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Safe Dog Swimming in Austin

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

As the summer heat intensifies, many dog owners in Austin are eager to cool off with their furry companions. Swimming is an excellent way for dogs to beat the heat and have some fun. However, it's crucial to be aware of potential hazards, such as blue-green algae.

  1. Recognizing Blue-Green Algae: Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are microscopic organisms that can pose serious health risks to both humans and animals. It thrives in warm, stagnant bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, and even some rivers. These algae blooms often appear as green, blue-green, or brown scum on the water's surface, resembling spilled paint.

  2. Health Risks: Blue-green algae produce harmful toxins that can cause various health problems in dogs. When ingested or even exposed to the toxins, dogs can experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, seizures, and in severe cases, liver damage or even death. It is crucial to avoid any contact with water bodies that may contain blue-green algae.

  3. Identifying Safe Swimming Areas: Before taking your dog for a swim, it's essential to identify safe swimming areas in and around Austin. Look for well-maintained, regularly monitored bodies of water that have a lower risk of blue-green algae contamination. Some local parks or designated dog-friendly beaches may provide safe and clean swimming options.

  4. Precautionary Measures: To protect your dog from blue-green algae, consider the following precautions:

    1. Check Water Quality: Before allowing your dog to swim, check for any advisory or warning signs indicating the presence of blue-green algae. Local authorities often monitor water bodies and post notices if they detect an algae bloom.

    2. Choose Flowing Water: Opt for swimming locations with flowing water, such as rivers or streams. These bodies of water have a lower risk of blue-green algae due to their constant movement.

    3. Provide Fresh Water: Bring fresh water for your dog to drink during swimming breaks. Discourage your pet from drinking water from lakes or ponds, as it may contain algae or other contaminants.

    4. Rinse Thoroughly: After swimming, rinse your dog with clean water to remove any potential algae residue from their fur. Pay attention to their paws, as dogs often lick them, potentially ingesting toxins.

    5. Observe Your Dog: While your dog swims, keep a close eye on their behavior. If you notice any signs of illness or unusual behavior after swimming in a particular location, seek immediate veterinary attention.


Swimming can be a fantastic activity for dogs to enjoy during the hot summer months. However, it is crucial to prioritize their safety and avoid potential risks, such as blue-green algae. By recognizing the signs of blue-green algae, identifying safe swimming areas, and taking precautionary measures, you can ensure a fun and worry-free swimming experience for your beloved companion. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and keep your dog protected from blue-green algae this summer!


Looking for other safe activities for your dog this summer? Check out our group classes! These classes are a great way to get some exercise and enrichment (without worrying about algae!)


Looking for a safe swimming spot for your pup? Check out this list of options from our friends at Tomlinson's.



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