Safely Swimming With Your Dog
Summer is a fantastic time to go outdoors and experience the beautiful, warm weather. While everyone enjoys summer, dog owners love it a little bit extra because they get to get out and get active with their best friends! Beach or lake trips with the dog define many people’s summers, and it’s not surprising why that is. Swimming with your dog is a special treat.
However, with this fun experience comes some responsibility. Dogs may be strong swimmers that (mostly) love the water, but unpredictable things can happen. When you go swimming with your dog, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider.
Mother nature isn’t something you want to mess with—especially when the well-being of your best friend comes into play! So, here are four helpful tips for safe swimming with your dog.
1. Teach Your Dog to Swim
The first step towards safe swimming is, of course, teaching your dog to swim! Many dogs can naturally paddle and keep themselves afloat for a while, but this isn’t necessarily “swimming.” So, if you want to take your dog swimming for the first time, a swimming lesson is in order!
When teaching a dog to swim, you want to start slow and easy. First, make sure your dog is comfortable with water in general. Take him into the shallow end of a pool and introduce him to the water. Give your dog a lot of praise as they start to get used to the water and enter it themselves.
Once your dog is comfortable with water, bring them deeper until they start to paddle. Hold your arms underneath your dog to support him and encourage him to use both his front and back paws to paddle.
After he gets comfortable with swimming, make sure that your dog knows how to get out of a body of water with sides, such as a pool. It may take a while for your dog to get entirely comfortable, but spending the time to make sure that your dog is a strong swimmer is essential for their safety.
2. Get Your Dog a Life Jacket
Believe it or not, there are life jackets especially crafted for dogs! These life jackets are designed to keep a dog floating on top of a body of water just like human life jackets do. Adding one of these to your dog’s summer supplies collection is a great way to ensure his safety.
There are many dog life jackets available, meaning that you should be able to find one that best suits your pooch. Some of the most important measurements for your dog that you’ll want to be sure of are his chest, neck, and stomach. Your dog’s life jacket should fit very snug without actually being uncomfortable.
A poorly-fitting life jacket can be dangerous for a dog, as it can get in the way of their paddling, pinch them, or fall off! A well-fitting life jacket, on the other hand, will ensure that your dog stays above water even if he’s not paddling.
However, just because a life jacket will keep a dog above water doesn’t mean that they can be left alone.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Dog
No matter how strong of a swimmer your dog is, and even if he has the best life jacket available, you should never take your eyes off of your swimming dog. Your pooch may be a great swimmer, but nature is unpredictable, and something terrible could happen in a minute or two that you look away from your dog.
A significant aspect of keeping an eye on your dog is making sure that he doesn’t venture too far away. You want him to stay relatively close to you in case he becomes distressed and needs you to rescue him. Dogs that are way out in a lake or ocean can be hard to reach in an acceptable time.
Even if your dog is swimming close to the shore, if you’re not watching him you can’t help him out if something happens. Watching your dog helps you catch any signs of distress before things get bad. Is your dog fighting to stay above the water? Maybe he’s entirely unresponsive? Either way, you should be able to catch these problems when they happen and quickly deal with them.
4. Make Sure Your Dog Is Feeling Well
Just like humans, dogs shouldn’t swim when they’re not feeling well. Swimming while sick is not a good idea because sick creatures generally have a lot less energy, and swimming is a very intensive activity. If a dog goes swimming and doesn’t have a lot of energy, there’s a good chance that he’ll find himself struggling to stay above the water.
Before you go swimming with your dog, you’ll want to check on the status of his. Make sure that he’s been eating properly, sleeping long enough, and acting like his usual energetic self. If you’ve owned your pup for a while, you should easily be able to tell when something is off with him.
If you notice that your dog has been acting strangely, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t force your dog to go swimming if he doesn’t seem 100% up to it. Sure, swimming with your dog is fun, but it’s never worth risking the life of your best friend.
“4 Tips For Safely Swimming With Your Dog”
Guest Author: Zach David is a life-long pet owner and enthusiast. He was born into a family with a dog named Murphy, and since then has owned several other dogs, mice, ferrets, fish, geckos, and a cat. This experience has given him the knowledge necessary to help others become excellent pet owners on his website, Beyond the Treat, with detailed gear, housing, and feeding guides for all pets.
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