How to “Water-Proof” Your Dog

Safely enjoy the pool, lake or ocean with your dog.

Prevent Drowning

You may assume all dogs are born knowing how to swim. Right? But, in reality, they don’t naturally know how to swim. Sure, they will “dog paddle” or instinctively tread water if they fall in, but it is not the same as swimming. They need to get comfortable in the water and learn how to actually move through the water.

But before you even start swimming lessons, it is crucial that your dog learns to obey you (on land!) so when you go into the water, he will not put himself at risk through defiance or ignoring your commands. There is an abundance of helpful instruction on the internet or you can send your dog to classes. The earlier the better!

dog, siberian husky, dog swimming

Water Safety Habits

Some breeds are more adapted to water than other. Know your dog and learn about the general strengths and weaknesses of your breed. Breeds with short noses (including Boston terriers, English bulldogs and pugs are not well-suited for swimming and may be better off staying out of the water.

  • Never toss a dog into water.
  • A dog should never be unattended around water (including your swimming pool).
  • If you have a pool, practice with your dog exiting by the steps. He should know how to get out if he accidentally falls in.
  • Purchase a life vest for your dog.
  • Dog can tire while swimming just like people. Make sure to take frequent breaks and watch your dog for signs of fatigue.

More Water Tips

  • Give your dog a rinse after swimming in chlorine or salt water and dray their tender ears afterward. This helps prevent infection
  • Keep fresh water available for your pet so they don’t drink lake or river water. Even chlorinated or salty water is not good for your dog. Keep them well hydrated, especially when they are in the water.
  • Playing catch and tag in shallow water is a great way to cool off on hot days and can be a great introduction to the water for young or timid dogs.