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Keep Pets Home or on a Leash
Wildlife and pets can harm each other.

It’s important to keep pets away from marine wildlife, and especially marine mammals, for their safety and yours. This applies to seabirds and nesting sea turtles as well!

Pets are not welcome everywhere, so make sure to check local guidelines for restrictions. If pets are allowed, always keep them on a leash and away from wildlife! This will ensure both the safety of your pet and any wildlife you may encounter.

Leashed dog and person holding trash bags stand on the beach

A person on the beach correctly demonstrates how to properly leash and harness a dog in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Photo: James Roubal/NOAA

Wildlife can transmit a variety of diseases - some of which can be fatal - to your pets and vice versa. Transmission of diseases can occur through direct means, like a bite or a scratch, or through indirect means, such as contact with body fluids or fecal matter. Many of these diseases can also be passed to humans, so make sure you keep your distance for everyone’s health and safety.

Elephant seal on beach bares its teeth

Wild animals like this elephant seal may retaliate aggressively when approached by pets or people. Pets are much safer on a leash or at home!

Photo: Barbara Taylor/NMFS

Disease isn’t the only reason to keep pets and wildlife apart - pets can cause unnecessary distress for wildlife. When a wild animal experiences stress, it may feel compelled to flee the area or react aggressively towards you or your pet. Leashing your pet or leaving them at home is the kind thing to do for wildlife.

Leashed dog and person walk in shallow water.

A dog safely explores the water on a leash while keeping a distance from wildlife.

Photo: Grace Bottitta-Williamson/NOAA

Additional Resources

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Take the Pledge

Respect. Protect. Enjoy.