Can My Dog Swim? A Guide To Safe And Fun Swimming With Dogs!

Nothing beats splashing in cool water on a hot day – for people and for dogs, too! But despite having a swimming stroke named after them (the Dog Paddle, of course), not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. With the right preparation, you and your pup can still enjoy a refreshing dip at the local pool or swimming hole. And while you’re out, be aware of the risk of heat stroke in dogs. Plus, consider adding a GPS dog tracker to your dog’s collar – so you’ll be able to find your dog anywhere.

Table of contents

  • Can all dogs swim?
    • Dog breeds that like to swim
    • Dog breeds that can’t swim
    • Does your dog love water?
  • How to get a dog to like water
  • Using a dog life jacket for safety
  • Always know where your dog is
  • Choosing the location to go swimming with your dog
    • Dogs and salt water swimming
    • Can Your Dog Swim in the Pool?
      • Is pool water safe for dogs?
  • How cold is too cold for dogs to swim?
  • Don’t leave your dog unsupervised
  • What are the benefits of swimming for your dog?
    • It’s joint-friendly
    • It’s great for overweight dogs
    • It improves overall health
  • After swim dog care

Can all dogs swim?

Technically, any dog can swim if they are in good health and are properly introduced to swimming. Some dog breeds have a knack for swimming, while other dog breeds have body types that aren’t well-suited for this activity. Of course how well a dog can swim depends not only on their breed, but on their individual personality and experiences.

Dog breeds that like to swim

Golden retrievers and labrador retrievers were bred to retrieve waterfowl for hunters, so they are typically comfortable entering bodies of water and swimming. Spanish water dogs, portuguese water dogs, and american water spaniels, as their names imply, often have a natural affinity for water.

Dog breeds that can’t swim

Then of course, there are some dog breeds which don’t make great swimmers. For example, dogs with short legs and long bodies such as basset hounds, corgis, and dachshunds may struggle to maneuver in deep water.

Additionally, dog breeds with flat faces like pugs, french bulldogs, and pekingese may have a hard time breathing while swimming, because they must tilt their head up to breathe. Bulldogs have a hard time swimming due to their body’s natural weight distribution.

So don’t forget a dog life vest if you take any of these dogs near the water.

Does your dog love water?

Even if a dog breed is supposed to love water, some individual dogs simply don’t enjoy getting wet. But nearly any dog can come to love the water, even if it’s just wading in up to their ankles.

dog running into water outside

How to get a dog to like water

Getting your dog to love being in the water and swimming starts the same as any new activity with your dog: a gradual introduction, built on a foundation of trust between you and your sweet pup.

Make your pooch’s first experience in the water a positive one. On your first visit, test your dog’s interest in the water. Wade in and see if they follow you.

Allow your pooch to set the pace for how deep they’ll go into the water. Stay right by their side and offer verbal praise. It may take a few visits to the water before your pup is willing to plunge in. Just be patient and encouraging.



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