The Best Dog-Friendly Swimming Spots

by Amanda Flores

Finding dog-friendly swimming spots is easier than you might think.

When thinking of a fun outdoor activity for your pup, finding a dog-friendly swimming hole where they can enjoy some time to splash around is a great option. But if you’re wondering “where can I take my dog swimming,” rest assured that there are likely plenty of safe (and fun!) options near you where your pup can cool off and enjoy some water time. The key is finding one that allows dogs and is appropriate for your dog’s size and ability. 

Here, the best places to search for when taking your dog swimming, and how to keep them safe. 

In Your Backyard

If you have the space, setting up a kiddie pool for your dog to use is a great option. They can jump in and out at their leisure, and you can relax knowing that they’re safe. Look for a pool that’s hard plastic or one that won’t be punctured by their nails. 

To lower any risks, have your dog lay down in the pool so you know how much water to fill it with. You’ll want to make sure that when your dog is laying down his or her head is still above water.

If a pool isn’t possible, set up a sprinkler. It will let out enough water to help your pup cool off, without the setup or space required for a pool. 

Local Dog Park

Check out your local dog park during the summer or on especially hot spring or fall days. They’ll often have a doggie pool for dipping or a sprinkler system set up for them to run around in. This is a great way for your pup to cool off and enjoy some playtime with friends. 

Remember dog park safety rules still apply, especially with the added excitement of water play. Keep an eye on your pup’s body language to know when it’s time to call it a day.

A Local Lake

A nearby dog-friendly swimming lake can offer hours of fun for you and your pup. Bring a frisbee or ball that you can toss into the water for a twist on your typical game of fetch. If there’s a dock, your pup might enjoy learning to dock dive, catching objects midair as an incentive. 

Some dogs are too intimidated to jump into large bodies of water and prefer to wade in from the beach. This lets them go at their own pace and guage the depth they feel most comfortable in. Finding a beachfront is a great option for this pup. Plus, they’ll have fun exploring both the water and the shore.

A Dog-Friendly Beach

Beaches with their long stretches of sand and dog-friendly waves are a great time for everyone. Many beaches are open to pups during off-season months: typically after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Check out our list of beaches that allow dogs from coast to coast. 

Don’t forget your doggy bag so you can clean up after your pup and keep the beach clean.


You can often find nice, dog-friendly rivers along hiking trails. This is a great way to get some exercise—for you and your pup. They’ll have a blast popping in and out of the river as you walk or hike along beside them.

How to Keep Your Pup Safe When Swimming

Just like with humans, it’s best to follow safety protocols when swimming and playing in any body of water. Even kiddie pools can lead to accidental drowning, so stay vigilant. 

If you have a puppy or this is your dog’s first time swimming or spending extended periods of time in water, you should first assess their skill level. A lake with a beachfront is a great place to start as you can see how they do in the most shallow part first. Just be careful that they don’t go out too far right off the bat.

On that note, be sure to use a life preserver when your pup is swimming in any body of water that will go over their heads. No matter how great of a swimmer they are, any dog can get too tired to swim back to shore. 

Staying hydrated when playing outdoors, no matter the activity, is key. Offer your pup plenty of fresh water, especially when swimming in lakes or ponds where the water may not be safe to drink. Keep an eye out for potentially toxic algae and avoid swimming in those areas.

Finding dog-friendly places where you can take your dog swimming is easier than you might think. Just be sure to follow water safety guidelines and give your pup plenty of opportunity to rest in the shade. They may feel cool in the water, but the direct sun and the exertion may tire them out before they even realize it. 

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