For Serious Swimming
Are you the proud owner of a water pup? Have you been considering trying out your dog's swim skills? Whether your four-legged friend is a certified swimmer or new to the water, here are some things to keep in mind.
Let’s start with an incredible story…
Dogs can actually be trained as lifeguards. In Italy, Golden Retrievers Save Lives of 5 Boys Caught in Rip Current. Two trained dogs that work with the lifeguard on duty at the beach jumped in and pulled these boys out of a rip current to safety!
You may have heard of certain breeds being strong swimmers. This includes Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Labs. If your floof has any of these breeds in their genetics, they may have passion for the doggy paddle.
So… what should you do if you want to introduce your pet to swimming?
Getting Your Dog Comfortable with Water
Start out by identifying if you think your dog would have a desire to swim. If your pet may be water-averse or you are unsure of their swim desires, take some time to get them comfortable with water.
It might sound silly, but take a moment to introduce your pet to water activities. This could include spending some time outside with the hose or a kitty pool. A cheap little pool from the store may show if your pet likes to cool off and get wet… or if they prefer dry land!
Now that you know their water comfortability, check out if there are dog-friendly swimming sites near you. This can include reservoirs, beaches, and lakes. Make sure it is a place your pet is welcome – and make sure they are ready to interact with other furry friends.
It is a good idea to go somewhere with a “beach” where your pet can wane into the water. This way, your pet can get comfortable with their feet wet. You can encourage them to explore deeper in the water by playing fetch or walking further into the water with them.
If you really want your floof to learn how to swim, check out: Can All Dogs Swim? How to Teach a Dog to Swim. As this article points out, it is always a good idea to keep your dog safe with a lifevest. This may help your pet feel more confidence, and as this article points out: “swimming is all about courage.”
Never throw your pup into the water. This may traumatize them and hinder the swimming courage they need! This article covers a breadth of dog swimming considerations from choosing a flotation device to water safety tips.
It is important to make sure the water temperature is safe for your four-legged friend. As Can All Dogs Swim? points out, if your pet shivers or their tail droops rather than staying active or wagging, your pup may be at risk. Pay attention to cues from your pup, and encourage them to get out of the water if it seems too cold.
Closer to Home
If you want to have a splash session closer to home, check out pet slash pads! Or, just grab a hose, preferably with different spray settings. I know my family goldendoodle finds joy in simply running through the sprinklers!
Cooling off your pet with some water-filled fun doesn’t have to be complicated! Especially if it is warm out, swimming or splashing around may bring your pet joy, exercise, and cool them off. For more information on keeping your pet cool and protected from the sun, check out
Keeping Your Pet Cool for the Summer!
Post Water Care
Make sure wherever your pet splashes around that the water is safe. Humans and pets need to be kept safe from contamination. Regardless of the water involved, it is always a good idea to rinse your pet down or even give them a bath after splashing around.
Depending on your pet’s skin type and the water they are swimming in, frequent water time can cause dry skin just like us humans. Make sure you take care to treat your pet’s skin accordingly, maybe integrating a pup-safe conditioner or spreading coconut oil on their skin (Apply Coconut Oil To Your Dog’s Skin).
Splashing Around Can Be Such Fun…
Lots of dogs will adore a water-based activity. Remember to pay attention to their comfortability, take good care of their safety, and integrate a post-water care routine. Keeping this in mind, your pet is likely to love staying cool in the summer. Maybe you will discover you have a future lifeguard on your hands!