black lab dock diving

Dog Friendly Swim Spots in Raleigh

Pet parents often wonder “where are dog friendly swim spots in Raleigh? “I have put together a comprehensive list of places your dog can enjoy a swim. I’ve also included safety tips to make sure it is a great experience for both you and your dog. Let’s dive in so you can start planning your next adventure!

Dog Friendly Swim Spots in Raleigh: Safety Tips

1. Check for Algae

Algae blooms are more likely to be an issue in hot weather, especially in stagnant bodies of water. Certain algae, such as blue-green algae, can be toxic for dogs. One way to ensure a safe dip is to visually check the water before letting your dog swim. If you see any floating sections of algae or if the water appears discolored, keep your dog out.

It is also recommended that you check with the North Carolina Division of Water Resources for latest online reports and updates before your dog splashes into the water.

You can access the reports of Fish Kill and Algae Blooms HERE. People report blooms or dead fish they’ve spotted  and then the NC Division of Water Resources comes out and investigates the bloom and provides updates.

Often each report is accompanied by photos. This is an excellent way to learn what blooms look like. I noticed that some are pretty obvious and some appear more subtle.

2. Check the Water Quality

In addition to algae, water pollution should also be a consideration. Of course you don’t want your precious pups to swim in water that has high level of pollution. There are a few different resources you can use in order to check local recreational bodies of water. Dirty or polluted water can lead to infections or disease for your dog.


Wake County Recreational Waters Reports 


NC Recreational Water Quality 

3. Invest in a Doggy Life Vest.

Dog friendly swim spots

Not only are these super adorable, but you can be sure it will make the experience easier on your dog. It can help them conserve energy. Also I’d recommend using a long leash while they are swimming which can be helpful if there is a stronger current in the lake, they will be tethered to you. Companies make floating leashes, how awesome is that?

4. Consider your dog’s physical makeup.

bassador and spaniel

Dogs with short snouts or long bodies and short legs may not be the best suited for swimming. Of course this is generally speaking an there are always exceptions. Comparing my two dogs; Marley who is more proportional and longer legs may do better in the water as compared to Sophie. Soph is our resident thick low rider. I’ve actually not have them try swimming yet but based on physics alone I’d say Soph may not enjoy it as much! Also, depending on any health issues your dog may have it would be good to check with your vet to see if they have any concerns about your dog going for a swim.

5. Monitor your Dog.

If your dog is swimming in a body of water where people fish, there is the potential for hooks or other litter to be present. Monitor your dog at all times and check them over once getting out of a pool. A great alternative is taking them to pools or other areas that are free of litter. Of course, being in the south we know that there can be snakes near/in water. It is also a good idea to be aware of where the closest emergency vet is in relation to where your dog is swimming.

6. Provide fresh water to drink.

Your dog will likely be thirsty if it is a hot day so providing them with clean water is a must. You don’t want to resort to letting them drink lake or pond water if you can help it.

7. Rinse/bathe  your dog after swimming.


neuse river golden retriever rescue

It is always a good idea to at least rinse your dog off after they’ve been swimming. If you can, giving them a bath would be even better. It can help get rid of any bacteria or pollutants. There are many places that have self serve dog washes if you’d rather not bring a wet pup back home to bathe them.


I personally take my dogs to Woofgang. Getting a punch card is one of the most economical in the area that I’ve found. The facilities are great as well as the staff. Bonus, you can get your dog a special treat to cap off their hard, fun day of swimming!

It is best to call ahead and make sure the wash stations are in working order. I love the Raleigh Village District location because it has two wash stations and an easy to use spray nozzle.


By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your pet’s water play is safe and enjoyable, no matter how high the mercury rises. After all, the dog days of summer should be filled with fun, not worry. Here’s to a safe and splashy summer in Raleigh!

Spots in Raleigh to Swim with your Dog

Okay, now you know all about safety, let’s get to the fun part; where can my dog swim? Here is a list. Please be aware, that it is best to check with each park/facility before you go so that you can get the most update to date info on where dogs are allowed to swim within each location.


Falls Lake 13304 Creedmoor RoadWake Forest, NC 27587

Jordan Lake (Seaforth Beach is dog friendly) Seaforth Beach Road Pittsboro, NC 27312

Lake Johnson 4601 Avent Ferry Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

Montague Lake: This is a privately owned area that holds doggy swims several times a year benefiting local rescues such as Neuse Golden Retriever Rescue and Peak Lab Rescue 10305 Penny Rd, Raleigh, NC 27606

If you would enjoy a more controlled area, check out Teamworks Dog Training LLC. they have a pond and pool available for hourly rentals!

Would you and your dog love a water portrait session?

It can be tough for pet photographers to capture the perfect water shot. You know the ones, with the drops frozen in air, fur and wrinkles akimbo! Luckily I have years of experience capturing images just like these. To learn more about my stand out pet photography services visit my home page HERE.

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