Teaching Your Dog To Swim

Do you enjoy swimming? It can be great to cool off on a hot summer day by going for a dip. Many dogs also like the water. However, swimming doesn’t come naturally to all of our canine companions. If your furry buddy doesn’t know how to swim, we strongly advise teaching him. A Murrieta, CA vet offers tips on how to do that below.

Should Fido Swim?

Some breeds, like Retrievers, learn to swim with little or no prompting. Other dogs will immediately sink in water over their heads. Small breeds, pooches with short legs, and brachycephalic pups, like Bulldogs, are generally not well-suited to swimming. If Fido falls into one of these categories, you may just want to get him a kiddie pool to splash around in. And, while we always recommend putting lifejackets on dogs, this is an absolute must with pups that aren’t good swimmers.

Lesson Time

Take Fido to a lake or pool, and head for the shallow area. If possible, avoid going when it’s crowded. It will be helpful for you to work without distractions. You may want to bring some toys with you to make it fun for Fido. Don’t just throw your furry pal into the water: this may just scare him. Start by letting him get used to having his paws wet. Then go out a little deeper. Hold your pooch gently to support him while he’s getting the hang of it. When you get out of the water, offer praise and toys, and perhaps a yummy treat.


Never leave your furry friend alone near the water, even for a minute. It’s also worth your while to work on some doggy obedience training while you are in or near the water. Make sure your pet will come when you call, regardless of whether he has to swim or run. Some dogs are very obedient on land, but will ignore commands when swimming. This can be pretty dangerous if Fido decides to try and swim in the wrong direction! Also, if you go to a pool, make sure that your canine pal knows where the stairs are. This is extremely important! If your pup falls in, you want to make sure he can get out again.

Please call us, your Murrieta, CA vet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re dedicated to offering great care!

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