Summer in Seattle: A Dog Owner’s Guide

Small dog in summer at Seattle's Kerry Park, and black dog swimming at Seattle off-leash park

Summer is upon us in Seattle! For many humans, the change to the sunny season means longer days, shorter shorts, and a freshly cracked brew to cool off and settle down. But what does summer mean for our furry friends?

If there’s one thing Strut the Pup loves about Seattle, it’s that Seattleites love their dogs. The Rainy City has consistently ranked as one of the most dog-friendly metro areas in the US — and this doggy love is most apparent in summer, when dogs and their owners are out and about. But while you’re exploring one of Seattle’s various off-leash parks during the warmer seasons, there are special considerations to make to ensure your pup is comfortable in the heat.

A Look Ahead

Best Seattle Dog Parks in Summer:

1. Marymoor Park

2. Magnuson Park

3. Genesee Park

4. Lower Kinnear Park

5. Grandview Park

But before we explain why we think these are the best dog parks in the summer, let’s review steps dog owners should take to prepare their dog for the warmer weather.

Preparing Your Dog for Summer

Give ‘Em a Summer ‘Do

Like humans, dogs have specific bodily mechanisms to cool themselves off in hot temperatures. Panting is one of the primary means of releasing heat for a pup, reducing their chances of heat stroke. For most breeds, shedding is also a great way to prepare for the summertime heat-up.

But, for certain dog breeds, a summer haircut can make the job easier. Dogs built to survive in colder temperatures — like St. Bernards, Bernese mountain dogs, or akitas — often benefit from a haircut before summer. Other dogs with double coats, like poodles (and other -oodle mixes) and Pomeranians, also love a fresh groom in the summer, as well as any other breeds that enjoy regular grooming.

In addition to helping your pet stay cool, a pre-summer groom can prevent diaspores (like foxtails or burrs) and other sticky plant materials from hanging onto their fur!

Get Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

As spring rolls around, ticks begin to appear in wooded areas, latching onto wandering pets and their unsuspecting owners. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes can spread diseases to your dog, and since these parasites are more popular in the warmer months, it’s important to talk to your vet about preventative measures. Ask your veterinarian about tick medication, and double-check your dog is up on their rabies vaccination, too!

Tips for Dog Owners in Summer

A dog owner pets his wiry dog on leash before he goes for a summer swim in the sea

Once summer claims the land, there’s more you can do for pooch to keep them cool and comfortable. Safety is always our first priority!

Know the Signs of Heat Stroke in Dogs: Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include excessive panting (that’s how they release heat, remember?), dark or bright red tongue and gums, stumbling, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you see any of these behaviors or characteristics in your pup, seek medical attention as soon as possible!

Dog Sunscreen: It’s true — dogs can get sunburnt too! Hairless dogs, or dogs with white or thin coats and light-pigmented skin on noses or eyelids, are particularly prone to sunburn. Sunscreen is also important if your dog spends a lot of time resting tummy-up on concrete or other light surfaces, as odd as that sounds.

Never Leave Your Pooch in the Car: Dogs stay cool differently than we do, and hot fabrics on their paws can actually prevent them from expelling heat. Even on days that start out overcast (which we have quite a few of in Seattle), it’s too hot to leave your dog unattended in your vehicle. Plus, as of 2015, it’s also illegal.

Provide Ways to Stay Cool Inside, Too: Seattle is the least air-conditioned metro area in the US, which means our homes can get just as hot as the outside temperatures — especially while we’re not in them. While your dog is home alone, open screened windows, leave a fan running, and make sure their water bowl is full so your furry friend has ways to cool off.

Exercise Less Rigorously in Summer: Adjust your regular walking schedule to avoid exercise during the hottest hours of the day. Walks in the early morning or late evening can reduce the risk of heat stroke. If those times are during your workday, don’t worry — Strut the Pup can do the walking for you!

Find the Right Spot to Exercise: Seattle has a lot of beautiful parks prime for roaming during summer. As long as there’s shade and water available, your pup will be thrilled to play!

Summer in Seattle: Our Favorite Spots for Dogs

Need some help navigating Greater Seattle in summer? From shady parks to popular watering holes, we’ve picked our favorite spots to bring dogs when the weather gets warm.

As a chance to rest and rehydrate, also check out some of dog-friendly breweries and restaurants like Norm’s in Fremont or Obec Brewing in Ballard.

Marymoor Park

Red dog looks back at grassy field on off-leash adventure in Marymoor Park in Seattle
Photo: Ryan Stone

We like to call this 40-acre park “Disneyland for Dogs” — but it’s a great spot for human recreation too! Five river access points and well-maintained beaches make Marymoor Park in Redmond a great place to cool off with your pooch this summer. Plus, it’s off-leash for the highest quality of play!

Magnuson Park

A boxer and another dog play together off-leash at Magnuson Park in Seattle
Photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation

Another off-leash park, Magnuson Park is the largest backyard in Seattle city limits. The park is 8.6 acres of fenced-in, no-worries fun, complete with a small/shy dog area and Lake Washington swim access nearby.

Genesee Park

Various dogs and their owners play together on gravel area in Genesee Park in Seattle
Photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation

We love Genesee Park in the summer not only because it’s another off-leash park, but because it’s relatively flat — so it’s easy to keep an eye on your pup while they’re playing. Plus, they have a doggie drinking fountain!

Lower Kinnear Park

View from Lower Kinnear Park, with on-leash trail through wooded area
Photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation

Kinnear Park is great because its West Queen Anne location is easy to access for inner-city pooches. For a more controlled and leisurely stroll (on-leash), nature paths featuring towering foliage native to the area provide sufficient shade. Plus, the clear blue summer skies allow for some fantastic views!

Grandview Park

A small dog plays in open field at Grandview Off-Leash Dog Park in South Seattle
Photo: Seattle Southside

Great for fetch, Grandview Park offers 34 acres of fields and paths in SeaTac. With two people/dog water fountains from spring to fall and sheltered areas for rest, your dog is sure to love this off-leash spot!

What’d we miss? Drop us a line for any other insider info from the Seattle dog community. We’d love to hear from you!