Water Safety for Dogs


Not all dogs like to swim!

Not everybody can swim like Michael Phelps. Similarly, neither can every dog. Never force your dog to swim. There is a preconceived misconception that dogs are born knowing how to swim, this is not true.

If your dog was not exposed to water at a young age, they may not know or be interested in swimming. Another piece to take into consideration is that not every breed is built for water fun! Labs, Goldens, Porties, etc are built for water; Pugs, Bostons, Boxers, Bulldogs, not so much. Extra caution needs to be taken with our brachycephalic friends as they are more prone to aspirating water due to their short faces.

Wear a life jacket

If your dog is going to the lake or out on the boat, get them a lifejacket. It doesn’t take much to distract a happy, excited dog and cause them to swim off further than they should. Life jackets make them more visible and also give you means by which to grab onto them. Dogs aren’t always the best at deciding when they’ve had enough.

In the event that your dog gets tired or gets a muscle cramp, a lifejacket will help keep them afloat. I personally found Flynn’s life jacket to be a great tool when he was young and learning how to swim. He had a difficult time figuring out the timing of his front and back legs (or to even use of his hind legs at times). The life jacket helped to keep him floating evenly with his head above water, so he could focus on what his legs were doing.

Foot protection

Hot pavement and sand can do a number on dog’s foot pads. If it is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for theirs. Also beware of water with mussels, they can do good damage to dogs feet, which bleed like crazy! I like to keep an emergency foot bandage pack in my car for that reason!  

Dry off well

Summer creates the perfect environment for skin and ear infections in our swimming friends. Thoroughly dry your pet down, including wiping out their ears.


Written by Aurora Animal Clinic