Swimming is a great way to cool down on a hot summer’s day. It is also an easy way to exercise your dog. But before you and your dog head out for a day’s fun near the water, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Some breeds are much better swimmers than others. Dogs with flat faces can have trouble breathing while swimming and others such as bulldogs and basset hounds don't have a body conformation suitable for swimming.
Even the strongest swimmers can sometimes get into trouble.
Here are some tips for taking your dog swimming safely.
Check The Area Thoroughly
Water is dangerous. Dogs do drown. Before you or your dog enter the water have a good look round. Beaches and rivers can both have dangerous currents. Check the surface of the water for tell-tale ripples. They could be an indication of a current beneath. Check for informative signs erected by the by the local authorities which could warn you of any dangers.
Rivers and lakes can have submerged trees or other objects which could present a hazard.
There can be submerged rocks in beach areas.
At various times of the year creatures such as jellyfish can be present in the water at beaches.
Some Dogs Are Better Swimmers Than Others
There is a general assumption that dogs are good swimmers. Some breeds are. Poodles and many of the spaniel or retriever type dogs, including the Labrador, are excellent swimmers. But even these breeds can become tired and get into trouble. Especially if they are old or overweight.
If your dog hasn't been to the water before, take it easy. Find some shallow water where there is a gradual increase in depth. Start by just wading backwards and forwards with your dog. If he seems confident, you can gradually move to deeper water. As you move out further, he will normally start swimming if he feels confident. Otherwise he might just stand where he is. It may take a couple of visits to get him swimming naturally.
Get Your Dog A Life Vest
If you have a dog that finds it difficult to stay afloat, consider giving him a life vest. This will help you feel more relaxed when is around the water.
You may be taking part in a water related activity which is not actually swimming. This could be boating, fishing or one of the many other things we do at the coast or riverbank.
If your dog accidentally falls into the water from a boat or a pier, it may take a little while to get him out. Even if he panics, he has a good chance of staying afloat until you get to him.
Keep An Eye On Your Dog
Dogs are natural explorers and adventurers. When you take him to a new place there will be lots of things for him to check out. As he follows his nose, he could move further and further away from you. He could possibly venture into the water in pursuit of a water bird or some other prize and you would have no idea where he is. If he gets into trouble under these circumstances it could lead to tragedy
When the swimming is over, give your dog a good soaking in clean fresh water. Even if this is when you get home
Dogs can be prone to ear infections water borne illnesses. Check his ears and keep an eye on him for a few days after the outing.