Service Animals & Pets

2021 changes in Iowa’s Administrative Code makes it possible for Iowa bars and restaurants to allow pet dogs on their outdoor patios without having to to apply for a waiver from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.  This was being applauded by animal lovers across the state, but has caused some public confusion about where pets, service animals and emotional support animals may legally be within a restaurant or bar.  Please refer to the documents linked below for more specific information.   At a minimum, restaurants and bars allowing pet dogs on patios must post rules that include:

  • Pet dogs shall be leashed at all times;
  • Pet dogs shall not enter any interior area of the food establishment at any time;
  • Pet dogs must be controlled at all times by the dog’s owner or designee;
  • Pet dogs are not permitted on chairs, tables, benches or seats; and
  • Pet dog owners must immediately notify the food establishment’s staff in the event that excrement or bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vomit, or the like) are deposited.”

These rules do not pertain to service dogs. Service dogs, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are already allowed in places where pet dogs (including emotional support dogs) are not.