Can your dog swim? Summer is upon us! We’re going to go through some tips and facts on how to find out if your dog can swim or take a dip in the pool. Some dog breeds are water lovers and some aren’t. There are a few things you need to take into consideration before testing this out! 

Benefits of Dog Swimming

  • Great exercise
  • Keeps your dog fit
  • Great activity to tire your dog out


Observe your dog’s behavior in water

One way to find out if your dog is great in water is how they react around it. Some dogs love it! They can jump in a pool of water or not have a problem with showers. Others would run away from it or show fear. 

If you take your dog to a lake or any body of water, you’ll see they tippy toe around the water. Dogs that seem like they are about to jump in the water are most likely to swim. But this is not true all the time— this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll know how to swim. 


Check your dog’s breed

Some breeds are specifically trained or bred for swimming. They possess physical traits specifically for swimming. A few examples would be: Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Newfoundlands. These breeds have webbed paws which makes them naturally good swimmers. 

Although these breeds are great for swimming, it doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will be able to or would know how to swim. 


Gradually introduce your dog to water

Don’t just drop your dog in the lake and see if they can swim! Slowly introduce your dog to water. Maybe start off with a kiddie or doggy pool at home in your backyard. Let your dog explore and findout for himself how he likes the pool. 


Body Structure

  • Low Body Fat Percentage
  • Strong Muscle Build
  • Long Limbs

Dogs with these traits tend to have a better buoyancy and maneuverability in the water. Dogs with short limbs and have stocky build have a more challenging time swimming. Generally they might just sink to the bottom. 

Pro Tip: For dogs that can’t swim or are too short and stocky to swim, get them a vest! This will help them to waddle and float around (and not worry about them sinking to the bottom). 


Consult with a professional 

Talk to a professional about your goals about your dog swimming and his breed. Work with a hydrotherapist who specializes in dog swimming techniques. 


Be aware of your dog’s ears

Most people overlook this last bit but make sure you’re aware of your dog’s ears and the impact of swimming. Dogs with floppy ears such as  Cocker Spaniels or Basset Hounds are more prone to ear infection caused by water. To prevent this, you can also use swim caps for dogs!