Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Summer is just around the corner! Many of you may spend quite a bit of time at the beach or at pools over the coming months. A lot of our canine buddies also enjoy swimming. However, not all dogs are natural swimmers. Read on as a Cameron Park, CA vet offers some tips on teaching Fido how to swim.

Should Fido Swim?

While swimming can be a great doggy workout, it isn’t really right for every pooch. Some dogs, such as brachycephalic pups, get winded very quickly, and should never be encouraged to swim. Many smaller breeds also aren’t great swimmers. It’s very easy for these little guys to get tired or swept away. Plus, they are over their heads in quite shallow water! Ask your vet if swimming is right for your four-legged pal. If the answer is no, just let Fido splash around in a kiddie pool, or play in the spray from a hose or sprinkler.

Getting Started

Ideally, you’ll want to go somewhere that Fido can just walk into the water. At first, carry your pup into the water, and support his weight as he is learning. It’s not a bad idea to put a doggy lifejacket on your pet, at least at first. Encourage him with compliments and praise. Treats should come later, when your furry friend has all four paws on dry land again.


In general, you’ll want to use the same rules for doggy pool safety as you would with a toddler. First and foremost, never leave your dog unattended by the water, even just for a few moments. If you have a pool, make sure that your canine friend knows exactly where the stairs are. Spend some time on this training! Finally, keep pools gated off when they aren’t being used.


Make sure that your pup obeys basic obedience commands, like Sit, Stay, and Come. This is very important! You want to be able to stop Fido from swimming out into deep water, or exploring dangerous areas.


Dogs can get hot and tired very quickly in summer. Make sure you always have fresh water available for Fido. Try not to let him drink water from pools, ponds, or rivers, as the water may not be safe.

Please feel free to contact us, your Cameron Park, CA vet clinic, anytime. We are here to help!

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