Going Swimming with Your Dog

Dogs swimmingEverything is more fun with your best friend, including going swimming! But you are in charge of keeping your pup safe (since they may be more focused on ducks or sticks). Here are some tips on safe swimming, from Petful and DogTipper.

Know your dog’s breed well

Different kinds of dogs have different levels of swimming ability and face different potential risks when going swimming. So it’s important to read up online about your dog’s breed and consult your vet about your planned swimming trip.

Golden retrievers and Labradors are pretty much the pros of swimming in the canine world. They still need you to look out for them, though. Don’t abandon your role as lifeguard even if your dog seems like a better swimmer than you are.

Short-legged dogs like basset hounds and bulldogs should be watched very closely – their swimming ability is likely to be poor, as their legs are too short to propel them very far, fast, or efficiently. And when it comes to skinny dogs who have very little body fat, the risk of sinking is higher.

Think about getting some safety gear

It may embarrass your dog a little at first, but they will forgive you when he or she realizes how much safer it makes him or her feel. Especially if your let your dog swim in a lake, a river or the ocean, a life jacket is something to consider. Even if your dog is a good swimmer, a life jacket could help to make you less nervous. Water wings, however, might be going a step too far.

However, safety gear doesn’t relieve you of the duty of watching your pup in the water. Especially if your dog is in a body of water with currents, you need to watch him every minute.

Don’t rush your dog into swimming

If you like the idea of taking your dog swimming but he or she is never actually been in a body of water before, don’t push him or her too hard. You may have to train your pup to be comfortable getting in the water. If you simply throw your dog overboard when he or she doesn’t want to go, you’re putting their safety at risk.

Pay attention to the signals your dog is giving you. If he or she seems nervous around a body of water, lead him or her to the shallows at first and let them get used to how it feels. You can do this by standing a ways in yourself and calling your dog to you. When he or she gets to you, give them praise or a little treat. Keep this going until you’re farther out in the water and your dog is swimming. Don’t stay out too long, and put a life jacket on him or her for extra safety assurance.