Summer Swimming Tips for Your Furry Friend

Weenie dog in an orange lifejacket on a beach.

With the hot summer temperatures in full swing and lakes, pools, and rivers opening up, what better way to cool down than to take your furry friend swimming! Many people and dog owners assume that their dogs can swim/doggy paddle to stay afloat. But most might have difficulty swimming back to a safe and shallow spot. Below are 6 safety swimming tips for your furry friends.

  1. Don’t Assume All Dogs Can Swim

As we stated previously, it’s safer to never assume your dog can swim. Your dog’s age, health, and breed all play a factor in how well they can swim. For example, medium-to-large size breeds like Bulldogs with water-resistant coats and webbed feet are great swimmers, while dogs with short muzzles like Pugs, deep chests and small behinds typically are not built for the water. Big waves can easily overwhelm smaller dogs such as Chihuahuas and Dachshunds.

  1. Take it Slow When Teaching Your Dog to Swim

When you first introduce anything new to your dog, you might notice a slight change in their demeanor. It’s best to proceed with caution when first introducing them to a body of water for the first time. No matter how deep or big the body of water –  you need to take it slow and convince your dog that the water isn’t a scary thing. Carefully coherence them into shallow water – with every step they take praise and encourage them. Once again, make sure your dog is comfortable with everything that is going on. Don’t force them in the water if they aren’t willing to go in themselves.

  1. Get Your Dog a Life Jacket

Your dog, especially when first learning to swim, should always wear a life jacket.  Before the big day out on the water, have your pet fitted for a life jacket. Here at The Barking Lot, we have life jackets and even staff members to help measure your dog to make sure it fits perfectly. This will help them stay afloat in case they are nervous in the water. When dogs get scared, just like humans, they start to breathe heavily and very fast which in turn makes it difficult to stay above the current.

  1. Check the Water Before Letting Your Dog Drink

If you’re planning to bring your dog swimming to a river, lake, pond, or ocean, always make sure to check that the water is moving. When the water is stagnant it can be the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Bacteria can be very harmful to dogs. Blue-Green algae is one of the most commonly found bacteria. Exposure or ingestion to this algae can often be fatal. If you spot any, steer clear from it. Keep in mind that the saltwater in the ocean can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in your dog. This can cause dehydration. This is why you should always bring some fresh drinking water to keep your dog hydrated.

  1. Keep A Watchful Eye on Your Dog For Signs of Illness

If you plan on spending most of your summer around the water, make sure to ask your vet about preventatives. As you might know, there are many different water-borne diseases that your dog can be susceptible to.  These diseases don’t show symptoms right away so, they can be tricky to diagnose. The most common water-borne diseases are leptospirosis, giardiasis, and pythiosis. Try to keep an eye on your dog after swimming and lookout for diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, decrease in appetite or fever as they may be signs of sickness.

  1. Scrub-A-Dub-Dub After Swimming

Be sure to wash your dog after your long day in the water. Depending on the length of fur, your dog’s coat can be perfect grounds for any bacteria picked up while swimming. Your dog may try to clean themselves, but try not to let them before the bath. You don’t want them ingesting any of the bacteria found on them. Also, make sure to clean out and pay close attention to your dog’s ears. Ear infections are likely always an issue for dogs that swim regularly. If you notice any foul odors coming from your pup’s ears or if they are paying more attention to them than normal, schedule a vet visit just to be safe.

If you’re looking to have a great day with your dog this summer keep these tips in mind! You can enjoy the summer with your dog safely with these simple tips brought to you by The Barking Lot. If you are looking for more information about how to keep your dog safe around water, are interested in any of our pet supplies or pet services, feel free to contact us today! Give us a call at (847) 205-3647 or stop in and visit us at 495 Lake Cook Road in Deerfield! We look forward to hearing from you!

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