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Are Dogs Allowed in Starbucks? 2023 Updated Facts & FAQ


Mar 28, 2023
Dog with its owner at a coffee shop.


Dog with its owner at a coffee shop.

Starbucks needs no introduction: you’ve probably had their fresh-brewed coffee more than once. But are you allowed to enter a Starbucks store with a dog? Sadly, the answer is no, you can’t. The only animals that are permitted in Starbucks are service dogs.

Why is that, though? What will happen if you deliberately violate these regulations? Can four-legged family members hang out in the patio area, at least? That’s exactly what we’re here to find out! Read on to learn about the current Starbucks policy on dogs and other pets in the US, the UK, and the EU.


Can You Enter a Starbucks Store With a Dog?

The quick answer is no; that’s not something dog owners can do right now. But the reason for that isn’t unique to this brand. Just like any other indoor dining area, Starbucks has to follow strict regulations set by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Any café or restaurant that sells, prepares, or serves food 1 indoors isn’t categorized as a dog-friendly location.

That means you won’t be able to enjoy a hot drink in the presence of your furry friend. The only exception is service dogs. If you have a dog that serves as your working partner and helps you move around, Starbucks will welcome the two of you with open arms. Other than that, no pooches are allowed, no matter how small or harmless they are. This is important: emotional support dogs are banned as well.

dogs having puppuccino
Image Credit: Staniela R. Nikolova, Shutterstock

What About Cats and Other Animals?

Again, to avoid trouble and disappointment, you should check in advance. But cats aren’t that different from dogs. If you have a kitty and think you can sneak it into a Starbucks café, best believe it will be spotted and asked to leave. The same applies to hamsters, rabbits, and other popular domesticated animals. On the bright side, there are no government-approved fines for doing this.

Are cats allowed in outdoor areas, though? For the most part, yes, they are. As long as the furball doesn’t find its way back into the indoor area, you won’t have to worry about anything. And one more thing: cats aren’t recognized as service animals by the ADA. Technically, only dogs can be called that 2. However, some miniature horses may also fall into that definition.


Do These Rules Apply to Outdoor Areas?

Thankfully, the patios aren’t as strict toward dogs. We do, of course, recommend checking the local Starbucks website or social media or giving them a call. But, in many states, the outdoor areas should be dog-friendly. So, all you’ll have to do is get the coffee, tea, or whatever you like to have to get through the day and enjoy it in the company of your pooch outside of the store.

And the best thing about outdoor Starbucks areas/patios is that they’re spacious and look great. A well-trained, obedient dog won’t cause you or other caffeine fans any trouble. And it shouldn’t be hard to find a post or a sturdy table leg to tie the dog’s leash to. More good news: the dog won’t have to watch you drink that coffee alone. Starbucks has a treat called “Puppuccino” (comes for free) and most dogs love it!

a dog lying under a restaurant table
Image Credit: Anders Ipsen, Unsplash

What Penalties Should You Expect?

Don’t worry—you won’t have to deal with thousand-dollar fines if you try to sneak your dog into an indoor Starbucks store. Most likely, one of the staff members will notice it and make the doggo turn around before it hops onto a chair. That said, any attempts to “trick the system” are punishable by law. We’re talking about situations when people try to pass a regular dog for a service one.

Depending on the state, the government will fine you $500 for the first time 3 and twice as much if you’re caught again. The third offense will cost a dishonest dog owner $2,500. You can even face jail time! So, please, think twice before you tell the folks at Starbucks that you’re the owner of a service dog. Besides, you can always chill with your pet in the backyard.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

Backyards, patios, and outdoor dining areas can, indeed, be open for dogs. However, no laws require restaurants or cafes to do that (unless they’re service dogs, of course). It all comes down to the owners and how they feel about pets on their property. Also, even if a Starbucks location in your area does allow dogs, they will still have to enter the area from the outside, not the inside.

On top of that, the cafe will probably have barriers installed in the outside area, limiting access to the sidewalk. The dog won’t be allowed on any of the chairs or benches, and if you feed them, use disposable containers. More importantly, the folks at Starbucks might ask you to prove that your dog is vaccinated against rabies and officially licensed. Look for a sign near the entrance: it will include all the important info on pets.

Here’s a quick recap of everything we just learned:

Dogs & Starbucks

  • Dogs are not allowed in Starbucks indoor stores.
  • Outdoor areas are available but not obligated by law.
  • Only service dogs can enter indoor Starbucks locations.
  • You need to keep your dog restrained while on a Starbucks patio.
  • Don’t feed it from a plate; only use disposable containers for that.
  • If you order something, they’ll give you a Puppuccino for free.


Starbucks in the UK and the EU: The Rules

If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom or the EU, you might be wondering about the local laws regarding dogs in Starbucks. Well, they aren’t that different from what we have here in the States. Just like most countries around the globe, the UK and the EU don’t allow animals into dining areas but do make an exception for service dogs.

Some UK stores might be more inviting, but they’re rather an exception to the rule. Fortunately, most Starbucks stores have absolutely no problem with dogs in the outdoor patios. Just keep your pet restrained, don’t feed it anything from a plate, and make sure it doesn’t make fellow dog owners uncomfortable. Be polite, ask the staff where they stand on this, and go from there.

dog with his owner at a coffee shop
Image Credit: dmitrieva, Shutterstock


Dog Health and Safety 101: A Detailed Guide

Alright, so you found a Starbucks café in your area that welcomes dogs in the backyard. That’s great news! However, before you head out, you need to protect the pet against outside threats. First, if the patio is overcrowded with mosquitoes, you might want to avoid it. Mosquito bites are quite dangerous for dogs; the same is true for ticks and fleas. Vaccinations are also very important.

Next, always keep the dog leashed. If you don’t, it might start poking around in the trash can and get infected. Is it chilly outside? Consider putting a jacket on the pooch. And if the temps are unusually high, make sure the dog stays in the shade. Also, do your best to supervise and socialize the doggo. Lastly, we recommend chipping the dog and putting an ID tag around its neck.

The Importance of Dog Grooming

You can avoid a long list of diseases with proper grooming. This involves brushing and bathing the dog, along with trimming its nails. Depending on how thick the pet’s coat is, you’ll have to brush it 2–3 times a week. Or, if it’s short and smooth, it will only require brushing once in 1–2 weeks. In contrast, only bathe the fluffy chap once in 2–4 months (don’t use human shampoo).

Unless it plays in the dirt a lot, there’s little reason to bathe the dog more often. Nail clipping is usually done two times a month. Keep your ears open: if you hear a clicking sound when the dog is running across the hall, that means it’s time for trimming! Ear cleaning is done once a week; clean the dog’s teeth every other day. Also, be very gentle and take your time when grooming the dog.

Dog Soap Bubble Bath
Image Credit: Kashaeva Irina, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw


Unless your dog is a service animal, you won’t be able to enter a Starbucks shop with it. The company has strict policies regarding dogs (because of FDA-approved health codes), but some locations do allow pets on the patio. So, just leave the dog in the car while you’re grabbing your daily caffeine dose, or enjoy it in the backyard.

Better yet, give the store a quick call to see how they feel about furry boys and girls in their stores. As we learned today, most Starbucks locations are more than happy to see dogs in outdoor areas. Keep the dog on a leash, make sure it stays on the ground, and reward it with a cup of Puppuccino!

Featured Image Credit: Staniela R. Nikolova, Shutterstock

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