Many dog owners take it for granted that their dog can swim. They may even toss their dog into the water when they go swimming. Unfortunately, this can lead to disaster. While some dogs are natural swimmers it’s not true that all dogs can swim. Some dogs have to be taught how to swim and some breeds don’t make good swimmers because of their body shape.
Things To Consider Before Taking Your Dog In The Water
Never Assume Your Dog Can Swim
Some breeds are known for their swimming abilities such as the Newfoundland, the Portuguese Water Dog, and the Labrador Retriever. These dogs can even have webbed paws to help them swim better. However, you can find some dogs within these breeds who may need to be shown how to swim at first as many dogs aren’t born knowing how to swim.
If you plan to go swimming with your dog it’s best to plan on teaching your dog how to swim first. Once you show your dog how to swim he will probably learn very fast and be at home in the water.
Invest In A Life Vest Or Jacket
Before going swimming with your dog it’s a good idea to invest in a doggy life vest. Canine life vests or life jackets serve the same purpose for your dog as they do with humans. They will keep your dog afloat if he should have problems in the water. Make sure you choose a vest that fits your dog comfortably and be sure to choose a bright color that will be highly visible in the water. Some vests also have a handle or strap on the back to make it easy to pick up and rescue a dog from a boat. You can find doggy life vests at pet stores, online, and in boat supply stores.
Teach Your Dog How To Swim First
You can teach your dog to swim in a swimming pool or in a larger body of water. You should stay in a shallow area while teaching your dog. Try keeping your arm under your dog’s stomach for support while he tries to paddle at first and guide him with your other arm. Let him get the hang of paddling and keeping his head above the water.
You can gradually start removing your arm from your dog’s stomach as he paddles but you should stay close in case your dog has any problems. You should always keep your dog in sight of you when he’s in the water.
If you are in a pool with your dog you must show him where the steps are and how to get out of the pool by himself. If a dog cannot get out of the pool on his own he can drown. Many dogs drown in pools each year because they cannot get out.
Specific Breeds Not Good In the Water
If you have a brachycephalic breed (short-nosed) such as a Boxer, Pug, or Bulldog, it’s probable that your dog may not be able to swim because of the shape of the dog’s head, shorter airways, and nose, as well as their body shape in some cases. These dogs typically do not do well in the water. There can be exceptions, but, in general, you should keep these dogs out of the water for their own safety.