Swimming is great exercise for dogs as well as humans. On a vacation to a beach or lake, it can be tempting to let your dog paddle around instead of the usual walk. However, water can be just as dangerous to dogs as it is to people. Read on for some tips on letting your dog enjoy the water safely.
The first thing to remember is that dogs are not necessarily good swimmers. While some dogs can swim very well, and some breeds are known for swimming capabilities, that does not mean your individual dog is great at swimming. Just like in humans, swimming usually takes a little practice and trial and error for dogs. If your dog has never seen water before, do not assume that they will be able to keep afloat. Try your dog in shallow, safe water under supervision first.
Also remember that rescuing a panicking dog from drowning can be a difficult task. Keep in mind that a dog that is heavy to carry on land will be entirely unmanageable when you are trying to swim and drag them at the same time. If you think your dog is big enough to fight out of your grip in a panic, it might be best to leave them on the shore.
When your dog is swimming, always stay close. Even dogs that are very strong swimmers will tire out quickly. Dogs do not conserve energy like humans do in the water, by floating or treading water. They swim like they are sprinting on land, until they start to feel tired. If your dog is too far away when they tire out, they could very quickly move from swimming to drowning. Keep them close by, and keep an eye out for signs that they are running out of energy. Keep in mind that dogs can also get muscle cramps just like humans, which could spell serious trouble in a heartbeat.
Many dogs love the water, and a good swim is fantastic exercise for them. However, before letting your dog go swimming, you need to consider these tips to keep them from getting into trouble. Dogs may not instinctively be able to handle the water, and if they are too big for you to handle and panic, they can end up drowning. Let your dog try out a shallow pool before letting them into anything deeper, and keep them close by!