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Lunch with the puppy? It’s a Washington thing. Where do you like to go with your dog?

Have you noticed dogs at the bar and wondered, “Wait, is that legal?”

This is usually possible as long as no food is actively prepared in the area and the puppy remains on a leash and behaves well. Businesses that technically meet these parameters still reserve the right to decide whether to allow pets on site, of course. It is always best to call ahead to ensure your dog is welcome.

The Federal Drug Administration updated the rules in late 2022 to formally allow dogs in food service establishments. While some states had previously mostly allowed pups on patios, Washington only joined the crew after receiving FDA approval.

The change did not affect service animals, which may continue to accompany their owners in customer-facing areas of a restaurant (but not in the kitchen or other food preparation area).

Have you taken advantage of the change? We want to know where you like to go with your best friend in Tacoma, Pierce County and the South Sound. You think of brewery taprooms, but you may have discovered other dog-friendly establishments that have more to offer than just the dog park.

Complete the form below to notify a future guide, just in time for the warmer, sunnier days ahead.

Philip Johnson and Stacy Sasse sit with pup “Henry” at Top Down Brewing Co.  in Sumner, Washington on April 5, 2023. The FDA updated the Food Code in 2022 to allow dogs, under certain circumstances, in bars and restaurants.Philip Johnson and Stacy Sasse sit with pup “Henry” at Top Down Brewing Co.  in Sumner, Washington on April 5, 2023. The FDA updated the Food Code in 2022 to allow dogs, under certain circumstances, in bars and restaurants.

Philip Johnson and Stacy Sasse sit with pup “Henry” at Top Down Brewing Co. in Sumner, Washington on April 5, 2023. The FDA updated the Food Code in 2022 to allow dogs, under certain circumstances, in bars and restaurants.

A few important things to know about Washington’s rules:

Dogs that are not service animals are never allowed in a restaurant that is actively preparing food on-site. Restaurants can choose to allow dogs on the patio, terrace or other outdoor seating area, but there must be a separate entrance: no dog is allowed to walk through the restaurant itself.

Bars that serve only commercially prepackaged food or no food at all, such as a brewery taproom or tavern (which is licensed to sell beer and wine, but not spirits), may to elect to allow dogs in.

Either way, the company must first get approval from the local health department.

Like the caretaker of our furry friends at bars and restaurants in Washington state:

You must keep the dog on a leash at all times, both indoors and outdoors.

You will have to take the dog somewhere else to be relieved.

Staff working with food in any capacity should not interact with your dog.

You should not leave your dog on chairs, tables, couches or other fixtures.

you can allow your dog to drink from a water bowl provided by the company, but the company must do so as well not wash that container in their sink.

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