Before taking your dog to go swimming, ask yourself a simple question: can your pooch swim? It’s a common misconception that all dogs are great swimmers! Some canines—especially those with short, stout statures—aren’t great swimmers and won’t be comfortable in the water at all. To be safe, have a “test run” in a kiddie pool or the bathtub before taking your dog to swim in a larger body of water.
It’s always best to provide support for your dog while he’s swimming, even if he’s comfortable in the water. Remember: your pet can’t touch the bottom in most areas of a pool, lake, pond, or the ocean! For safety, venture into the water with your dog. This is particularly important in the ocean, where currents can easily sweep your dog far out from shore; a dog can exhaust themselves trying to swim back!
You don’t want your dog to drink salty ocean water or heavily chlorinated pool water, as it can dry out the mouth, irritate the throat and stomach, and even make your pet sick. The same goes for swimming in ponds, lakes, rivers, or streams—these water sources can be contaminated with bacteria, microorganisms, and other things that you don’t want your dog swallowing. Don’t allow your pet to drink while he’s swimming, and bring along a thermos of cool, fresh water just for Fido to drink from.
If your dog could use a little help in the water, try floatation devices. They’re available at many pet supply stores and certain retail outlets, and they’ll help your pooch stay afloat. Floatation devices are perfect for puppies or dogs learning how to swim!
After your dog’s swimming session has ended, make sure to rinse out the coat thoroughly with fresh water from the garden hose or bathtub. Leaving salt water, chlorine, or sand in the coat will dry out and irritate the skin.
Want to learn more about water and swimming safety for dogs? Contact your Roanoke, VA animal hospital.
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