Man's best friend could soon be joining their owners at dinner.
The Food Bill, which is before Parliament, would give bar and restaurant owners the option of allowing pets on their premises.
The Oamaru Mail spoke to five restaurants in town and only one would consider allowing pets into the establishment.
Galleon Complex manager David Morris had a differing opinion.
Other than guide-dogs, Mr Morris said he would not allow any other animals on the premises.
Issues such as hygiene and behaviour are behind Mr Morris' stance.
"It's not a barbecue ... We have paying customers," he said.
Fat Sally's and Criterion Hotel owner Sally-Ann Donnelly said there was "no way" pets would be allowed inside the buildings.
Northstar Motels Restaurant and Bar manager Cathy Maaka said she believed it would take time for people to accept pets in an area they were trying to eat.
"It's not something I'm going to rush to do," she said.
Riverstone Kitchen's Bevan Smith said there was a possibility well-behaved pets, such as dogs would be welcome to join their owners for dinner.
The practice is banned under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.
Mr Smith said he does not believe hygiene would become an issue.
"I think we would just take it on a case-by-case basis," he said.
The Food Bill is awaiting a second reading in the House. If it passes, it will replace the Food Act 1981.
The success of the proposed change would depend largely on the kinds of dogs and restaurants involved, said Hospitality New Zealand Auckland president Kevin Schwass.
He noted that while the practice might work in bars, it could prove problematic in restaurants.
"There would be some challenges involved," Mr Schwass said.
"If a dog got a bit unruly, I'm not sure how you would handle it."