Dog Cafes: Food + Dogs = Questionable

Yes, there is in fact a post about dogs from I HAVE CAT in your news feed or inbox today. I just couldn’t help myself when I heard about the latest crowd-funding trend: Raising money to open Dog Cafes in the USA.

A recent study by UC Berkeley suggests 39% of Americans like both dogs and cats so I figured at least some of you would find this of interest.

source: The Dog Cafe Indiegogo campaign page

source: The Dog Cafe Indiegogo campaign page


While thinking of questions to ask the founders of Meow Parlour last month (I still need to do that write-up but you can get a peek by reading my post on, a friend suggested I ask the co-founders if they thought a similar concept would work with dogs. I basically spat out my coffee, and needless to say did not ask the question.

Indiegogo campaign to open Dog Cafe in LAMy friend is obviously smarter than I am. Or more dog-friendly. Or perhaps just psychic.  Let’s s go with psychic so I don’t feel so bad. Because lo-and-behold, as of January 2015 there are not one but two Indiegogo campaigns for Dog Cafes, one on each coast of course – Santa Monica and NYC.

To date, The Dog Cafe  (that’s the actual name of the cafe) in LA has been getting the most press. At the very least I can say with confidence cat people must be more creative when it comes to naming their cafes. The proposed cafe in NYC would be called Dog Cafe (leave it to New Yorker’s to shorten an already to-the-point name).

Sarah Wolfgang

Sarah Wolfgang

The cafe in LA is the brainchild of Sarah Wolfgang who lived in Korea and began volunteering at dog shelters at the young age of 14. While there she even re-homed an adorable puppy from a local meat market!

Ironically, or perhaps because of the dog meat consumption there, Korea is currently where several dog cafes already exist. If it comes to fruition, her vision is to have all dogs at the cafe be adoptable, and she’s working with rescues both locally and from Korea which I find quite commendable.

While I do like dogs (at least the ones that don’t smell “doggie” – I’ve even written about cats as my “gateway” into the animal kingdom), there’s something about the thought of dogs + food and dog poop + food I find, well, very unappealing.

dog cafe in koreaAm I alone here? Not even the article in the food-focused website GrubStreet alludes to the potential grossness factor. Even Sarah Wolfgang herself must find something a tad odd about it. She can barely contain herself from laughing while describing her vision of “The Dog Cafe” in her Indiegogo video:

“…you will completely be surrounded by dogs, small (she’s trying not to laugh) big, quiet, crazy, quiet, crazy, young…all sorts of sorts of dogs…”

LA DOG CAFE indiegogo videoIf you are so inclined you can watch the entire video below.

Sarah envisions a visit to the cafe like visiting a friend with lots of dogs. You just get to play with them and don’t have to worry about cleaning up the poop because they’ll take care of that (well, that’s a relief!).

Had I been her consultant on this campaign I would have suggested she avoid the topic of dog poop altogether. Why even raise the imagery of poo around food ever?!

The Dog Cafe LA Indiegogo videoI mean, do these photos from dog cafes in Korea make you want to eat there?  And why do the people and dogs looks so bored?  Maybe they were disappointed. I mean, if they call them “dog cafes” there…(I know, I’m bad but apparently it’s true!).

Dog Cafe in koreaKorean dog cafe

Not to mention dogs are admittedly piggish (sorry pigs) when it comes to their eating habits. And hardy picky, so your food may be the last thing you have to worry about protecting against ingestion!

food related dog shaming

dog shaming food

If the cat cafes are having a tough time with the food and health department, I can only imagine….

What do you think? Do you imagine dog cafes will become as big a hit as cat cafes in the US? Would you go to one and actually eat anything?

And just because I found it, and feel slightly guilty having a post without cats in it – I am supposed to write about cats after all. Here you go.

dog shamingCheck out the cat’s expression. Poor thing!

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  • Susan

    I think it’s a great idea, if the doggie area is completely separate from the food area. Years ago, there used to be a place called Poochies in San Diego that was a coffee house with a self-serve dog wash in the rear separated by glass walls that you could access through their pet supply store next door. It worked really well, but unfortunately, PetSmart opened a store nearby and stole all their pet supply business and a Starbucks stole their coffee business-argh! Had they opened in a more affluent area instead of one with mostly retirees, young couples, and military families, it would have prospered. I really miss that place!

  • OMC Mommy likes doggies, at least sum doggies, but da doggy in da video peed in da floor!!! Dat’s just not cool. We fawt dog cafes wuz posed to MAKE food fur dogs, not fur hoomans to eat wound da misbehavin’ beggin’ scoundwels. MOL Me can say wiffout any doubts dat mommy wuldn’t be goin’ to any dog cafes. Just can’t magine it bein’ much of a success. Dog peeps weally like to take their doggies wiff them, and we assume yous own dogs wuldn’t be allowed. Oh well, it’s good to get animals adopted one way or anudder.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

    • yeah… our mom could see a doggy cafe where people bring their own doggies… and doggy cafe for adoptable behaved doggies!!! Hey big doggie get off the table!

  • jmuhj

    Dogs being my least favorite living beings, I wouldn’t ever patronize a dog cafe. Dogs are very unhygienic animals, as well, so the idea of putting them in a venue where people eat and drink is very offensive to me. I know service dogs are allowed in some of these places, as well as in some stores where food is sold. I try to avoid those places.

    • Jacky

      IMO, service dogs should be allowed everywhere because they help many people with disabilities function in their daily lives. If I found out that a business didn’t allow service dogs, I would actually be less likely to patronize it, because such businesses discriminates against people who rely on their service dogs.

      It’s not like the service dogs are running around the place sticking their noses in food products– they’re working with their owners.

      • Tamar

        Hi Jackie! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Don’t think they are referring to service dogs in the cafe however…those doggies are trained so think a bit dif no? Uber well behaved as taught that way…these little guys are up for adoption so they probably haven’t been trained at all! ; o

  • My human has ZILCH desire to ever go to a dog cafe. Totally not interested.

  • Cat Daddy

    We have several dog-friendly bars in my area, which are a lot of fun, but they are so loud and have so much movement that they would horrify my cats.

    So cafes for cats; bars for dogs.

  • I can see Dog cafes with well behaved dogs that don’t get on the table!!! That sit nicely at your feet or beg… that would be fine with me. But those photos above with big dogs in your face… that’s not well mannered. A veterinary supply store in my town has dogs in the store and they come say hi and check you out and ask for treats, but they don’t jump on the counter or bowl you over… mol

  • We love the idea. Tuiren and Fenris are able to go to a few upscale restaurants with Mommy that have outdoor eating areas and Mommy loves being able to go out to eat with them. They are very well behaved and sit under or near the table. We are thinking the doggies would be house trained so you wouldn’t have to worry about potting in the eating area the doggies would ask to go outside.