A Minnesota steakhouse recently announced plans to open its newest location in Mount Pleasant, complete with a "dog-friendly patio." Which begs the question, so to speak: Can a steakhouse really qualify as dog-friendly, or is it inherently mean to expose Spot to red meat he can’t eat?
"Dogs generally do enjoy being in the presence of cooking food, especially meat,” said Lucy Fuller, senior director of veterinary care for the Charleston Animal Society. But here’s the rub for the canine crowd: “Sharing with them is not recommended, however.”
According to Fuller, high-caloric restaurant food intended for human consumption can put dogs at risk of pancreatitis. She suggests dog owners set on sharing food with their pets focus on lean meat, vegetables and starches in small portions.
The smoked bone marrow with sweet onion marmalade currently on the menu at Butcher & the Boar in Minneapolis would not be a good choice, for instance.
“Cooked bones, which dogs will try to consume, are very dangerous and can require emergency surgery if they break up after being eaten and become lodged in the stomach or esophagus,” she said. “Onions and garlic have been shown to cause hemolytic anemia, a life-threatening condition.”
Still, patrons who want to give their dogs a taste of the “more casual menu of sausages, brats, sandwiches and snacks” served on the patio are not legally barred from doing so.
Under South Carolina law, dogs are allowed to dine at restaurants that have been pre-approved by the Department of Environmental Control. But a "Lady and the Tramp" spaghetti scenario is unlikely to occur, since “no pets are allowed on a chair, table, countertop or any other furnishings” in a permitted outdoor pet dining area, according to DHEC spokesman Tommy Crosby. Additionally, pets can only be served food on “single-use items,” which is government-speak for paper plates.
Fuller doesn’t thrill to the idea of Butcher & the Boar customers requesting paper plates for their pets’ cheddar wurst.
“Bottom line: Dogs are not humans,” she said. “If you take your dog to the steakhouse, be nice and feed him a meal first.”
Butcher & the Boar is scheduled to open later this year at 730 Coleman Blvd. The venue last housed Southerly, the restaurant extension of Southern Season. For more information, go to butcherandtheboar.com.