Can Dogs Swim?

can dogs swim

Owning a dog often means bringing the pup to a lot of places. If your family is the kind to take trips to the lake in the summer or a swimming pool, you might bring your dog along. Having your dog swimming with you is an excellent way for you and your pup to bond. 

But before bringing your dog to the beach or the resort, you may be wondering: “Can dogs swim?” The answer may surprise you! Dogs are similar to humans in their abilities to swim.

As an owner, it can also be easy to teach your dog to swim. Check out our quick dog swimming guide. 

Can All Dogs Swim Naturally?

There are a lot of dogs that are natural swimmers. These breeds of dogs are like babies and know exactly what to do in the water. Taking your dog to the pool can be a fun and refreshing way for them to exercise.

However, it’s critical to be aware that not all dogs like swimming. There are numerous breeds of dogs that cannot swim naturally. 

You also need to keep in mind that it will be a lot more difficult to bring an older, lazier (like their owners) pup to the water. Let’s be realistic. 

What Dogs Can’t Swim?

Knowing which breeds can and cannot swim naturally is vital before you start introducing your dog to the water. Even if your dog can’t swim, there are still steps that you can take to bring your dog to the lake with you. But dog breeds may require different methods. Some dogs may even need their life vest or life jacket.

A special kind of life vest or life jacket works for a dog that can’t swim.

Most of the dog breeds that cannot swim typically share similar characteristics. While these characteristics may vary, dogs with short legs and long or stocky body types are often not good at swimming.

Take a bulldog, for example. The way that a bulldog’s weight distributes across its body can make it virtually impossible for it to swim. Pugs will have the same problem when trying to swim. 

Shih Tzus are another dog breed that cannot swim naturally, due to their size. However, the Shih Tzu is not too heavy, but too small to swim successfully. Their legs are too small to swim properly, and their small noses are at risk of submerging underwater.

What Dogs Can Swim?

On the flip side of the coin, many dog breeds can swim. Hunting dogs are good swimmers, such as the Labrador Retriever (which is great news since swimming is a great way to help your dog shed some weight). Many dogs, such as the Irish Water Spaniel, are bred to be in water frequently. As a result, their fur grows in a water-repellent pattern. 

In general, dogs with a medium build and a longer snout are likely to know how to swim in the water. If they don’t, they can easily learn. 

How to Include Your Dog in the Water

If your dog can’t swim, there is no need to worry. You can still bring your canine companion to the lake with you this summer. But you will need to consider the needs and safety of your dog.

How to Teach a Dog to Swim

When you first start teaching your dog to swim, you will want to strap them in a life vest or life jacket. A doggy life vest will help keep your dog safe and afloat during the training process.

You will want to make sure that wherever you are teaching your dog, that it is quiet. You won’t get your dog swimming if there are too many distractions.

Slowly introduce your dog to the water. Make sure that the water is clean, preferably a personal swimming pool or a bathtub.

Depending on the breed, your pup may start to doggy paddle. Or, they may avoid the water. Make sure that your pet knows that you are right behind or beside them through the process.

As you are introducing your dog to the water, try and keep a hold on the dog’s stomach. Making the pup feel secure is the best way to teach dogs to swim or anything for that matter. While you are holding the dog’s stomach, they should get the hang of being in the water.

Try to keep encouraging your pup to doggy paddle. Once they learn that movement will help them swim, it’s a pretty easy process from there. Dogs with short legs may struggle more at first.

By being patient and safe, you can get your dog swimming in no time!

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