Regardless of what you fancy, can you take your dog inside while you order? Well, here is what you are going to need to know.

So, are dogs allowed in McDonald’s? Dogs are not allowed in McDonald’s, or any other fast-food restaurant chain. The only exception to this established company policy is service dogs, who are legally permitted to enter places of public accommodation, including restaurants.

That being said, that doesn’t mean visiting McDonald’s with your dog is entirely off-limits.

It does just mean a little bit of planning and consideration that we will get into shortly.

Why Are Service Dogs Allowed In McDonalds?

Service dogs are those that perform a specific, defined task or tasks related to a person with a disability. Therefore, a person is largely dependent on them.

It is actually a legal requirement that service dogs are allowed into McDonald’s. Even if there is a “no pets policy” in place.

It is prohibited for a restaurant to discriminate against individuals with disabilities or perceived disabilities.

Perhaps this is why you may have seen a dog in Mcdonald’s.

Now it’s important to define what isn’t a service dog here.

“Comfort”, “companion” and “emotional support” dogs do not get the same protection.

As such, like any other pet, they’re not allowed in either. They are not considered service animals and will, therefore, will likely be refused entry.

Some service dogs wear special collars, harnesses or can be identified through papers.

But here is where it gets a little tricky.

Individuals are not required to carry documentation or proof their dog is a service animal.

And at the same time, McDonald’s employees can only ask if the dog is a service animal. If the individual replies with a yes, they have to be admitted.

This is not to say you can or should do this.

It’s simply an explanation of why some dogs may be seen in McDonald’s – with or without being easily identified as service animals.

In fact, McDonald’s took to Facebook to clear up an incident involving a customer, wrongly perceived to be bringing “a pet” into one of their restaurants:

Can I bring my dog into McDonald's

It captures quite perfectly what this restaurant’s policy is and the challenges faced with identifying service dogs.

How To Get A McDonalds While With Your Dog

The best thing you can to do get a Mcdonald’s while with your dog is to plan your trip in advance. Seek out a McDonald’s with either an outdoor eating area, service hatch, or drive-thru.

Before you head off, it’s a good idea to use the interactive McDonalds store finder tool, and work with the filter to see what amenities each location has.

Now, many states will allow you to take your dog into an outdoor patio, where you can eat your McDonalds with your dog in attendance.

By law, the states that allow outdoor dining with dogs present are: Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Tennesse, Maryland, New Mexico, California, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Texas.

That being said, there are caveats, so you will want to check your state laws and the amenities of the McDonalds you plan to visit ahead of time.

But eating outside is not always ideal.

If the weather is particularly bad, or you don’t like the idea of sitting outside, then your best next bet is to go to a drive-thru.

While you may have to eat your food in the car, and you are essentially taking it away, this will not stop you from ordering altogether.

Finally

Dogs are generally not allowed in McDonald’s.

Although, service dogs are; which is the exception to the rule here.

And while the laws and regulations can be abused, they are in place for a reason.

For the most part, it’s best that dogs are not allowed in McDonald’s.

Besides, there could be another customer afraid or allergic to dogs.

So if you really cannot, nor want, to leave your dog alone in the car temporarily (which is not always advised either), head to the drive-thru.