Dog Rules

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


An exhaustive search of the Delaware Food Code as it applies to the physical environs of a commercial restaurant (including my interview with former DE food safety boss Jamie Mack on my radio show – listen to it here), resulted in this:

(B) Live animals may be allowed in the following situations if the contamination of FOOD; clean EQUIPMENT, UTENSILS, and LINENS;
and unwrapped SINGLE-SERVICE and SINGLE-USE ARTICLES can not result:

(2) Patrol dogs accompanying police or security officers in offices and dining, sales, and storage areas, and sentry dogs running loose in outside fenced areas;

(3) In areas that are not used for FOOD preparation and that are usually open for customers, such as dining and sales areas, SERVICE ANIMALS that are controlled by the disabled EMPLOYEE or PERSON, if a health or safety HAZARD will not result from the presence or activities of the SERVICE ANIMAL;…

The restaurant and food sanitation inspectors apply the rules as follows (all of the inspectors I spoke to are major dog lovers, by the way). The only exception to the following rules is in the case of properly licensed service dogs for the blind, etc.

With the singular exception of properly licensed service dogs, dogs are prohibited in the actual area where people are dining. However, if a front porch/deck area is fenced in or otherwise separated (which it must be if the restaurant has a liquor license), dogs are allowed on the outside of that fence or separation. Based on this information and my general observation, below are examples of Rehoboth Beach restaurants with front porches and/or decks where dogs may be allowed adjacent to the front porch or deck. They are listed in no particular order. Dogs are never allowed in inside dining areas, and are not permitted to pass through these areas on the way to a back deck area except in the case of properly licensed service dogs.

Arena’s off Rehoboth Ave. in Village by the Sea Center (outside of the fence surrounding outdoor sidewalk dining area).

Arena’s outdoor seating at their location on Coastal Highway adjacent to Big Fish Grill (outside of fence surrounding the outside dining area).

Big Fish Grill next to Arena’s above, outside the surrounding fence. Some of the outdoor seating area is also available to Big Fish customers. Woof!

Cafe Papillon in Penny Lane on Rehoboth Ave. (adjacent outdoor public seating in Penny Lane).

Cilantro on Rehoboth Ave. (outside of fence surrounding the front sidewalk dining area).

Dewey Beach Club on the outside deck, outside the perimeter fence.

DiFebo’s on First St. Outside the perimeter fence surrounding the Baltimore Ave.-facing outdoor dining area. Dogs may not access that area via the restaurant without the proper licenses displayed.

Green Man on Wilmington Ave. (out in front of the restaurant, but not up where the tables are).

Grotto Pizza on Rehoboth Avenue. In the adjacent outdoor seating area only, outside the perimeter fence.

Iguana Grill on Baltimore Ave. does not allow dogs up on the front deck, but they provide areas adjacent to the deck (on the other side of the fence) where your dog can be near your table. The dogs asked me to remind you that the fence still allows for treats to be passed through.

JAM Bistro on Baltimore Avenue. Outside the perimeter fence surrounding the outdoor dining area out front.

Lori’s Oy Vey Café in the adjacent outdoor public seating in CAMP Rehoboth courtyard.

On The Rocks at the Lewes Ferry Terminal: The food prep/serving area is completely enclosed by a bar. There are no waitstations outside that area, so dogs are permitted in the deck seating/strolling areas.

Rigby’s on the back patio only. You must enter from the back, as you can’t walk your pooch through the restaurant (unless he or she is displaying the proper licensure).

Victoria’s Restaurant – NOTE that the outdoor dining area, inside or outside the fence, would be off limits to unlicensed pooches during the summer, since you can only get there from the boardwalk where dogs are prohibited in-season.

Woody’s East Coast Bar & Grill in Dewey. In the front deck dining area only — outside the front fence. This might not be the safest thing, however, as the fence is up against the parking curb.

Zogg’s behind Gus & Gus’ on Wilmington Ave. Because there is no opening to the outside of the fence surrounding the outdoor area, and the bar and service stations are located in the outdoor service area, dogs are not permitted at your table unless the animal is displaying the proper licensure.


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