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Teaching Your Dog To Swim

May 1, 2019

Do you enjoy swimming? If so, you’re in the right state! Whether you go to a pool or visit one of our beautiful beaches or springs, there’s just no better way to cool off on those sweltering summer days. Many dogs also enjoy swimming! Of course, this comes more naturally to some dogs than to others. Some breeds, like Retrievers, take to the water like furry, four-legged ducks. Others? Not so much. If your canine buddy doesn’t know how to swim, you may want to consider teaching him. Here, a Southside, FL vet discusses teaching Fido to swim.

Should Fido Swim?

Swimming can be great for both people and pups. As you may know, swimming offers a great, no-impact workout. This is particularly helpful for large breeds and senior dogs, who need exercises that won’t put a lot of stress on their bones and joints. That said, swimming isn’t right for all dogs. Small breeds, for example, can be over their heads in pretty shallow water. They also tire out quickly on those little legs. Brachycephalic pups are also not good swimmers. Because of how their air passages are shaped, these cute pooches lose their breath very easily, and can become exhausted after just a few minutes of swimming. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Don’t just throw Fido into the water and expect him to figure it out. He might manage the doggy paddle, but he may also be absolutely terrified of the water after. Instead, gently support your pet as he is learning, and encourage him with compliments and toys. After he gets out of the water, offer him a yummy treat.

Pool Safety

Always put your pet’s safety first. We recommend keeping your pool fenced when it’s not in use, especially if you use a pool cover. Many dogs mistake pool covers for solid surfaces, and try to walk on them. This can be very dangerous. Also, make sure Fido knows where the stairs are. This is very important! You want to make sure that your canine pal can get out of the pool if he ever falls in. Spend some time training your pup, and make sure he remembers. You may also want to mark the stairs with a landmark, like a potted tree.

Please feel free to call us, your Lakewood Jacksonville, FL vet clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!