Enjoying The Water With Your Dog

dogwatersafetyWhen warm weather arrives people naturally begin thinking about ways to enjoy the water. Many dogs also enjoy the water. While not all dogs are natural swimmers, most dogs can learn to swim if you take the time to teach them. Here are some things you should know about enjoying the water with your dog and water safety.

Can all dogs swim?

Many dogs take to water like, er, a duck. Labrador Retrievers, Portuguese Water Dogs, Newfoundlands, and other breeds were all bred for water work and you may have a hard time keeping one of these dogs out of the water. But that doesn’t mean that every little puppy or dog knows how to swim as soon as you take him to a lake or pool even if he belongs to a water breed. You should always introduce your dog to water slowly and carefully. Better safe than sorry, right?

In addition, there are some breeds which just don’t do well in the water because of their body shape. If you have a Pug or a Bulldog, for example, it’s not a good idea to let your dog go in the water. Their large heads and proportionally small bodies are not conducive to swimming. Many brachycelphalic breeds fall into this category.

Water safety

There are a couple of things you can do to help your dog stay safer in and around the water.

  • First, if you intend to let your dog go swimming or if your dog will be on a boat, get a life vest or life jacket. These vests work exactly the same way that human life vests work. Your dog wears one when he is in or around the water so it will keep him floating. They come in all sizes and styles. Try to choose one that’s a bright color so your dog can be easily seen if he goes in the water. It’s also a good idea to choose a vest that has a handle on the dog’s back so you can lift him into a boat from above if necessary.
  • Second, if your dog will be spending any time around a swimming pool, be sure to teach him how to get out of the pool. Every year dogs die because they can’t get out of pools. Sometimes a dog will fall into a swimming pool without the owner’s knowledge and the dog can’t find a way out. So, take the time to get into the pool with your dog and show him where the steps are and how to get himself out of the pool.
  • Third, teach your dog to swim. If your dog will be spending time on a boat or around a pool, teach him to swim. Do not toss him into the water and assume he can figure it out. Instead, go in the water with him and teach him. Some dogs will be natural swimmers, but some aren’t. You can teach your dog to swim in shallow water when there are as few distractions as possible. Stand beside your dog and place your arm under his body. Hold his head out of the water with your other arm. Don’t rush him. Let him get used to the water and start to dog paddle. Most dogs will catch on in a few minutes but keep providing your dog with your support until he is swimming on his own.
  • Finally, whenever your dog is in the water, make sure you are nearby. You never know when something might happen and your dog will need your assistance.

If you practice good water safety then you and your dog should have a great time in and around the water. Have fun!
Image credit: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo

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