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Teaching Your Dog To Swim

June 01, 2023

Here in Florida, we get to enjoy swimming for most—if not all—of the year, though of course it’s more popular in summertime. It’s great to be able to hop into a pool to cool off after a long day at work! Many of our canine pals also enjoy swimming. However, not all dogs are naturals at this. A Seminole, FL vet offers advice on teaching Fido how to swim in this article.

Consult Your Vet

Before starting your canine friend’s swim lessons, make sure that he’s a good candidate for swimming. Some pups, such as brachycephalic dogs, very large dogs, seniors, toy breeds, and pooches with mobility issues aren’t good candidates. If Fido falls into any of these categories, let him splash around in a kiddie pool. Ask your vet for advice on this.

Get A Doggy Lifejacket

Your canine companion should have a good doggy lifejacket. Choose one that’s brightly colored, fits well, and has a handle. If Fido hasn’t worn his before, let him get used to it before you bring him to the water.

Choose A Great Spot

Ideally, you’ll want to pick a place with a shallow slope, so your furry friend can easily get in and out of the water. Dog-friendly beaches are often good spots. Just avoid places with heavy wakes or strong currents.

Take It Slow

This is where your furry pal’s personality will come into play. Some pooches are natural swimmers. Golden Retrievers, for example, usually pick it up pretty quickly. Others? Not so much. Coax Fido into the water, and encourage him with praise. You’ll want to support him as he gets the hang of things. As he gets better, you can start gradually working in deeper water. Never throw your pup into water: even if he does figure out the doggy paddle, he may be traumatized by the experience.


No matter how good a swimmer your furry buddy is, you’ll need to be extra vigilant any time he’s around the water. Never leave Fido alone near water, regardless of whether it’s a pool or beach. In general, use the same safety rules as you would with a toddler. You’ll also need to make sure your pet doesn’t drink salty or chlorinated water.

As your Seminole, FL animal clinic, we are always happy to offer tips and advice. Please feel free to contact us anytime.

Posted in Dog Care