Published By: Darielle Britto

What to consider before taking your dog for a swim

Here are tips to have fun with your dog in the water and stay safe

Exploring aquatic adventures with your canine companion adds an extra layer of enjoyment to outdoor activities. Whether you are headed to a lake, pool, or beach, introducing your dog to the water can create memorable experiences. Some dogs take to swimming naturally, while other dog might jump into the water to simply be next to their owner’s side. If you are navigating the waters with your furry friend for the first time, it can be both thrilling and challenging. To ensure a delightful and safe water adventure for you and your dog, consider the following tips.

Don’t force your dog to swim

Certain dogs may not possess natural swimming abilities and may struggle to keep their heads above water. It is crucial never to force your canine companion into the water against their will. Instead, test the waters, literally, in a serene and shallow location. Ensure the area is devoid of hazards such as sharp rocks or broken glass. The water temperature should be refreshing, and outdoor conditions should be no less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Teach your dog how to swim

Engage your dog in water activities by introducing enticing toys and balls designed for aquatic play. Start by tossing them just a few feet away. Over time and as your dog starts to build confidence in the water, gradually extend the throwing distance. Prioritize your dog's comfort, and exercise patience as they navigate and enjoy this novel aquatic experience.

Take precaution

It is essential to provide you dog with access to steps, a non-slip ramp, or a doggie ladder. Having a quick exit strategy can be a lifesaver since dogs can't verbally communicate when they are ready to return to solid ground. If you have a pool at home, take precautions by fencing it off to prevent unsupervised swims, especially if your dog is not wearing a life jacket. Ensure the fence is sufficiently tall to avoid any impulsive leaps. Vigilance is key. Keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times, as some enthusiastic water-loving dogs may outpace you and venture into the waves with remarkable speed.

Make time for naps

Your canine companion might indulge in play until exhaustion sets in while swimming or risk overheating in warm water on a hot day. It becomes your responsibility to intervene, providing a respite from the excitement to ensure they get much-needed rest. Create a shaded area, encourage them to nap, and offer refreshing water. After a rejuvenating break, send them back into the action well-rested and prepared to dive back into playful antics.

Take care of their skin before and after swimming

Protect your dog from the sun's harmful rays by applying pet sunscreen to prevent distressing sunburn. After all the water activity fun, attend to their coats promptly. Rinse them off without delay to prevent chlorine, salt, and other potential irritants from drying in their fur, which could lead to skin issues later on.

Use a life vest

Equipping your dog with a life vest is essential for their safety while learning to swim. Opt for a vest designed for pets, featuring a handle for easy retrieval in the water. Introduce the vest gradually. Familiarize them with the life vest by putting it on them for five minutes everyday and progressively increasing the duration before introducing them to swimming. Even if your dog becomes an excellent swimmer, continue using the vest for added safety. In unforeseen situations like entanglement in seaweed or encountering unpredictable currents, the vest can be a literal lifesaver.