Dogs on Patios Law in Omaha

Learn about the recent changes to dog-friendly patio laws in Omaha

We are consistently trying to make our city more dog-friendly…

Not only does it make the community of dog owners happier, it also has many health benefits for both dog and owner, small businesses and our city’s economy. We recently recognized that the health department’s dogs on patios law in Omaha as a way to help our city become more dog-friendly.

Up until last August, it was against Douglas County Health code for dogs to legally be on restaurant and bar patios in Omaha. However, our health department officials saw the demand for a change and created a variance that amended that law which would allow restaurant businesses to apply for a permit to allow this.

Which is great, right? Well unfortunately, many businesses either didn’t know about this law, were misinformed about it, or didn’t agree that they should have to apply and pay for a permit to allow dogs on their patio. The Health Dept. was also discouraged as only two restaurants had applied for this permit, yet there were several patios still (illegally) allowing dogs.

Witnessing this so-thought good thing fizzle was disappointing. Afterall, if Omaha was following in the footsteps of New York’s recent “Dining with Dogs” bill, it certainly meant that our city was making a progressive change (which isn’t typical of Omaha).

After speaking to both business owners and the health department, we knew there was an opportunity to bridge any miscommunication gaps regarding this new variance and understand why more (businesses) hadn’t applied. On May 1st, 2016 we held a public open forum and invited Joseph Gaube, a health department representative to come speak and answer questions to those that wanted to learn more about the variance.

We actually had a great turnout, and overall people were more than willing to gain permits for their businesses. Since then, we’ve had several restaurants say their are applying for their permit this season. As of now, however, bars are still not eligible for the variance. We don’t agree with that, but as long as we are voicing our concern, hopefully we can change that. If you agree dogs should be allowed on bar patios in Omaha, please sign this petition.

Visit our Douglas County Dog-friendly Patio Variance page to learn how your business can apply for a permit.


Below is the live feed from the meeting if you are interested in learning more about the laws.


About Jeannie North

Hi! I’m Jeannie North, co-founder of and I’m an Omaha native and live in Dundee Omaha with my two doodles, Rue and Ripley and my husband. We love the outdoors, traveling and trying new food!

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