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Beaches, lakes, rivers, and pools are all popular places to relax in the summer months, and it may
seem like a no-brainer to bring your dog along to cool off. However, there are a few key safety
precautions to keep in mind before you dive into the fun. Santa Barbara Humane offers advice and resources that will keep you and your dog safe and happy during your aquatic adventures.
● Remember that not all dogs can swim, and not all dogs that can swim enjoy doing so. Let
your dog lead when it comes to getting into the water; you don’t want to force them into it.
● Keep an eye on them as they swim. Even dogs that love swimming may get worn out by
paddling around for too long.
● If you are going out on a boat with your dog, you may want to invest in a life jacket for them.
Make sure it is fitted properly. A loose or unstrapped life jacket won’t help if your dog is
● Don’t let your dog drink lake, river, pool, or ocean water. While the fresh water from a lake or
river may seem fine, there may be high bacteria counts or algae blooms that you cannot see.
It’s best to bring along fresh water that your dog can drink.
● Watch for riptides and high waves at the beach. Even when the waters look calm, there may
be a riptide that could pull your dog out deeper.
● Remember that swimming can be strenuous, especially on hot days! Give your dog breaks in
the shade so they can relax and recharge.
● Wash your dog after their swim. Chlorine and salt can irritate your dog’s skin, so rinse them
off after their swim.
Santa Barbara Humane is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was one of the first animal welfare agencies in the country, 67 years before the national organization was founded. Santa Barbara Humane operates two campuses located in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, providing care for community-owned and homeless animals. Both campuses offer affordable, high-quality veterinary care, compassionate behavior training programs, and a relinquishment program for owners who can no longer care for their pets. Homeless animals receive medical care, shelter, and basic behavior training until their adoption. Because it is a local organization that is not affiliated with or funded by the national Humane Society or SPCA, Santa Barbara Humane relies on local donor support to ensure every dog and cat gets the care they need.