UK Movie Theaters Welcome All Pooch Patrons

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Photo Credit: Javier Brosch/

If you’re like me and feel that not much can beat snuggling in to watch a good movie with your fur kid sitting shotgun, then you’re going to love the fact that a small chain of neighbourhood movie theaters in the UK is allowing dogs to accompany their owners to select screenings.

Picturehouse Cinemas started the Sunday morning practice back in 2015 with both assistance and non-assistance dogs being invited in to kick back and watch a fun flick alongside their human companion. Snacks and water are on the ready, seats are blanketed, and movie volumes are adjusted downward out of respect for a dog’s sensitivity to loud noises.

Now, just like your favorite restaurants, patios, and hotels, rules do apply and that includes just one pooch per patron (nuts, rules me out). Also, the dog must be friendly or at least sociable, he must not disrupt the movie, and you both must leave the theater if he becomes loud and unruly. Hey, all the more reason to get him fully trained on the five golden rules for dogs: come, sit, stay, lay down, and leave it. Hmm… I wonder if “fetch” would be okay if you wanted to send him off to the snack bar?

What’s brilliant is that the theater staff set up water bowls throughout the space for easy access to hydration and methinks to alleviate the sound of a room full of panting pooches. They do, however, ask that all treats be noshed on while at your seat... so no flying Pup-peronis for Rover to catch. And just like those dog-friendly hotels, all blankets, furnishings, flooring and even the movie screen are washed and sanitized before the next crowd of humans arrives.

An interesting tidbit is that fellow niche-style theater chain, Curzon Cinemas, has also picked up on the growing passion Brits have for their four-legged companions and just recently decided to start offering up select show-times for patrons wanting to settle in with a bag of popcorn alongside their furry tag-along.

So, what about North America, you may ask?  While dog-friendly cinemas can be found in countries outside of Great Britain, there is still hesitation about introducing this option to the United States or Canada. Concerns include the need to ensure medical records are up-to-date, deciding on the size of dog to be allowed, the need to flag restricted breeds and legalities should Rover get into an argy-bargy with another dog or pet owner - you get the picture. Are we wise to dwell on the minutiae or are we simply overthinking things? While the jury may be out, we still have the classic drive-in where you can share a front seat, big-screen experience and jumbo hot dog with your best buddy.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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