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Swimming Lessons for Dogs

June 1, 2021

Does your dog like the water? Or is Fido a bit nervous around pools and lakes? No matter which end of the spectrum your pooch falls into, it’s good for him to at least know how to do the doggy paddle. In this article, a Spring Hill, TN vet offers some suggestions on teaching your canine buddy to swim. 

Start Slow

People sometimes toss their pets into the water, under the assumption that they’ll sort out the doggy paddle. This is a huge mistake! Fido might figure out how to stay afloat, but he could also get into serious trouble. Plus, he could end up with a serious fear of the water.

 Support The Pup

When you are first teaching your furry pal how to swim, support his weight. You’ll want to start out in shallow water. Remember, Fido will be over his head in very shallow water.

Get Safety Devices

Get your canine pal a doggy lifejacket, and have him wear it as he’s getting used to the water. Fido should have his safety jacket on any time you bring him around deep water.

Be Encouraging

When teaching your pooch anything, it’s always important to focus on the positive. Encourage Fido with lots of compliments, and let him know he’s being a Good Boy . Save the treats and ear scritches for later, when your canine friend has all four feet on the ground.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

Even if Fido seems to be learning quickly, don’t assume that he’s safe near water. In fact, no matter how good of a swimmer your pooch is, never let him out of your sight when he’s near water. Tragedy can happen in just a few minutes!

Be Realistic

Some dogs are natural swimmers, and take to water like furry, barking ducks. Others never really get the hang of it, and are always uncomfortable near the water. Your four-legged pal’s physical build will also play a role in how good of a swimmer he is. Small dogs, brachycephalic pups, and very large dogs just aren’t good swimmers, and are better off splashing around in kiddie pools. Senior dogs can benefit from swimming, but they can also get tired out very quickly. Ask your vet for specific advice on this.

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Spring Hill, TN veterinary clinic, anytime!

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