Austin's Pet Friendliness is Booming During the Pandemic

Austin is well known for accommodating pets. You can bring your pets just about anywhere with you. Some places are even designed to accommodate pets. There is so much great weather days in Austin, it is to no surprise that many places have outdoor seating and patio attachments that are pet friendly. Not only do humans keep it weird in the capital city, so does the pets.

Daisy enjoying her day out at Yard Bar on Burnet Rd. There are two separate sections. One is a fenced off dog park. The dog park is fenced in, so no leash required, has a cover charge and only allows for individuals who are 21 years old and older. The other side is an open area, leash on, with benches and a stage for bands to play live music.

We cannot assume because a restaurant has an attached patio, anyone is welcome to bring their pets. Having a patio doesn’t necessarily mean an establishment allow. According to, Senate Bill 476 allows restaurants in Texas to choose to allow pets on their patio, this doesn’t necessarily mean the business will provide the option for pet owners to bring their pets along for a meal. If a business allows dogs at their establishment, they must display a sign that says, “Dogs Allowed”. Rules that apply are: dog cannot go inside the restaurant, you keep your pet on a leash, you keep your pet off of tables and chairs.

As time goes by, Austin has become known as one of the country’s top cities for pet ownership and pet friendliness. To many people, pets are more than just pets, they are family. It is only right that humans like to treat their pets as if they were human.

In the midst of the pandemic, people have found the time and desire to take on pet ownership. With kids taking on virtual learning, adults being out of work or working from home, there has been a sense of missing companionship and socialization that humans miss. The pandemic has been great for pet adoption and fostering.

Valincia Johnson, a hairstylist, decided to become a pet owner near the beginning of the pandemic. She is a proud owner of a two-year-old bearded dragon she calls Conroe. She had always thought her schedule was too busy to care for a “traditional” pet so she opted for a reptile. Once the pandemic struck and she had to stop her hair styling services, she found the time she never thought she would have to own a dog.

“I found the opportunity to get a dog from my dad,” Johnson said. “Since my shop was closed and I was at home with my daughter helping her with school, I figured it would be a good time to get a dog. My dad’s dog just had a litter of puppies right before the pandemic started so I figured why not. I had enough time on my hands and I always wanted a dog, but I could never find a way to fit one into my schedule.”

In a sense, Johnson’s sudden halt on her business and newfound abundance of time was the ultimate reason why she was able to take care of a dog. At the very beginning of the pandemic everyone found themselves with more time at home that they probably thought they would never have. Many pets found themselves spending more time with their owners, and the owners found more time and places to take their dogs once the economy began to slowly reopen.

“I am grateful I got her when I did. She was only 10 weeks old at the time and she needed to be house trained,” Johnson said. “I was able to spend a full three months with her every day to get her trained. When I returned to my shop I wasn’t too worried about her being home because I was content with the amount of time I was able to spend training her on my own.”

Kierra out at Yard Bar. This was her first time visiting a pet friendly restaurant. Since it was her first time, her mom brought her to the leash on side of the establishment. Yard Bar has plenty of ways to accommodate pets. They have water bowls and latches underneath the benches to tie your pup to on the leash on side.

Looking for a restaurant that is tasty and also pet friendly? This map hits on a few points around the city that are happy to have your furry friend join you for a meal.