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June 2015

Guide dogs: Guidance and advice for restaurant owners




Restaurant owners are reassured that the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has stated that assistance dogs are exempt from the usual hygiene rules which apply to dogs, including in areas where food and drink are served. 

An ID card for owners of guide dogs and other assistance dogs has been produced to help clarify to restaurant managers that these animals are not a hygiene risk.





Endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), the card has been produced by Guide Dogs for owners of guide and other assistance dogs to carry to help ensure they are granted access to restaurants and other food premises.

The card clarifies to managers of such premises that guide dogs and other assistance dogs are not a risk to hygiene.

Jenny Morris CIEH Principal Policy Officer said: “Blind and partially sighted and other disabled people have a right of access to public premises under the DDA, and it is reasonable for an assistance dog owner to be accompanied by their dog as their mobility aid. There should be no conflict with food hygiene laws in allowing this access.”

The front of the card reads: Guide dogs and other assistance dogs should be allowed entry to restaurants, food shops and other food premises. Their very special training means that they are unlikely to be a risk to hygiene in these premises.

On the back is information about the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), which places duties on all service providers, including owners and operators of cafés and restaurants, not to discriminate against disabled people and to make reasonable adjustments to their services and premises to enable disabled people to access them. Entry to disabled people and their assistance dogs would be deemed a reasonable adjustment under this legislation.

Guide and other assistance dogs are working animals, not pets. Guide dogs have up to two years of intensive training, and receive further training throughout their working lives. In addition, guide dog owners are trained in maintaining extremely high standards of grooming, and the dogs are checked regularly by vets.

In practical terms, guide dogs do not disrupt the everyday operation of businesses or premises. They are trained to sit at their owner’s feet at all times, not to bother people and not to climb on furniture. Other registered assistance dogs undergo similar training.

Carol Thomas, Guide Dogs’ Access and Inclusion Manager, said:

“Guide and other assistance dog owners rely on their dogs for mobility and independence, and this is recognised in the Disability Discrimination Act. However, we regularly receive complaints that people have been refused access with their dogs, which can be very distressing. Staff in restaurants and food shops often cite hygiene issues as a reason, and we appreciate the support of the CIEH in reassuring them there is no conflict with hygiene laws. We hope that these premises will welcome guide and other assistance dog owners so they can enjoy a meal out or shopping trip like anyone else.”

The cards are available from Guide Dogs' local District Team offices: Tel: 0845 241 2178

Health and Safety courses

Coming soon to Kitchen Tonic. 


Due to demand Kitchen Tonic will soon be launching Health and safety and other CIEH related training courses from July 2015. 







The following courses will initially be available.

Level 2 Health and Safety

Level 2 COSHH

Level 2 Risk Assessment

Level 2 Manual handling

Level 2 in First Aid

Level 3 in Health and Safety

To register your interest call us on: 020 3371 1516 

We will run open courses at our venues in London in Aldgate and Ealing.

Our CIEH registered trainers can also come to you and deliver training at your venue. 

If you do not have a suitable venue for staff training, we can host training at one of our venues in London.