However, it is estimated only a small number of restaurants will be changing their policies to allow four-legged patrons.
Only businesses that want to sign up to the new law will offer the option of clients being able to bring their pets, and must fulfil a set of requisites beforehand.
The law was passed in February following a bill from the Green Party, the People-Animal-Nature party (PAN), and the Left Bloc (BE).
It foresees that establishments that are happy to let pets in must set a maximum of animals allowed at any one time, it should be clearly identified as pet-friendly, and not permit animals into specific areas, such as kitchens, service areas or anywhere near where food is available.
Other rules that must be respected state animals must be “short-haired”, kept on a leash, and are not allowed to “move freely” through the establishment.
Business-owners may also opt to create a designated area for customers wishing to bring their animals in, or allow them to be present throughout the restaurant or bar.
According to the AHRESP, Portugal’s largest restaurant association, “the lack of clarity of the law” and “the responsibility it can generate for owners of establishments, particularly in terms of hygiene and food safety” means few establishments are likely to adhere to it, particularly as it is optional.
“This is a matter that should have been the subject of deep reflection and should have taken into account the concerns of the industry. We believe that, for these reasons, most restaurants will not adhere to the permit”, an AHRESP statement said.
On the other hand, “owners who decide to join cannot ignore that they are taking responsibility for the presence of the animals in their establishment”, it read.