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Swimming Safety for Dogs

May 1, 2017

Summer is coming! Are you planning to hit the pool or your favorite swimming hole this year? If so, your canine buddy may be more than delighted to accompany you. Many dogs really love swimming! The water can be dangerous for Man’s Best Friend however, so be sure to keep Fido’s safety in mind. Read on as a local Oconomowoc, WI vet discusses swimming safety for dogs.

Fido’s Swimming Capability

Some breeds are natural swimmers. Retrievers and Irish Water Spaniels, for instance, will probably take to the water like furry, four-legged ducks. Others? Not so much. Small dogs, greyhounds, and brachycephalic pups, like pugs, often have trouble swimming. Do some research on your furry pal’s breed, and ask your vet for advice.

Swimming Lessons

If your vet gives the all clear, you can go ahead and start teaching your pup to swim. Never throw Fido into the water. Even if your pet figures out the doggy paddle, he may be traumatized by the experience, and could end up being terrified of water. Instead, support your canine buddy gently until he gets the hang of it, and talk to him cheerfully.

Pool Safety Tips

If you are taking Fido to a pool, immediately show him where the steps are. That way, if he falls in, he can get out again. Don’t just show your pup once and expect him to remember it: make sure it’s really sunk in. We also recommend using a visible landmark, like a potted tree, to mark the exit. Also, keep the pool blocked off when it’s not in use, especially if you use a pool cover. You don’t want your dog accidentally falling in!

Paw Care

Fido’s paw pads are quite delicate. Just like human skin, they can get extremely fragile when they are wet. This makes it very easy for dogs to get painful paw burns or abrasions after going swimming. Use paw balm or wax on your pet’s feet, and keep him on soft surfaces when he gets out of the water.


After Fido has finished swimming, rinse him off to get the chlorine, salt, and/or sand out of his fur. Finish up the day by giving him a yummy treat!

Please call us for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We can help! As your Oconomowoc, WI pet hospital, we are dedicated to providing the best care around!