If you are going to the pool or the beach, bring your dog along, too! Swimming can be very rewarding for them, as well as offering a great form of exercise. However, there are some precautions that you should take when taking your dog swimming. First of all, it is a common misconception that all dogs know how to “dog paddle” without ever having been in water (this simply isn’t true). In fact, there are many breeds that will sink in water and there are also some dogs who don’t enjoy swimming at all.
- All dogs should wear life jackets (and never leave them unsupervised)
- Proceed with caution If your dog has never swam before
- Dogs need swimming lessons, too
- Spray your dog down with water after going in the pool
There are certain types of dogs that will sink in water. Dogs with short legs (e.g. basset hounds) and dogs that don’t have a lot of fat on their body (e.g. greyhounds and boxers) cannot swim without a life vest. To air on the side of caution, all dogs should wear a lifevest when swimming, especially if they are only learning how to swim or if you are taking them on a boat ride. Constant supervision is also imperative.
Most dogs are usually very scared the first time they go swimming. Never throw your dog in the water thinking that they know what to do. Here are the steps you should follow to introduce your dog to water.
Always start out in shallow water. It can also be helpful to teach him or her to swim in a contained area such as a pool. Remember that your dog’s first experience with water should be both short and positive. If your dog is comfortable standing in a bit of water, you can move further into the water and call him or her to you. If your dog tries to get out of the pool, this means that your dog is not comfortable and you need to slow down – don’t force it.
Just like teaching children how to swim, dogs need to be taught, too. If your dog is showing signs of being comfortable in water, you can begin to give him or her their first swimming lesson!
Many beginner swimmers (of the dog variety) will only use their front paws to swim. Take your dog’s back legs and allow him or her to swim. Be mindful that swimming can quickly a make dog very tired, so only spend small amounts of time in the water. You want to avoid your dog becoming panicked in the water because he or she is too tired to keep up.
It is perfectly safe for your dog to go swimming in your pool. However, your dog’s nose and eyes may be more sensitive to chlorine, so here are some precautions: Don’t allow him or her to drink pool water and always rinse him or her down with water after going in the pool. Some pool owners opt for bromine over chlorine, which may not be as harmful. If your dog has long ears, also be sure to dry them so that the dampness doesn’t cause an ear infection.
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