Dog Swimming: Keeping Your Dog Safe in the Water


With summer just around the corner, it’s time once again to start thinking about keeping your dog safe when swimming. Canine water safety is important, and there are several tips and rules you should keep in mind when it comes to keeping your dog safe in the water.

dog swimming

Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water

In this article, you’ll find a quick but thorough list to help you get started. You can use this information to figure out how best to prepare for swimming trips with your dog, and you can also use it to determine what questions you may have for your vet before you go, too. Listed below are tips to follow:

Stay in Shallow Water

Your dog will have a better time swimming in shallower water, and you won’t have to worry as much about unseen riptides, either. Don’t let your dog swim out too far from the shore in natural bodies of water.

Even in freshwater, undercurrents can become very strong and can be deadly if your dog gets caught up in them. Avoid these risks altogether by sticking close to shore and saving the deep water experiences for swimming pools and other safer environments.

Don’t Drink the Water

Dogs really shouldn’t be drinking pool water or natural water sources, but it is especially important to keep them from drinking ocean water. It is normal for dogs to swallow a little bit of ocean water while swimming, just like humans do, but you should not encourage your dog to drink this type of water.

Instead, bring along enough fresh, clean, cool water that you can entice your dog to drink this instead. And remember to always stay hydrated—you and your dog both! The more you keep yourself and your pet hydrated when swimming, the healthier and safer you both will be.

Start on a Leash

If you’ve never taken your dog swimming before, you should consider starting with her on a leash. Although it can be dangerous to pull a dog out of the water by a leash, this is typically a better alternative than letting her sink (or possibly swim away from you).

If you are concerned about possibly hurting your dog with a leash in the water, try using a vest with a built-in handle instead. These handles are mounted on the back of dog swimming harnesses and can make it easier for you to lift your pet out of the water if necessary.

Avoid Very Cold Water

If the water is very cold, or if the temperatures outside are cooler than you would feel comfortable swimming, then don’t let your dog go swimming either. Swimming in cold water or cool air can cause hypothermia very quickly, and this condition can be life-threatening in some instances.

Test the temperature of the water yourself before letting your dog go swimming. While your dog may be comfortable at first, she may get cold throughout the day, so keep an eye on this risk as well. Always stop before your dog becomes affected by the cold.

Rinse Off

After your dog has been swimming, rinse her fur and skin thoroughly. Ideally, she should get a bath after a swim, but this may not always be practical; if not, a rinse is better than nothing. Remember that pools contain chlorine and natural bodies of water contain bacteria, so your dog needs a rinse no matter where she’s been swimming.

While rinsing her, check for ticks, bites, and other potential issues that could be hidden under her fur. If you notice any concerning symptoms on her skin, keep an eye on them for a day or two, and go to the vet if the problem persists or worsens.

Clean Your Dog’s Ears

It is particularly important to remember to clean your dog’s ears after swimming or getting bathed using an ear cleansing solution made for pets. These solutions dry quickly after application and will help prevent moisture from accumulating inside your dog’s ears and, in turn, help prevent possible ear infections from occurring.

Never Leave Your Pet Unattended

Your dog is only safe in the water as long as you’re keeping an eye on her. Never, under any circumstances, leave your pet unattended in any body of water. Whether your dog is swimming in your backyard pool or enjoying a romp in the ocean, she needs human care and attention to help her stay safe. By keeping an eye on your dog in the water, you can respond quickly if something should go wrong.

Contact Orlando Vets for More Information About Dog Swimming

As you can see, it isn’t too difficult to keep your dog safe in the water. However, you should prepare for the risks and hazards associated with swimming so you can provide the safest possible experience for your dog.

If you have any further questions about dog swimming or your individual dog’s health and wellness needs, contact Orlando Vets by calling one of our locations. Our veterinarians can help when it comes to caring for your dog, and can also let you know which local risks to be on the lookout for when swimming with your pet, too.

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