What is a Dog Cafe?
Nope, this is not where you eat dog. Unlike popular belief eating dog meat is not a very popular or widely advertised practice in Korea. A dog cafe is a petting place. I think this practice stems from the fact that Korea has limited space and people live in apartment buildings and cannot own pets. Being a dog lover myself, it is hard for me to imagine having the longing for a pet but never getting to own one. A dog cafe solves this problem.
How does it work?
The dog cafe will be open to any member of the public, and you can spend as little or as much time there as you want. There are two commonly practiced ways of payment; 1) Pay a flat fee that is linked to a time, e.g 8,000Won for 3 hours. This will include a drink. 2) Pay no entrance fee, but buy a drink and some pet treats for the dogs.
What does the setup look like?
Generally, the seating tables are divided from the general doggy area. This area will be a free space where the dogs roam about, play and do their ablutions. The area will have designated ‘pee and poop’ corners with mats and sanitary towels. The dogs are usually well trained and will only use these areas for their business. Sometimes the more excitable ones will wear a nappy to avoid accidents. You can leave your belongings in the seating area and go into the doggy play area. Some cafes will let you pick one small dog that can go with you to your table. In other cases I’ve seen dogs roam about just wherever they want, depending on how busy the cafe gets.
Where do the dogs sleep and do they get to go outside?
The dogs have their own area with beds where they spend the night. Some dogs sleep together while others are kept separate for health or safety reasons. Dogs are generally indoors during the day, but after hours the staff members take them for walks in the park. Some cafes have balcony/rooftop areas where the dogs can get fresh air. The dogs are well cared for and see the vet on a regular basis.
If you’re craving some puppy lovin’ be sure to visit a dog cafe.