Swimming is a great exercise for your dog, especially for the hot summer. However, before you and your pet go running for the closest pool, it’s important that you brush up on a few safety tips. It’s a common misconception that all dogs know how to swim and it doesn’t help that they even have their own stroke named after them, so read these tips that we have below and you and your pooch will be smooth sailing in no time.
Your dog needs to learn how to swim just like you do.
Just as you would teach a human, you need to slowly introduce swimming to your dog. Although your dog will learn quicker, all the same rules of learning apply. Try to find a shallow bit of water, preferable with some steps down like a pool. Do not push or throw him in. Get in the water with him and let him slowly move in as he feels more comfortable. Do not force him in if he doesn’t feel comfortable. As your dog starts paddling his front legs, help him with his hind legs to show him how to float.
Also, keep in mind, some dogs and breeds or just more designed for swimming than others. Breeds like bulldogs, which have a big chest and short legs are known to be poor swimmers. Other short snout breeds with have more difficulty breathing and can get tired easily. If your dog just doesn’t seem to like swimming, don’t force him. Like humans, not all dogs will be natural swimmers.
Teach your dog where the exits are.
Take the time to show your dog where the ramps or steps are. Whether your dog is a good swimmer or not, it’s important for them to know how to get out. Remember to refresh these lessons especially if they have not swam in a while or if this is a new location for them.
Invest in a life vest.
If you are taking your dog on a boating adventure, no matter how good of a swimmer he is, he should always wear a life vest. This is not only to help him stay afloat in case he falls off, but to make him easier to spot if he falls overboard. Dogs can’t wave or cry for help and if you are moving fast, it’s easy to lose him. If your dog does fall over, have someone keep a finger pointed at him while others go for help. A life vest is also a good idea for dogs who are poor swimmer at the pool, lake, or on the dock.
Always keep an eye on your dog.
Even if your dog is a great swimmer, it’s important to keep an eye on him. If you leave him alone even just for a minute, it’s possible that he’s gone off chasing something and accidentally fallen in and needs help. Also, dogs are not as good as understanding how to rest or tread in water. If you see that he is swimming too far away, be sure to call him back and keep him at a safe distance from you.
Learn some doggy swimming first aid.
If you do find yourself in an emergency and your dog is drowning, it’s important that you make sure that you also take proper care of yourself and those around you when you are trying to help your dog. If he is a medium to large size dog, and you are not a strong swimmer, it is better for you to calm him down with your voice and try to coax him back to a safety rather than jump in yourself. It would also be a good idea to learn some doggy CPR. His vet or local animal organizations may offer these classes.
Don’t let your dog drink from the ocean, lake, or pond.
Always bring plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog. If you see your dog drinking from the ocean, lake, or pond water, stop him immediately. The water here may contain bacteria or algae that can make your pooch extremely ill.
Make sure you give your buddy a good cleaning up after.
Wash your dog thoroughly after to help get rid of any chemicals, irritants, or bacteria from the water. Be sure to do this immediately after. If you can’t give your dog a full wash immediately, at least rinse him off. The longer you wait, the more likely your dog will eat something nasty when he grooms and licks himself.
Make sure you pay special attention to your dog’s ears. Bacteria that gets into the ears can turn into a very nasty ear infection in no time. Always make sure your pooch’s ears have been cleaned and dried thoroughly. If you notice any changes in your dog’s ears, see a vet immediately.
Okay, and you’re now all set! Go out there and have a great time swimming away. We’d love to hear your comments. Please leave them below.