Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Summer is almost here! As the weather heats up, many of us will be heading for pools and beaches to cool off. Our canine pals also enjoy going for a dip on a hot day. However, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Some pooches need to be taught how to stay afloat. If your pet can’t swim, you may want to give Fido swimming lessons. An Indianapolis, IN vet discusses how to do that in this article.

Should Fido Swim?

Swimming isn’t the best option for every pup. Brachycephalic dogs, like pugs, get winded very easily, and can get into trouble fast. Small pooches also tire out quickly, as can large breeds and senior dogs. Fido’s personality will also have an effect on whether or not he is a good swimmer. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.


If you take Fido to a lake or beach, keep a close eye on your canine companion. Even shallow water can be very dangerous for Man’s Best Friend! Fido could easily get swept off by a strong current, or swim out too far and exhaust himself. Never leave your pet unattended near water.

Getting Fido Started

Never throw your pup into the water. Fido may figure out the doggy paddle, but he may very well be terrified of water afterwards. Instead, gently support your dog as he is learning to swim. Pet and praise your pooch, and immediately help him out if he seems to be struggling. Once your four-legged buddy has the basics of swimming down, work on doggy obedience in and near the water. It’s very important to make sure your canine friend will still come when you call him.

Pool Safety

If you have a pool, take a few precautions to keep your furry buddy safe. Make sure Fido knows where the stairs are, so he can get out again if he falls in. You may want to mark the exit with a visible marker, like a potted tree. We also recommend using baby gates and fences around your pool. This is especially important in winter, or whenever the pool is covered. Dogs don’t always realize that those covers are not solid surfaces. Don’t take a chance on your beloved pet falling in!

Please contact us, your Indianapolis, IN animal clinic, for all your dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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