WA dog owners are now allowed to take their pooches to cafes and restaurants with outdoor areas after changes to national food hygiene regulations.
Previously, cafe and restaurant owners who allowed customers to bring their dogs into outdoor service areas were in breach of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code, unless they were assistance dogs.
WA's Health Department recently asked Food Standards Australia New Zealand to amend the code, arguing the risk of food contamination from a dog in an outdoor area was minimal.
After public consultation, food businesses can now permit dogs in outside areas at their discretion. The Food Safety Information Council supported the move.
Executive officer Juliana Madden said there should be no problem as long as everyone used common sense. "If people wash their hands and the dogs aren't let up on tables and licking off plates, it should be fine," she said.
Engineer Serena Menad said she regularly took her boxer-cross Ziggy to cafes.
"Dogs are good company and having a dog helps break down barriers with people," she said.
"You meet and talk with more people, and he enjoys it."
Restaurant owner David Alexander said he had allowed dogs at Dux in South Perth for years without complaint.