Teaching Your Dog to Swim

Does your dog know how to swim? If not, it’s a good idea for you to teach him. This is important for safety reasons, especially if you have a pool or spend a lot of time near the water. Of course, many of our canine companions also just enjoy swimming! Here, a Michigan City, IN vet offers some advice on teaching Fido to swim.

Check With The Vet

Some dogs, like Retrievers, Poodles, and Water Spaniels, are natural swimmers. This isn’t always the case, though. In fact, swimming isn’t appropriate—or even safe—for all of our canine pals. Small breeds and brachycephalic dogs tire out very quickly, and can get into trouble even in shallow water. Ask your vet if swimming is right for your pet.

Starting Out

Don’t make the mistake of just throwing your canine friend into the water. Some dogs may figure out the doggy paddle, but others will literally just sink. This method can also be absolutely terrifying for Fido. He may be traumatized by the experience, and could end up scared of water. That’s the last thing you want!


Gently support your pup by holding him in the water as he is figuring out the doggy paddle. You may also want to put a lifejacket or pet floaters on Fido as he is learning.

Enlist A Buddy

Look for a friendly dog that knows how to swim. Fido can learn quite a bit just by watching his friend! Plus, he’ll be able to spend some time playing with his pal.

Make It Fun

Reward your furry pal with praise and attention when he does well. This will also help him form a positive association with swimming. Treats are fine, but you’ll of course need to wait until after Fido gets out of the water.


Once Fido has the basics down, start working on his training. You want to make sure he will always come to you when you call, even if he’s in the water. Also, whenever you take Fido to a pool, immediately show him where the stairs are, so he can get out if he falls in accidentally. Last but not least, never leave your dog unattended near the water, even for a minute.

Please call us, your Michigan City, IN vet clinic, for all of your pup’s veterinary care needs. We’re happy to help!

Comments are closed.