Celiac Disease Service Dogs

Anxiety and Eating Out with Celiac Disease

Do you have anxiety about going out to eat?

Do you choose specific restaurants that have a gluten-free menu, or do you just go and request it to be made gluten-free?

Eating Out with Celiac Disease

When Sami was first diagnosed in 2013, we thought, “Ok, no big deal. She just has to eat gluten free foods, right?” We didn’t know the half of it!

We still went out and just requested items to be gluten-free, but she was still getting sick. Not fun at all.

After further research and finally seeing a gastroenterologist we learned about cross-contamination. Our eating out changed tremendously.  We looked for restaurants that knew about Celiac disease.

Before we got our service dog, we would look for options that had gluten-free menus. We were still learning so we often didn’t understand the cross-contamination aspect. We tried some pizza places that just had a separate counter in the kitchen for gluten-free food.


I didn’t understand that the gluten flour that was floating around was still getting on the gluten-free pizza! Sami is very sensitive. If there’s flour in the air in an enclosed space at all, she becomes sick.

That’s where having our service dog, Patty, has been amazing.

We ask her to check all the food, utensils and drinks when they come out. Sometimes we get lucky, and everything is made gluten-free, but sometimes we aren’t so lucky, and items do contain gluten.

Having Patty has ensured that Sami can safely eat in restaurants without anxiety.  We still stick to places that understand Celiac disease and cross-contamination, that way we have a better chance of ensuring the food is not cross-contaminated and is gluten-free!

What Can You Do?

For those that don’t have a service dog, make sure to inform your waiter and talk with the manager or even the chef. Make sure you feel comfortable with their understanding of cross-contamination.

Once your food is delivered ask again if it is gluten-free. Hopefully you are in the clear.

You will know when you are comfortable eating places by the feeling you get and the concern that the waiter or manager have. 

Happy Safe Eating!!

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