Blog Post

Mar 7 | Brian Heuring

Can all dogs swim?

The sun is blazing and your family is cooling off in your backyard pool or local lake. It seems natural to call the family dog over and encourage him to get in and swim. However, can all dogs swim? Do they even like it? There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer to this question, but I would like to help you figure it out before your family pet dives in head-first.

Your dog’s ability to swim could depend on its body type. Bulldogs love to skate- board, but their low center of gravity often makes swimming tricky. Equally, their flat faces and short legs cause some challenges in the water. Often, you will see this breed wearing doggie life vests.

Pit bull terriers usually enjoy swimming, but mon- itor them at all times as well. Many pit bull rescue groups report watching these dogs tiring out easily in water.

Most often, pugs cannot swim well. Their face shape allows water to get into their noses easily, causing breathing problems. Also, many short-legged breeds like corgis and daschunds could have trouble staying above the surface.

Keep in mind cold water can cause muscle strain or an injury called “cold tail.” Also, do not let your dog drink from lakes, ponds, pools or the ocean. The chemicals and algae could be detrimental to their health.

The best way to know if your dog enjoys swimming is to ease it into the water first. Try putting a favorite toy in the water and coax- ing them in. Stay by his or her side. If your dog is panting heavily and seems to be scared, chances are he or she is instinctively in a ‘lifesaving’ doggie paddle mode and not really enjoy- ing the experience.

On the flip side, many dog breeds are natural born swimmers. You can even tell by their names: Retrievers, Portugese Water Dogs, Otterhounds and so on. Above all, I haven’t met a dog yet who doesn’t like to run through a sprinkler or chew on ice to cool down!
I hope you each have a great summer with your furry friends.