With the resounding global success of the cat cafes, it is no surprise that similar venues would aim to follow suit, but this time with dogs! Surrounded by the enthusiastic wagging tails, it would be hard not to feel the canine-love while you sip a fresh brew and pet a fluffy pup. However this phenomenon is proving a bit more complicated than the original cat café counterpart. Have a glimpse below to understand how pet cafes work, and what it will take to launch dog cafes across the country.

The Process

So what happens when you go to a dog or cat café? The experience is a bit more complex than just waltzing in and making a bee-line for the cutest pet in the room! This concept works differently: walk-in policies may be permitted depending on how crowded the café might be, while most animal cafes require a sign-up process which may include a wait-list when the day is busy. Visitors must pay a cover charge ($15-20 per person) to enter the café, and are also allotted a certain amount of time in which they are allowed to remain in the room itself. Once their session is up, people can either purchase more time (space granting), or they may have to return on another day.

Pet Cafes & Adoption

Both dog and cat cafes source their animals from rescue homes and shelters nearby. Part of the beauty of bringing cat and dog cafes, is that people are able to play (and potentially bond) with animals that are up for adoption. By sitting at a table with a latte, and petting a puppy or cat, the guest is able to imagine how interacting with that specific animal might be in their own dining room and home. If a prospective dog-owner is undecided about what kind of cat or dog to buy, he can simply visit the café several times to make sure the connection is there, and that he is ready to commit to the responsibility. Since the cat or dog could also get snatched up by another person at any time, this also motivates guests to act quickly if they have fallen in love with a specific dog, so they can walk away with the dog of their choice!

The First Dog Cafes

Beginning in Los Angeles (a city filled with millennials who want to improve society and help homeless animals), The Dog Café is about to become the very first canine-café establishment in America. Because there are such rigorous health codes and safety regulations for restaurants, (as well as the special needs for the dogs!) the process to fully launch a dog cafe has taken longer than planned. However, when the funding is complete, founder Sarah Wolfgang and her partners look to open more dog cafes throughout the city. The Grounds and Hounds Coffee Company plan to supply the delicious fair-trade organic, 100% Arabica bean brews for The Dog Café. One of the best features is that The Grounds and Hounds Coffee Co. donates over 20% of their profits to shelter and rescue homes! The same pioneers who are pursing The Dog Café, recently launched a test event called Pup-Up for a few days in Downtown LA last January, to try to create a buzz for upcoming dog cafes. During the 3-day pop-up campaign, over 450 guests joined Wolfgang and the rescue dogs on site. Hopefully the rest of the world will also catch on, and dog cafes will be available all over the country!

NOTE: For a different kind of experience, the Dog Park Café in Temecula, California allows humans to dine restaurant-style with their pets. Waiters will come and take the orders of the human and their dog, serving a bowl of water and whatever item on the doggie dishes menu that the pooch prefers. At the same time, the human orders his meal so that the two can sup, leash-free in their own private enclosure. If this is a better concept of a “dog café” to you, then we definitely recommend a visit!