Dog-Friendly Places To Swim (Beaches, Lakes and Pools)

If you want to take your four-legged best friend out for a fun swimming adventure, then we’ve got the information you’ll need to help you figure out where you can go on your fun outing. There are many places you can take your dog if you want your pooch to cool off, have some exercise, or swim for therapy. 

Where can you find dog-friendly places to swim? The first place is to install a dog-friendly pool in your backyard. Public swimming pools are beginning to provide specific days for dogs so check your local pool. Parks with lakes and rivers is another to consider. Make sure there aren’t rules or laws prohibiting dogs from swimming there.

So, if you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to swim, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you out. Since there isn’t a lot of information on the Internet today about finding dog-friendly places to swim, we created the following article to help save you some time.

Swimming to Cool Off

If you want to provide your dog with a dependable area so it can swim and cool off when the temperature gets hot, then you can do so in your backyard if you decide to.

While we’ll cover places you can take your dog swimming later in this article, some owners won’t be able to find local spots to bring their pets swimming. If that’s your issue, don’t worry. You can solve the problem by purchasing a swimming pool for your pet.

Although it might sound surprising, many people who want to provide their dogs with regular water exercise do just that.  Some buy a small child’s pool, but others purchase pools made specifically for dogs. These pools range in size and price.  For example, there’s the PUPTECK Foldable Dog Swimming Pool. It’s under 30 dollars and 12 inches high, but many folks buy it because it’s portable.  Another option is a pool that is portable and foldable–Kundu Rectangular Pool Bathing Tub.  Or, for the dog who has everything, there’s even doggie-bone shaped pools 

Of course, if you have a larger-sized dog, it might not be able to swim around in one of these smaller pools. Regardless, you’ll still be providing your pooch with a cordial, safe, shallow pool of water so it can cool off when it wants.

If you want to make the experience even more enjoyable for your dog, you can turn on the water sprinkler. Many dogs like chasing the water in water sprinklers, which can provide your dog with a lot of fun exercise.

Swimming for Therapy

If you’re thinking about taking your dog out swimming for therapy, then you’ll want to search around for a canine hydrotherapy center. In the United States, there are several canine hydrotherapy centers, and most of them are relatively affordable options.

If you’re not sure where to go to find a canine hydrotherapy center, take a look at the Association of Canine Water Therapy or just Google “hydrotherapy pool for dogs near me”.

Another way to find a canine hydrotherapy center is to ask your local vet for a referral to a local canine hydrotherapy center. Most vets will be willing to refer to dogs that have orthopedic issues. 

Health benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs

If you’re considering hydrotherapy for your dog, then you’ll want to know about the health benefits dogs can experience from hydrotherapy. Taking a dog to a hydrotherapy center can help your pooch with:

  • A canine injury that needs rehabilitation therapy
  • Canine obesity
  • Canine degenerative joint issues like arthritis and hip dysplasia. 

Most hydrotherapy centers will provide your dog with a five-minute swim that will burn the same amount of calories as a five-mile run would. Most dogs that need canine hydrotherapy need to avoid running, and swimming is much easier on your pooch’s joints. So, you’ll want to think about hydrotherapy if you are aware that your dog is suffering from any joint pain.

Many people who have tried canine hydrotherapy in the past say there are many benefits besides exercise for dogs.

Hydrotherapy helps all systems in a dog’s body and is also believed to help a dog that is emotionally stressed. Most dogs enjoy their time in the water once they learn to adjust to the expectations. 

Public Pools for Dogs

If you’re not interested in taking your dog to canine hydrotherapy, or if you aren’t able to install your dog pool in your yard, then you can also search around to find out if there are any public pools for dogs in your local area.

Not all public pools will allow dogs in for swimming because of health codes.

However, there are some public pools that do hold certain day events that allow dogs and their owners to swim together. These swimming events are increasing in popularity throughout America.  The website woofreport.com provides a link to swim days at various pools throughout the United States, which you can find here

When public pools hold swim days for dogs and their owners, the fees collected from these swims are often donated to animal shelters or charities that are related to pets. If you aren’t sure where to go to find out about your public pools, ask your city or county department of parks and recreation for more information.

Local Dog Park Swimming

Another place you might have luck with when it comes to swimming with your dog is your local dog park. If you can find a dog park that you can drive to and that also has a water feature for dogs, then you’re in luck. You can take your dog swimming whenever the park is open. 

For instance, if you live in the Atlanta area, you can bring your pooch to the pool at Atlanta Dog Works. This particular dog park covers a fifteen-acre area and has a training, boarding, and a large pool that you can use with your dog. 

Atlanta Dogworks
The dock leading up to the pool at Atlanta Dogworks (Image reprinted with the kind permission of Atlanta Dogworks)

If you aren’t sure where to go to find out if there is a local dog park in your area, call your local department of parks and recreation. They should be able to give you advice accordingly.

Public Beaches

Another place you can take your dog out for some swimming is at your local public beach. However, remember to be careful and do your research correctly before taking your dog to any public beach. Some beaches will fine you if you bring a dog along. Other beaches are very dog-friendly and will encourage you to take your dog and play with it in the water.

If you take your dog to a public beach, you’ll want to remember to stay considerate and clean up after your dog. Make sure you bring plenty of doggie poop bags along with you, as well as some treats, food, water, and dishes for your pooch. Anytime you take your dog out to have fun in a public place, always clean up after your pup so that you are courteous and keep the area clean and safe for other dog lovers.

If you’re not sure how to find dog-friendly beaches close to you, you can check out BringFido. Both of these websites will let you search for dog beaches by city. You’ll also find some user ratings to help you plan your experience out. 

Popular Dog-Friendly Beaches

Some of the most popular dog-friendly beaches in America include the following:

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

  • Province Town Beaches, which is found in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is a popular dog-friendly area with 9 fun beaches for your dog. You can take your dog to any of the beaches in this area all year round. In the summer season, you can let your pooch run off its leash around the beach. 
  • Two other famous dog beaches in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area, include Plymouth Beach and Sandy Neck Beach. At Plymouth beach, dogs can play at the beach all year, but some areas are off-limits during the summer because of the increasing amounts of people present at the beach. Sandy Neck is also open year-round to dogs but only allows dogs to use the off-road beach areas during the summer months. That’s because the public beach is reserved for people during the summertime. 

South Carolina

If you live in South Carolina, then check out Myrtle Beach for your pooch. You can take your pup here to swim, but the hours are limited. You can bring your dog to the beach before 10 AM or after 6 PM from the start of May until Labor Day. During the other months of the year, dogs are allowed on this beach anytime. 

Michigan

If you prefer to take your dog to a lake beach, you can bring your dog to the Lake Michigan Recreation Area, where there is a dog beach at the Nordhouse Dunes. There are other dog-friendly beaches at Warren Dunes State ParkGrand Haven Kirk Park, and Norman F. Kruse Park.

Georgia

You can also find some dog-friendly places to take your pooch in Georgia at both Jekyll Island and Sapelo Island. Year-round, you can bring your dog to either one of these two beaches as long as your pooch stays on a leash. Also, from Labor Day until Memorial Day, you can take your dog to St. Simons Island.

California

If you live in California, then you’re living in a state that has some of the most popular dog-friendly beaches in the country.

San Diego houses The Original Dog Beach, Coronado has the Coronado Dog Beach, and Huntington Beach offers up the Huntington Dog Beach.

If you’re in San Francisco or a bit farther north, you can check out Forst Funston Doggie Beach. All of these beaches in California are known for being very welcoming to pooches getting their exercise. 

Dog friendly places to swim 2
Young Golden Retriever running on the beach

Dog-Friendly Lakes

If you live near lakes, you can research to find out if you can bring your pup along with you to swim. You can locate dog-friendly lakes by looking at websites like BringFido.com. You can also discover information about dog-friendly lakes by doing the following:

  • Take a trip to your local outdoor recreation store. That means visiting a place like Cabelas, REI, or Bass Pro Shops. Employees at these types of stores typically know a lot of information about outdoor sports events. People working at these stores should be able to give you some details about lakes you can visit and swim with your dog. 
  • You can look at your local city, county, and state websites for information about parks and recreation. One excellent place to go is the National Parks Service website, where you can look at national parks in your area that allow dog swimming. 
  • Find out if you have a local Sierra Club near you. People involved in this club should be able to tell you about some great places you can take your pooch to go swimming. 
dog friendly places to swim

Water Safety and Your Dog

After you’ve located a beach, lake, or pool where you can take your dog swimming, you’ll need to practice water safety with your pooch. Not every dog can swim well, so you’ll need to take some time introducing your pooch to a body of water.

You’ll also need to know how to tell when your dog has had enough of swimming.

Remember, you should never leave your dog alone in the water.

It’s also a good idea to suit your pooch up with a life jacket to help it stay afloat while swimming. 

Breed-Specific Concerns

Not all dog breeds do well swimming in larger bodies of water. Some dogs have larger heads, heavy musculature, and shorter legs. Dogs with any of these issues might have more difficulty swimming. However, there are always exceptions to these rules, and some dogs are better swimmers than others, regardless of breed.

However, if your dog is one of the following kinds, monitor its swimming carefully:

  • Greyhounds
  • Dachshunds
  • Boxers
  • Corgis
  • American and English Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Basset Hounds
  • Pugs
  • Pekingese
  • Boston and Scottish Terriers
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

If you’re planning on taking your dog in the water and it is any of the above breeds, you’ll need to be especially careful when your pooch is in the water.

With the above breeds, we highly recommend you play it safe and give your pup a life vest so that everybody’s safe and enjoys your day.

Also, if you are taking your puppy to the beach, make sure your dog doesn’t drink the saltwater. Saltwater can make dogs very ill because of the salt content and algae in the water. 

If you own a German Shepherd, we have an article written exclusively about swimming and German Shepherds by a G.S. dog owner.

Water Quality Concerns

If you plan on doing any lake swimming with your pooch, you’ll need to check out for potential water quality concerns that could affect your pup. You’ll want to avoid lakes and ponds that are full of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae can be very toxic to dogs. Also, dogs can contract giardia if they drink stagnant water, so be wary of this issue, too.

Life vest

While your dog will most likely love swimming and cooling off, you’ll want to make sure you practice safety first.

We recommend keeping your pooch in a life vest when he or she is first learning to swim, and also when your dog is swimming in deep water. Use the life vest initially and keep an eye on your dog to see how it progresses and learns how to swim. If you can play it safe while you and your pooch swim, the two of you can enjoy hours of fun together.  

Beware of hazards in the water

Most dogs love going to the beach, playing in the sand, and frolicking in the water. However, you’ll need to watch out for any potential hazards that could affect your dog when it is enjoying the beach.

Keep the following items in mind so that you and your dog can get the most out of your swims:

  • Research dog-friendly beaches before you set out so that you know where to take your pooch.
  • Remember, not all dogs can swim. It’s a good idea to start with a life vest to keep your dog safe.
  • Dogs can get hot quickly, so many of them enjoy taking a dip in the water.
  • Don’t let your dog drink any water from the lake or ocean. The water can make your dog very sick.
  • Don’t ever leave your dog unattended.
  • Make sure you pick up after your dog.

If you are looking for more information about safety for your dogs at pools, check out this video below.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned how you can find some dog-friendly places to take your pooch swimming, it’s time to get out there and enjoy the experience! Make sure you follow the safety tips we’ve provided you so that your best friend stays safe on all of your outings. It’s also important to remember to pick up after your pooch when you are in a public dog-friendly space to keep that area safe for other dog lovers.

Once you start hitting the water with your pooch, the two of you will have another fun and exciting activity to share. The two of you can get in shape together and enjoy some fun cool-off time in the water.





Michelle

Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Lucy loves playing fetch with her ball and frisbee. Max loves swimming and could walk forever. Latte's life is simple: follow Lucy and Max and fun will happen. Michelle and her 3 dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp and swim.

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