Dog Rules

The August, 2019 dust-up over live animals in restaurants (inside and outside) resulted in a flood of emails complaining about the “new” law. It's NOT new. The Delaware code regarding animals in restaurants has been in force for many years. The issue has been that the restaurant inspectors have been letting some restaurants slide by not enforcing the rules. It appears that this is at an end.

HOWEVER (and partially as a result of an article (link below) I wrote last year for Cape Gazette),  dogs are now permitted in OUTSIDE DINING AREAS ONLY. And the ultimate decision to do this is entirely up to the restaurant owner. I have reprinted last year's column from Cape Gazette for your perusal. All of the suggestions I made were adopted by the DE lawmakers (to be fair, they were considering these things before I wrote the article). So if you want to bring your puppydog onto an outdoor dining area, I suggest you call the restaurant first just to make sure.

CLICK HERE to see my 9/20/19 Cape Gazette column addressing the dogs in restaurants controversy.

OK. Back to business: I get many emails asking me about where dogs are allowed and where they are not, so here goes:


Rehoboth Beach
Dogs are prohibited on the beach and the boardwalk from May 1 to September 30.

Dewey Beach
Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round by special license. From May 15 to September 15, dogs are only allowed on the beach before 9:30 am and after 5:30 pm. During the off-season, dogs can be off-leash, but must be under your control and be cleaned up after.

A license can be obtained during business hours at 105 Rodney Ave. for $35 for life (the dog's, not yours), or an 8-day license for $10, or $5 for a weekend from 5:30p Friday to midnight Sunday – per pooch.

Bethany Beach
Dogs are prohibited on the beach and boardwalk from May 15 to September 30. Dogs must be on leash in town.

Dogs are prohibited from all beaches between 8 am and 6:30 pm from May 1 to September 30.

Prime Hook
Dogs are allowed on trails and throughout the park. They must be under the owner's control, leashed and properly poop scooped.

Delaware State Parks
Dogs are allowed in the parks. But between May 1 to September 30, they are prohibited from beaches where sunbathing, swimming, sailboarding or surfing take place. Shorebird nesting areas are also off-limits. Details may be found at


Dogs are allowed in OUTSIDE DINING AREAS ONLY, and only if the restaurant management/ownership permits it. See the Cape Gazette link above.


What would you like to do?