Is it safe for Fido to get in the water?

Numerous articles and publications regarding algae blooms have been circulating throughout local government sites and are now making their way around local West Seattle veterinarian clinics. Now that our family has added a virtual land seal (Scupper Jr.) to the pack, I figured it was wise to know more about the safety of dog paddling along our Beach Drive shores.


This bulletin (commonly found in many states) has stirred up some confusion as to the safety of pets swimming in or around the algae blooms commonly seen on our marine beaches. As far as I can tell, these warnings are targeted specifically for lakes, ponds, rivers and non-moving estuaries. ALTHOUGH, I do have major reservations letting our pup thrash around in the colorful Puget Sound soup known as Noctiluca.

According to reports, The Washington Department of Ecology is still uncertain what else may be included in the unprecedented amount of recent algae blooms…

"They know for sure they have large amounts of common Noctiluca algae, which looks like tomato soup, but they have not identified several other strains they observed."

Conclusion: Your pets are likely to be just fine after swimming around these blooms but until I hear more, it's "Scupper, leave it!"

Scupper (Sr.) reporting for Beach Drive Blog

About Scupper


  1. Judy Bentley says

    You might also check Seattle Parks policy to see if it is legal to have Fido in the water. Some of our local beaches are marked as marine sanctuaries–places where a heron might fish in peace. Others have dogs only on leashes signs. Alki clearly has no dogs on the beach signs. But the policy is not clear on all beaches, and it would be good to know.

  2. Great point Judy! I must admit that I’ve wandered off my own tidelands now & then and really shouldn’t. As far as I’m aware, no city parks along Beach Drive allow for pets on/off the leash to be on public tidelands.

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