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Swimming tips for dogs

Many dogs like nothing better than a doggy paddle and these top tips will help to ensure your dog has fun and stays safe in the water.

Introducing your dog to water

If your dog has never been in the water before, they will need to learn to swim. When they take their first dip, find a shallow area of water for them to investigate. Allow your dog to go into the water in their own time or gently tempt them into the water by throwing a stick in for them to retrieve.

Dog life jacket

When your dog is learning to swim, it can be a good idea to put a life jacket on them. Life jackets made specifically for dogs are available and can make your pooch feel more confident in the early stages.

Don’t let them drink it

Train your dog not to drink the water when they are swimming. Pond or lake water could contain parasites that could make your dog unwell, while the high salt content in sea water might affect your dog’s kidneys if they drink it. Take some drinking water with you on the swimming trip so that your dog can stay hydrated with fresh water.

Clean your dog’s ears

Dogs can easily pick up ear infections if they go swimming regularly. Clean your dog’s ears thoroughly after they’ve been for a swim and if you notice any signs of infection, such as your dog scratching or shaking its head or there is a bad smell coming from their ears then take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Prevent hypothermia

In cooler weather, you will need to be mindful of hypothermia if your dog spends too much time in cold water. After a cold swim, wrap your dog in a warm towel and move them to a warm location, such as your car, as quickly as possible.

Not all dogs are swimmers

Not all dogs will enjoy, or even be able to swim. Dog breeds with short legs will struggle and some dogs just won’t like getting wet. If your dog isn’t keen, don’t force them, and never throw your dog into the water. You may need to find a different activity they enjoy or find different ways they can enjoy playing with water.

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