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Dogs and salmon don’t mix

Spawning salmon are a Northwest treasure but pose a real risk to dogs

Spawning salmon have returned to creeks in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the best viewing locations in Seattle is Piper’s Creek in Carkeek Park. Through the end of the year, this creek, and many others in Seattle, will host hundreds of salmon returning home. The Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Parks and Recreation remind dog owners to keep their dogs leashed and out of the creeks – for the safety of both the salmon and the dogs.

Spawning salmon and dogs pose unique hazards to each other in the Pacific Northwest, so it is best to leave Fido home during a visit to view the salmon. If dogs ingest raw salmon, they can become victims of salmon poisoning disease.

“Dogs can get salmon poisoning from eating raw salmon, trout, steelhead or salamanders that are infected with an internal parasite,” said Dr. Jennifer Bennett. “Dogs often get sick a week or more after ingestion. Without treatment, the disease is fatal in 90 percent of dogs.”

Dogs in creeks also pose hazards for the salmon. The trip up the creek is biologically stressful on the fish, and all energy is needed to simply swim. Dogs in creeks and waterways can negatively affect the fish, leading the salmon to not reach their spawning ground.

The Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Parks and Recreation are asking for your help to save the Pacific Northwest’s salmon and to protect your dogs. Always keep your dog on leash when not in an off-leash area, and avoid salmon spawning grounds if you have your dog along.

To protect the salmon and dogs, officers will be doing emphasis patrols in parks with spawning salmon. Off-leash fines can range from $54 to $162. To report off-leash dogs, please submit a service request at You can also contact the shelter or get more information by calling 206-386-PETS (7387) or visiting

For those wishing to view salmon in Piper’s Creek, the address is 950 NW Carkeek Road. Salmon Stewards will be at the park every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. until Dec. 3 to help visitors spot returning salmon and answer questions. Salmon Stewards is a community volunteer program funded and collaboratively run by Seattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities. To learn more about the program, visit or

The Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) protects public safety and enforces all animal-related ordinances for the city of Seattle. SAS also cares for abandoned, abused and orphaned animals of Seattle. Located at 2061 15th Ave. W., SAS is open from noon-6 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday, for adoptions and licensing.

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) is committed to healthy people, healthy environments and strong communities. SPR works to promote good stewardship of the land and manages a 6,414-acre park system of over 485 parks and extensive natural areas.