Do All Dogs Know How To Swim?
Dog paddling comes naturally, right? Not necessarily! Not all dogs can swim…or, even like the water! In the warm months, you may want to travel with your dog to the pool, lake or beach. And, you may assume your pup will leap for joy at the prospect of a cool dip. But, be aware, this may not be the case.
Whether or not a dog is a great swimmer can depend on several factors: breed, age, weight and general health, being a few. Some breeds with low body fat (think Dobermans, Greyhounds, Whippets and Boxers) can have trouble in the water. They may have a hard time staying afloat and in regulating body temperature. Hypothermia can be a real threat to dogs, when in cool or cold water.
Bulldogs and Dachshunds aren’t great swimmers, because of their short legs.
Pugs, and other breeds with short faces, may fatigue easily.
Maltese and Chihuahuas may be good swimmers, but can become chilled or frightened, in the water. These can increase the risk of drowning. Any dog that is afraid of the water can become panicked, leading to danger for you (if you’re in the water with him) and for him.
Retrievers, Setters, Newfoundlands and Labradors are well-known as “water dogs.” However, even these dogs can become easily fatigued if they are elderly, sick, out of shape or sick. And, no matter how great a swimmer your dog is, fatigue can set in and any dog can succumb to drowning.
Waves, undertows, currents and rushing water can overtake even the strongest swimmer. You might consider fitting your dog with a life vest. The US Coast Guard does not regulate life vests for pets. So, make sure your pet is measured for the proper fit. Even if wearing a life vest, be sure to monitor your pooch and use caution and common sense, when around the water.
If your dog seems to enjoy being in the water, but doesn’t really know how to swim, you can teach him. Start off in a kiddie pool or in the shallow part of the lake. Hold him under his belly, as you would when teaching a child to swim. As he becomes more confident, you can slowly move to deeper water. It’s best to have him wear a life vest, while in the learning stages.
What if your dog just doesn’t take to the water, at all? Let him stay High and Dry at home, in our care!