Can All Dogs Swim? No!

Most dogs can swim but definitely not all dogs. So before your Fido takes the plunge, follow the advice in this article to prevent an accident or make your dog afraid of water for the rest of his or her life. Understand that not all dogs even like the water so take it slow and gauge his willingness and then his ability to swim.

Tips for teaching your dog to swim

July 8, 2012

"I frequently hear from readers who assumed their pet is a swimmer, only to learn their new best friend was terrified of water or disliked swimming altogether.

Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are programmed nor built to swim. Some breeds such as basset hounds, bulldogs, pugs, Boston/Scottish terriers, toys and large barrel-chested breeds require a life vest and human help to learn the doggie paddle. Some never learn at all. 

Others, particularly those with "water" in their title (Portuguese water dogs, English water spaniels) and many retrievers are natural swimmers. Owners of those breeds have trouble keeping their dogs OUT of the water.

With more webbing in their paws than any other breed, Newfoundlands are considered the power swimmers of the dog world, but many still require initial guidance to feel confident and secure before pursuing water-rescue work"……………,0,5699314.story

If you discover your dog is not a swimmer there are other ways to let him cool off while enjoying some time outside. A wading pool, a sprinkler or a cool shower with the garden house can be helpful and enjoyable during the "dog days" of summer. Freash drinking water is a must. Remember, tthe water in a bowl as well as a small wading pool can heat up pretty quickly on a hot summer day, especially if out in the sun, so change the water frequently and don't keep your fur covered friend out in the heat for very long. Dogs don't sweat like we do to dissipate body heat so they can get overheated much quicker than we do so be careful not to overdo it.

Summer just started and here in the northeast we've already had near record high temperatures. If you live around water or a pool, it's wise to follow some safety precautions to keep your dog safe. Even if your dog can swim he can find himself in a life and death struggle under the right conditions.

Safer Swimming

Pet Connection

"Warm weather came early this year to much of the country, and that means lakes and rivers — and even swimming pools — are already being enjoyed by dogs who love to swim. But every spring, as my field-bred retrievers (who happily swim year-round) greet new dogs at the river's edge, I see dogs at risk of drowning.
Most times, some caution on the part of their owners would prevent any problems. The keys to water safety for dogs: prevention, preparedness and awareness.


No dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool or a neighborhood pond or creek. Swimming pools are best fenced-off for safety. And if that's not possible, they should be equipped with alarms that sound when the surface of the water is broken by a child or pet falling in. Escape ramps are a great idea, but it's better to prevent pets from getting in unsupervised in the first place.

Prevention also includes teaching your pet what to do when he's in the pool. Dogs don't understand the idea that the steps are on one side only, and they may tire and drown trying to crawl out the other side. If your pet likes to swim, work with him in the pool to help him learn where the steps are, so he can get out easily.

Tip: Put contrasting paint or tape on the fence behind the steps to give your dog a visual clue he can count on.

Finally, obedience training is extremely important. Your dog should come when called, even while swimming, so you can call him back before he heads into deeper water or stronger currents. Emergency shortcut: Always carry extra retrieving toys. A dog who's heading out into a dangerous area after a ball or stick can often be lured back to shore with a second item thrown closer in. It's no substitute for training, but it could save your dog's life….."

Let's all take every precaution to keep our dogs safe this summer. You know the old saying, "an ounce of prevention…." Water can be a lot of fun for your dog but just as with our children, they also need supervision.


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Posted in: Dog Safety.
Last Modified: August 12, 2015

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