Safe Swimming Spots for your Pets
This summer has been a hot one, and it looks like the beginning of fall is no different. Due to the rise in water temperature from the heat, a harmful algal bloom has affected the popular, central swimming holes for your dogs.
The City of Austin has confirmed a harmful algal bloom on Lady Bird Lake beginning in July 2019. Neurotoxins have been detected in some algae. We have heard of five dogs that have died after swimming in Lady Bird Lake this summer.
To keep you, your family and your pets safe:
- Do not allow pets to drink from or swim in Lady Bird Lake or parts of Barton Creek near the lake.
- Do not handle the algae.
- Minimize contact with the water in Lady Bird Lake.
- Remember that swimming is prohibited in Lady Bird Lake (Ord. 640611-C).
- Avoid creeks and lakes where the water is warm and stagnant or where there are algae present.
- Rinse off if you or your dog come in contact with the water.
I don't know about your pups, but my retriever a) can't read and b) doesn't care; he needs to swim because it's too hot for other physical activities. We heard his (and the other active pups) outcry and put together a list of safe, pet-friendly swimming holes in the Austin and surrounding areas.
Location: walking distance East of 2201 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Sunrise to 10 p.m.
Amenities: Barking Springs (aka the spillover from Barton Springs Pool) is a popular spot in Downtown Austin for humans and pets to escape the heat by cooling off in the cold water from Barton Springs Pool. The spillover is located just east of the pool. Due to the constant flow of cold water from Barton Springs Pool, you may allow your dog to swim in the area at your own risk.
According to the City of Austin, please be cautious of:
- Downstream areas with algae
- Harmful algae detected between the spillway and the lake
- Bacteria levels that may also be high given the number of dogs playing at this location
Location: 13731 Carpenter Lane, Manchaca, TX, 78652
Hours: Monday-Friday: 6:30am - 10am & 3pm - 8pm; Saturday-Sunday: 9am - 6pm
Amenities: Jumping Jack Dog Ranch has a large fenced-in yard with a dog-themed pool. The circular pool features a beach-front entry for dogs that like to romp and splash through the shallow end, as well as a deeper end for the pups who enjoy swimming and jumping in! It also has a fire hydrant water fountain in the middle of a bone-shaped island! How cute is that?!
Bonus: Rent the private dog park complete with a swimming pool for your pups for $50/hr. You can bring a few of your dog's friends, or just have your pup, it's totally up to you. There is no lifeguard on duty, so you are responsible for your dog's safety. Note that kiddos under 12 aren't allowed at the pool, but you can bring food or soft drinks (just no glass).
Location: Veterans Memorial Park, 2525 West New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Hours: Sunrise to 10 p.m. Note that the Bark Park is closed every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for cleaning and maintenance.
Amenities: The Cedar Bark Park is a 5-acre fenced in dog park located in Veterans Memorial Park at 2525 W. New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613. Some of the amenities include a natural dog pond, pet waste stations, benches, drinking fountains, dog showers, and natural features. This park is a Cedar Park favorite!
Location: 12138 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78753
Hours: 5am - 10pm, daily
Amenities: Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park is an expansive 293-acre park situated just north of downtown Austin, and features miles of hiking trails, an off-leash dog area, a swimming pool, a playground, and sports and recreational facilities.
Location: 1600 City Park Rd., Austin, Texas 78730
Hours: 7am - 10pm, daily
Amenities: For years, the park on Lake Austin was named City Park. Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a large municipal park on the shores of Lake Austin that allows leashed pets.
Location: 14100 Low Water Crossing Road, Austin, TX 78732
Hours: Sunrise to sunset, daily
Amenities: Located on the north side of Lake Austin, adjacent to Mansfield Dam, this 62-acre day-use park is ideal for picnicking and swimming.
Location: 4370 Mansfield Dam Park Road Austin, TX 78732
Hours: Sunrise to civil twilight, daily
Amenities: As its name suggests, Mansfield Dam Park is located adjacent to Mansfield Dam on the main body of Lake Travis. Leashed pets are permitted but keep in mind this is a busy waterway with boats.
Location: 13601 Bullick Hollow Road Austin, TX 78726
Hours: Sunrise to civil twilight, daily
Amenities: Cypress Creek Park is located on Lake Travis in the scenic Hill Country of central Texas. This small, easy-to-reach park, within a 30-minute drive from downtown Austin, is a favorite spot for leashed pets, boating, picnicking, and fishing.
Location: 3006 FM621, San Marcos, TX 78666
Hours: 8am - 4pm, daily
Amenities: K9 Water World was developed for dogs and their human companions. They offer a 48' x 21' swimming pool for exercise, therapy, and dock diving. You can even swim with your dog(s) if you like (and many people do).
Important notes before heading out for a swim:
- Access to clean, drinkable water
- Avoid warm, stagnant water in swimming areas
- Rinse off after swimming
The safety of you and your pets is always a top concern. If you are still hesitant to bring your dog to any swimming areas that could be affected by the algae, avoid these areas. A kiddie pool is another great option for your dogs to cool down while playing outside.
Know of any swimming holes that are safe from algal bloom and pet-friendly? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.