How & Where To Go Swimming With Your Dog Near Seattle

There’s nothing like taking a dip in some cool water on a hot day. Your dog might even agree with you! If you have a Retriever, then you probably know how much some dogs love water. In fact, they’re so suited to swimming that they even have webbed toes! But your dog doesn’t have to have fancy feet to benefit from swimming. Swimming has tons of benefits for you and your dog. We’ve put together tips for water safety and ideas for places in Seattle where you and your dog can splash the day away! Keep reading so you and your dog are ready for summer and swimming season!


What’s So Great About Swimming With Your Dog?

When we think about getting exercise with our dogs, we usually think about taking a walk or a hike. But when the temperatures rise, this activity can be less than appealing. If you’re looking for a great alternative, try swimming!

dog swimming near seattle

Swimming is an excellent cardio workout. It will get the wiggles out, and you don’t have to worry about concrete-singed paws. Swimming is a stress-relieving, full-body exercise. If you have an older dog, swimming is easy on their joints and can even help them regain mobility. The gentle resistance of the water helps promote circulation to the muscles and joints. Overweight dogs also benefit from the low-impact nature of swimming. 

You don’t need to get drenched for your dog to reap the benefits of being in the water. Even walking in water up to their hips provides buoyancy and makes walking lower impact. This is why, in recent years, aqua therapy has started becoming more common in veterinary practices. 


Training Your Dog In The Water

Using your time at the lake or pool is an excellent opportunity to work on training. If water time is going to be part of your routine, then training in this environment is important, so your dog knows what to expect. Consistency, no matter the environment, keeps your dog safe and makes them better travel companions and adventure partners!

  • “Sit” is an important cue anywhere. When water is involved, your dog’s ability to sit and “stay” is incredibly important. Get them in the habit of sitting before entering the water. Ideally, they should wait for your say-so before diving right on in.


  • Work on recall while swimming. Your dog needs to be able to respond to you in any environment. If your dog has good recall even while in the water, you can prevent dangerous situations and more easily tell if they’re in distress. 


  • Whether it’s at the pool or the lake, “leave it” will save you and your dog from rotten food, aquatic life, and pool toys. Your dog needs to be taught that a day of swimming does not give them free reign to chew on everything in sight. 


Safe Swimming Tips For Dogs

Even if your dog is a huge fan of the water, you should always use safe swimming practices. This is important in any body of water, especially in a lake or a river where currents can take you by surprise. 

  • Always watch your dog. Unexpected things can happen even in the calmest of water. 


  • Don’t expect your dog to know how to swim. Even a dog from a “water breed” needs to learn. If your dog is scared, don’t force it. Start slowly and allow your dog to get used to the feeling of the water. 


  • Make sure your dog has a life jacket. If you enjoy boating, or if your dog is not a strong swimmer, then a life jacket should be worn at all times. Your dog may not need one at the pool, or if you’re in shallow water, but if there is a chance a strong current could sweep them away, then a life jacket is essential.


  • Don’t expect more than your dog can give. Certain breeds will never be champion swimmers and are best left wading in the shallows. Bulldogs, Dachshunds, and Basset Hounds are a few examples. Due to their breed’s unique features, these dogs aren’t well suited to deeper water. 

bulldog in pool with life vest

  • Watch the water temperatures. The water and air temperatures combined should equal at least 100 degrees to prevent hypothermia. Swimming in water that is too cold can also cause a condition called “swimmer’s tail” or “limber tail”. This condition causes your dog to be unable to lift or wag their tail.


  • Have drinking water available. Swimming exerts a lot of energy and keeping your dog hydrated is important. You don’t want your dog drinking pool or lake water because this can make them sick. Make sure that they’re taking water breaks to keep them well hydrated.


  • Unfortunately, toxic algae blooms have become an increasing problem. If you have a day at the lake planned, keep a lookout for alerts that indicate swimming may not be safe. 


Places Near Seattle To Swim With Your Dog

No swimming pool? No problem. There are plenty of dog-friendly places near Seattle where you can take your furry friend for a swim. Please pay close attention to the rules and regulations of each location. Please also note that rules can change seasonally and new safety measures can be put into place, so it’s important to double check before just letting your dog into the water. This includes rules around leashing and water safety i.e. unsafe algae blooms, etc.

Pro-tip: If a lake requires your dog be on leash, that’s okay, you can still enjoy some swim time! Grab a long line so that your dog can enjoy the water while still following the rules and keeping everyone safe!

  • Richmond Beach: Dogs are free to be off-leash from Nov 1-March 16. They must be leashed March 16-Oct 31.
  • Rattlesnake Lake: Dogs may be off-leash in some areas.
  • Angle Lake: Dogs allowed on the beach during non-summer months.
  • Wapato Lake: This lake does encounter frequent unsafe algae blooms, so pay attention to current postings and notifications.
  • Spanaway Lake
  • Pine Lake

dogs swimming near seattle

These are just some of the local swimming options for dogs. Heading out on a day trip or weekend adventure? You can do some research to find dog friendly swimming areas nearby. Of course, make sure to pay attention to any rules, regulations, and warnings to keep both you and your dog totally safe.

Plus, don’t forget swimming pools! Lots of swimming pools in the area offer days just for dogs to swim. Keep your eyes open for dog-friendly dates!


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