Can my Dog Swim?

Are dogs natural swimmers? You may think dogs are natural swimmers, that’s not always true. Although most dogs will instinctively dog paddle in water that doesn’t mean they can actually swim or even keep their cute black noses above water!

We all know of dogs that can’t wait to dash into the lake, Labradors and Golden Retrievers are excellent examples of pups that are hard to keep out of the water. But other canines may dislike water, or worse, not have the body structure of a swimmer. Many of the dogs that don’t do well in the water are vertically challenged, top heavy, or have short, stocky legs.

Even if you own one of these breeds and they like the water, you need to keep a very close eye on them and keep them out of deep water. These breeds will have a difficult time keeping their heads above water for any length of time; their body just works against them.

Water Safety

The best idea is to buy them a life jacket for extra protection if you’re going to have them around water. But keep them in sight in shallow water, even with a life jacket.  Every dog that goes boating should have a life jacket on for safety, regardless of how accomplished a swimmer they are.

If you own a dog that should be a good swimmer and you want to get them comfy in the water, go slowly. Most vets will recommend they start with a life jacket. Go to a shallow spot, get them wet and give it a shot. Get in the water a bit yourself and play with them. Toss a ball in just a few feet and praise them when they go in, even just a tiny bit. Get them comfy and confident in the water. If your dog has a friend that loves water go to the beach with them, it could help your pooch get the hang of this water thing (but of course keep your eye on them both).

Water-loving breeds: Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Standard Poodle, Newfoundland, Portuguese Water Dog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and English and Irish Setters are among the best swimmers.

Pups that are more landlubbers: Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Pug, Pekingese, Bull Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, ShihTzu, Pomeranian, Maltese, Greyhound, Dachshund, French Bulldog, Basset Hounds, and even a Boxer.

So, if your dog is a swimmer enjoy the summer but be safe, even Olympic swimmers get tired. If not, you can both sit by the shore and enjoy the breeze!