What to Look for in a Pierce County Dog Park

Every dog need a purpose. Just like humans need a purpose. A great way to give your dogs some physical and mental enrichment is to visit a dog park. But not all dog parks are the same. So you have to ask yourself, what do I want my dog to get out of this visit? Check out the park before you take your dog and keep these things in mind while you assess.


It’s helpful for you and your dog if the park is clean and well maintained. If it’s a sunny day you shouldn’t need to give your dog a bath every time he comes home from the dog park. Every public dog park requires owners to clean up after their dogs. The parks system provides waste bags and receptacles to properly dispose of your dogs waste. Unfortunately, not every dog park is as clean as it should be. So keep an eye out for overall cleanliness of the park, as you don’t want your dog to be exposed to bacteria from another dog.


A water spout and bowls should be provided at the dog park. If your pup has been running around for an hour, he is going to want and need some water. Especially if the park is far from your home, it’s not healthy for your pup to wait a long time before drinking water. The park should also include a covered area for owners to congregate. It’s not sunny 365 days a year in Pierce County, so not having a covered area could prevent users from going to the dog park on rainy days.

Separate Areas

Size matters when it comes to dogs. Would you feel comfortable with your 5 pound dog playing with a 100 pound dog? Probably not. So check to see if the park has differentiated a small dog area and a large dog area. Even if the two areas are only separate by one gate, it’s better than small dogs having to run for their lives when they come into contact with a large dog breed.


Part of the luxury of taking your dog to the dog park is that your dog can be off leash and you don’t need to worry about him running away. Some dog parks use natural walls (i.e. hills) on one side of the play area which don’t necessarily fence in your dog. If your dog gets into a situation where he is chasing or being chased by another dog, he could easily run over the hill. Make sure the dog park you are considering has fences that surround the entire park and the fences are not sharp or dangerous to the dogs.

Ground Cover

While this may not be the most important factor of the dog park, take a look at the different ground covered of the dog park. If the whole thing is dirt, the park may be useless on a rainy day as the park would be one big mud puddle. It’s nice if the park has a couple different ground covers so your dog can sniff around and explore different nature smells. Grass should be free of burrs and gravel should be dull so your pup won’t hurt his pads.


Now that you know the areas to keep in mind while considering a dog park, here is a list of the top 5 dog parks in Pierce County.

Wapato Dog Park: Tacoma

wapato dog park

Chambers Bay- Members only: University Place

chambers dog park

Tubby’s Trail: Gig Harbor

gig harbor dog park

Viking Park: Bonney Lake

bonney lake dog park

French Lake: Federal Way

french lake dog park

These parks are all well-kept, provide water and shade cover, have separate small and large dog areas, are fully fenced, and offer a variety of ground covers. Taking your dog to the dog park is a wonderful thing for you and for your pup. Once you’ve considered these dog park qualities, you’ll find yourself frequently visiting the dog park and making pup friends along the way.