Sink or swim: How to keep your dog safe in the water - Dr. Marty Becker

Sink or swim: How to keep your dog safe in the water

Tuesday, Aug 11th, 2015 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Labrador Retriever with Ball

There are few better ways to beat the August heat than taking a nice relaxing dip in a local swimming spot. Our dogs can benefit from swimming, too! Not only is it great exercise, but many dogs enjoy paddling around a pool or a lake.

Of course, you always need to consider your pet’s safety. Some dogs take to water like champion swimmers while others struggle. Bulldogs, for example, are more likely to sink than swim because of the shape of their bodies, and they should always be closely monitored around water.

Even dogs with plenty of swimming experience need to be watched. If you’re diving into an ocean or river, current changes can sweep your pet (or you) away unexpectedly. It’s also important make sure a dog who is having fun doesn’t become exhausted. Even the strongest swimmers run into trouble when they get tired. If your pup seems like he’s flagging, taking him out of the deep-end and keep the frolicking to a water depth that comes up to your dog’s belly.

If you’re boating, make sure everyone has life vests – including your pets. Several companies make canine life vests that can be a life saver in a dog overboard situation.

In the dog days of summer, it’s great go for a refreshing swim with your best friend by your side. Make sure the trip is safe for people and pooches and have fun!