Summertime means beaches, pools, and plenty of time spent in the water! Whether your dog already loves the water or is just starting to show interest, now is a great time to brush up on water safety as well as teach your dog how to swim if they don't already know how.

Keep reading for some dog swimming basics and safety rules!

SWIMMING BASICS FOR DOGS

If your dog is not an experiences swimmer, you'll want to be sure to help him or her as they learn the basics. The younger your dog is, the easier it may be for them to pick up swimming. However, older dogs can still learn too! It just may take a bit more practice.

a small black dog playing in shallow lake water

 

Start off in a shallow spot, preferably in a lake or pool. This will allow your dog to wade into the water and start getting accomplished with it. Bringing them to a spot where they can't touch the ground may cause them to panic. Be sure you're also in a spot that's quiet and calm. You'll also want to keep them on their leash as you do this so that they don't accidentally go too deep or explore out of your reach.

As your dog gets more comfortable and starts to wade deeper into the water, be sure you get into the water with them. Don't force them to swim in deeper water than they are comfortable with. Let your dog take the lead as you follow. You may notice that your dog starts to paddle their front legs. While they're doing this, you can hold their back legs to teach them how to float.

DOG SWIMMING SAFETY RULES

Never leave your dog unattended. This is a rule of thumb you should follow all of the time, but it's especially important while your dog is learning to swim and exploring the water.

Ensure your dog can easily get out of the water. If you're swimming in a pool, be sure there are steps or a ramp that your dog can use to climb out of the water when they get tired.

Always pick up after your dog. It's not only common courtesy, but picking up your dog's waste will eliminate the spread of nasty bacteria and diseases.

PLACES TO SWIM WITH DOGS

There are a variety of places you can take your dog out for a swim! Some may be more easily accessible than others depending on where you live. Each place, though, has things to keep in mind so that you and your dog stay safe!

Dog Beach / Ocean: A dog-friendly beach can be a great place to take a dog swimming, especially if it's a large area with plenty of shallow water for them to run around and splash in! However, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, some beaches may require that you keep your dog on a leash while you're there. Second of all, you'll want to be sure that your dog isn't drinking ocean water. Because of the salt content, it can cause dehydration and make your dog sick. Be sure you bring along plenty of fresh drinking water for them (and yourself) along with a travel bowl for them to drink from! Also, be sure you're not venturing into the ocean when the tide is strong or the water is rough. The tide and waves can be strong and you don't want to take your dog swimming if conditions become dangerous. Last, but not least, bring along some added fun with Chuckit! fetch toys. Bring along a Chuckit! Launcher & Ultra Ball for a few games of fetch on the beach!

two golden retrievers standing in shallow water at the beach with two Chuckit Ultra Balls

 

Lake / River: Lakes and rivers can also be a great place to introduce your dog to the water! Again, be sure you're in a shallow spot. If you're taking your canine friend swimming in a river, make sure you're not in a spot where the current is strong. It can also be helpful to get a life jacket for your dog to help them stay afloat in case they wander too deep or need a bit of extra confidence. Let your dog bring along their favorite floating toy, like the Chuckit! Amphibious Duck Diver that floats high on water making it easy for dogs to find and fetch.

a dog walking in shallow water in a lake carrying a Chuckit Ultra ball in mouth

 

Your Swimming Pool: Last of all, swimming pools are a great option for teaching your dog to swim. Be sure you're using a private pool, whether it's your own or a friend's, and not a community pool, since bringing along a four-legged friend is generally frowned upon in public pools. You'll also want to rinse your dog off with fresh water after they've been swimming in a chlorinated pool to keep their coat clean. If you have an in-ground pool, make sure that you keep the cover on when it's not in use so that your dog won't accidentally fall in and get stuck. And be sure, as stated earlier, that you have a way for your dog to get in and out of the pool, either with steps or a ramp. Take pool time up a notch with Chuckit! Amphibious Balls. These floating fetch balls will never sink and won't ever pop! They're the perfect addition to your dog's swimming time in the pool.

a chocolate lab laying on a step inside an underground pool with a Chuckit! Amphibious Ball

 

DOES YOUR DOG NEED SWIMMING LESSONS?

Sometimes you may just need a little extra help getting your dog to be comfortable and confident in the water! Some dogs are naturally more scared than others, and some dogs just aren't naturally strong swimmers due to their size and body proportions. For example, English Bulldogs are a breed that has a larger head compared to the rest of their body, making it more difficult for them to swim and paddle. If your dog is struggling or has been timid when it comes to the water, consider looking into dog swimming lessons. This can help them get the hang of the technique needed to stay afloat and move well in the water, which is good for any dog to know in case of an emergency. Plus, swimming is a great form of exercise and can be an excellent way to help your dog stay in shape and feel their best!

CONCLUSION

At the end of the day, most dogs love swimming, once they get the hang of it. It's great exercise and gives your dog a fun way to cool off in the summer. Whether you've got a first-time swimmer or an experienced swimmer, you should never leave your dog unattended while swimming and should always make sure your dog has a way to exit the water. If you know your dog struggles with water, consider looking into swimming lessons for your dog.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.24petwatch.com/newsletter/swim-safety-for-dogs
  2. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/pets-water-safety#1
  3. https://thebark.com/content/swimming-dogs-water-hazard-and-safety-tips
  4. https://www.dogtipper.com/tip/2019/07/pool-safety-dogs.html
  5. https://www.nylabone.com/dog101/dog-swimming-safety-what-to-know-before-diving-in
  6. https://www.rover.com/blog/dog-swim-lessons/

 

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