Dog exercise: swimming and its dangers!

Narrated from: Dog Sports

Every dog needs to exercise, and few sports are more fun and more beneficial than swimming.

Dogs are generally good at swimming: after all, the “dog-paddle” is not named after Alexander Dog!

Yet there are some dangers associated with swimming you should be aware of.

The dog

Well, we have already mentioned the famous dog swimming style. Surprisingly though, not all dogs can dog-paddle. Some dog breeds just don’t have it in them. Basset hounds, bulldogs, dachshunds, pugs, corgis, Scottish and Boston terriers and greyhounds can’t learn to swim, or only swim with great reluctance and a lot of difficulty.

Many dogs have to be taught to swim before they can paddle. You have to be supportive, as if you are dealing with a child. Sometimes it is not a question of breed, but of individual character. Just as some people are afraid of the water, your dog might be too.

Also, you should check if swimming presents a specific danger to your dog’s breed. A Maltese Terrier, for instance, will swim willingly, but when it grows older it may develop rheumatism or arthritis.

Yet, in general, most dog breeds greatly enjoy swimming – there are dogs like the Portuguese Water dog for instance that once helped fishermen in their trade.

The place

The main problem with dogs and swimming is finding a suitable place. The dog itself doesn’t actually care – it would enjoy swimming in a pool, in a pond, in a lake, in the ocean or just in a random puddle.

The problem is that you must make sure that your dog is allowed to swim in the selected place. Many beaches for instance do not allow dogs – and even if dogs are allowed, you must clean thoroughly after them - people walk bare-footed on beaches, you know.

The other major problem is pollution. Many parks, golf courses and other sites treat their ponds with chemicals in order to control algae. And even if the pond is not treated, usually different kinds of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemical poisons end up in the water. If your dog swims in polluted water, it could develop skin problems or get very ill.

Dangers of the swimming pool

Swimming pools are one of the best places for dog swimming. If the water is chlorinated, though, you should bathe your dog after the swim – otherwise the chlorine will dry in the hair.

Also, your dog should swim in a pool only under supervision until it learns where the steps are – many dogs that are good swimmers simply can’t get out of the pool!

Dangers on a boat

Every dog will enjoy a ride on a boat. However, a dog should always wear a life preserver. Even if the dog is a good swimmer, it may get injured if it falls from the boat. Also, life preservers are colorful and make it easier to find the dog if it falls into the water.


Do not avoid swimming just because of this list of dangers. Your dog probably loves swimming as much as a child. It is a great free-time activity – you just need to be careful!

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