Can All Dogs Swim?

As pet owners, most of us love to take our dogs out with us.  And of course, some of us love to go to the beach, or lakes, or just go fishing.  Can all dogs swim?  Is it safe to take your pooch around water and let them take a dip?  Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are good swimmers! Although they have a swimming style named after them, the “doggy paddle”, some dogs just won’t take kindly to water at all!

Can All Dogs Swim?Most low-fat breeds can have a tough time with water, like a Doberman or a Boxer.  Older dogs or dogs with joint problems can also have great difficulty swimming in the water.  Hypothermia can also be a problem for some dogs with lighter or nonwater resisting coats.  And some dogs just aren’t good swimmers, they may tire easily or get confused while swimming, some may simply just not like the water at all.  If a dog has low body fat, they may have a lot of trouble staying afloat or regulating their body temperature.  Some dogs, though, are natural born swimmers and absolutely love the water.  Labradors and Retrievers are usually very efficient swimmers that just can’t get enough of the water.  Even with these dogs, though, it is a good idea to keep an eye on them while they are playing around, as they can tire themselves out or be unable to stay floating.

There aren’t any physical reasons why your Border Collie can’t swim, but she may nonetheless be reluctant to do so. Even in breeds that were bred for swimming — such as Labrador Retrievers — you’ll occasionally find a dog who doesn’t enjoy being in the water. You can try encouraging your dog to swim by going out and seeing if she’ll follow, and rewarding her with praise. Dogs who love to play fetch will often go out after tennis balls or other floating toys. You might get her swimming by letting her get comfortable at a certain depth and then throwing the toy in water that’s progressively deeper. Finally, many dogs will swim just to join in the fun if they are around other dogs who enjoy swimming.

If your dog falls into the water, they can become very fearful, especially if they are not used to swimming.  Waves, undertow, strong currents, or current changes can sometimes overtake even the strongest swimmers.  Sometimes stuff just happens in the water.  You can get your dog a life vest and many dogs love wearing them as it makes swimming easier for them!  If you do get them one, make sure it fits them well and is properly rated for their weight, if they get all tangled up it could be a very big problem for them.  Overall, though, dogs tend to be great swimmers, and if your dog likes swimming they will probably be pretty good at it!  Just make sure you always keep an eye on them, because sometimes we can all run into trouble in the water.