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Can Your Dog Swim? Helpful Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Updated by Sheryl on Sep 14, 2021

Dog swimming is an impeccable way of exercising those furry little paws. It is an entertaining way to stay cool on hot sunny days. But like any other fun thing out there, there are a few risks associated with dog swimming that owners need to watch out for.

In fact, only the breeds developed for water-based jobs excel at swimming, while others find it rather challenging. Dog breeds like Labrador Retriever, Irish Water Spaniel dogs, Portuguese water dog, and, Scotia duck tolling Retriever have the physical traits making them excellent swimmers. These breeds will love jumping in the water for hours. While breeds like Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Pug, Boxer, Yorkshire Terrier, Shih Tzu, Maltese, and Pekingese treat water like their long-term rival and try to do anything to stay dry.

dog swimming

As a caring pup parent, you may want to opt for some safety measures and preparations before taking your lovely furball out for a dive. What are the preparations before taking your dog swimming? And how can you make this experience a fun-filled memory for you and your fluffy pal? Read on for pointers to find out!

Preparations before Taking Your Dog Swimming
Water Safety Tips for Dogs
Wrapping Up

1. Invest in a dog swimming pool

Dog swimming pools are a great way to prepare your fuzzy little fellow for an outdoor dog swimming attempt. These pools let your pooch get used to having wet paws. Most dog swimming pools have low sides that make it easier for pooches to step in and out confidently. Just pick the one that won't pop or leak.

Before investing in a dog swimming pool, ensure you know that not all pools are created equally. Some are suitable for small pups, while others are right for large breed dogs.

If you are swamped by so many dog swimming pool options online, we suggest you try this waterproof, non-slip pet swimming pool. This durable PVC material dog swimming pool is perfect for little kids and pups to splash around together.

2. Grab a dog life vest

Dogs that are new to swimming should wear a dog life vest for safety. A dog life vest is especially beneficial for canines having a hard time staying afloat:
Some short-legged dog breeds with big chests (bulldogs, for example) struggle with swimming. Even if they like to swim, their physical features make them sink in deep water. Wearing a dog life vest significantly improves their chances to stay above water.
A dog life vest can effectively help the dogs that get nervous in the water. Dogs having water anxiety are at a high risk of passing out in the water. They may have to deal with panic attacks compromising their ability to swim. These attacks can affect their respiration as well, increasing the possibility of drowning. A dog life vest can help keep them out of trouble.
Even the most experienced canines can feel overwhelmed by the strong waves. If you plan on taking your dog to a place with rough waves, consider getting them a dog life vest for their safety.

Finding the right life jacket for your pooch can be a bit tricky. The decision can be challenging if you are a newbie pet parent. To help you find the right fit, we recommend using this adjustable dog life jacket with a shark fin. This product is worth trying with the availability of rescue handles to offer an easy pull in an emergency.

Most dogs love taking a dip in the water, especially during summertime. Yet not every pooch knows how to doggy paddle! Many dogs feel anxious while introduced to the water for the initial interactions.

But don't worry. All you need is to introduce the pup with water little by little to avoid overwhelming them. Remember, not every canine is water-ready. Some fluff babies need a little more encouragement to believe dog swimming is not a scary thing at all.

Keep in mind:
Praise your dogs and encourage them to follow you into the water.
Start training the pup in shallow water or a dog swimming pool, and stay close.
Once the dogs get comfortable, try taking them a little further by using their favorite toy. Don't stop appreciating as the dog follows you around.
Wearing a dog life vest is very important to ensure your dog's safety.
Keep your eyes on the dogs so they don't drink from ponds, swamps, rivers, or the ocean. Most ponds are polluted with harmful organisms, while salty ocean water can make your pup extremely sick.
Make sure the water has just the right temperature. Not too cold, neither too hot.

What to do with a dog scared of water?

Before planning a fun-packed day at the beach or lake, figure out if your dog is scared of water. Not all canines wish to race right into the lake. Even some water dogs require human support to get close to it. Some breeds don't have the physical capacity to stay afloat, while others are just nervous.

Many factors contribute to why dogs are scared of water, but the most common cause is lack of exposure.

dog swimming
If your dog is water-shy, here's what you can do to calm the anxious fella down:
Take baby steps and don't rush the dog swimming. See where the pooch feels comfortable and start there. It's OK to go slow! Forcing a dog to swim can make the pup more scared.
You can always opt for high-value treats. We suggest using the treats that your dog loves to make the day a positive experience.
Never make your water-shy dogs swim in a fast-moving stream. Select calm water at the beginning as it is less likely to frighten your pooch.
Try to enjoy the experience as much as you can. If you are having a fun time near the water, the pup will definitely join.
How long should a dog swim for a good workout?
A 15 to 20 minutes swimming session is enough for your dog to release its excess energy. The industry standard swim session for an average dog is 30 minutes.
How often can my dog go swimming?
You can take your dog swimming once a week to begin with. However, it also depends on your dog's level of fitness.
How many calories does a dog burn swimming?
According to many vets, in comparison to walking, dog swimming burns 4 times more calories in the same period.
Can I take my dog swimming every day?
You may want to take your dogs out for swimming once a week if they are not used to it. Once their stamina is strong enough, you can take the dog swimming 3-4 times a week. If your dog is a pro swimmer, you can let him swim every day.

Swimming is an excellent exercise for canines. It is fun and offers a great way to keep cool on hot summer days. Besides, dogs do need more exposure to water to survive an emergency. Making them comfortable with water may take some effort, but it's worth it. Just follow these tips to keep your pets safe and sound.

Be safe and have fun adventures!

Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
Product Reviews
TrustScore 4.80 | 5 reviews
  • Using this pool as a pool for my toddler. This pool can be folded and easy to store, I can take it everywhere, love it! And it's very easy to empty and clean. Great buy.
  • Great size pool for small dogs to cool off in. My deny-poo and sheltie both enjoy cooling off in it.
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