Swimming can be an exciting and enjoyable way to stay cool during the summer, for you and your dog. Many dogs love the water and learn to swim quickly, but swimming can be dangerous for dogs, just like for humans, so it is important to take safety precautions to keep everyone safe this summer.
- If you do a lot of swimming or water activities with your dog, consider buying them a life jacket. Dogs can quickly become cramped or tired while swimming, putting them at risk of drowning. Becoming certified in dog first aid, including CPR, could also be an excellent way to ensure your dog’s safety.
- Never leave dogs unattended while swimming. If you have a pool in your yard, fence it off or always monitor your dog while they are outside.
- If you are unsure of your dog’s swimming ability, spend some time practicing swimming in a shallow area, just like you would when teaching a human to swim. You can support them at their torso if they seem to be struggling. Some dogs start by only using their front legs to paddle. Supporting them up can help teach them how to stay afloat and encourage them to use all of their legs.
- Work on training a recall while in the water so that you can prevent your dog from swimming too far away from you. This can help keep them from getting caught in a current, or help in directing them to the shallow end of a pool. Use the recall to show them where stairs or ramps are so they know how to get out of the water.
- Certain breeds enjoy swimming more than others. Brachycephalic dogs or dogs with short legs can have an especially hard time swimming. Never force a dog to swim or throw them into a pool. If you have a dog who is not good at swimming, providing them a kiddy pool can be a great way to keep them cool without putting them at risk of drowning.