Taking Your Dog Swimming

Do you enjoy swimming? It’s always nice to cool off in summer by taking a dip. Our canine buddies also love playing in the water. Here, a Lakeville, MN vet discusses taking Fido swimming.

Pup Check

Not all dogs are well-suited for swimming. Some pups, like retrievers, often take to the water naturally. Others just aren’t cut out for it. Small dogs, brachycephalic dogs, and pets with medical issues may be happier—and safer—just playing in a kiddie pool. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Swim Lessons

If your dog doesn’t know how to swim, take time to teach him. Be sure to support your pooch while he is learning, and encourage him with praise and ear scritches. Never throw Fido into the water: he may figure out the doggy paddle, but he’ll likely be terrified by the experience.

Pool Safety

When you take Fido to a pool, immediately show him where the stairs are. Spend a few minutes on this, and make sure he really understands. This is crucial, because if your furry friend ever falls in, knowing how to get out could save his life! We also strongly recommend keeping pools fenced off when not in use. Pool covers can also be hazardous: dogs don’t always realize that they aren’t solid surfaces, and can step onto them and fall through.

Beaches, Lakes, and Streams

Man’s Best Friend loves exploring! However, that sense of adventure can get Fido into trouble. Dogs are over their heads in just a few feet of water, so it’s important to keep your pet in shallow, calm water. Avoid places with heavy wakes or strong currents. Training is also very important. Making user your pup knows important commands like Sit, Stay, and Come, can help keep him from approaching dangerous areas. We recommend using doggy lifejackets, just to be safe.


Dogs can get overheated very easily in summer. Make sure Fido always has plenty of water. Don’t let him drink from pools or other swimming spots: the water could be unsafe.

Paw Care

Fido’s paws are very delicate when they’re wet. Your pooch can get blisters or burns by running on hot or harsh ground. Keep him on soft grass as much as possible, and use paw balm to protect his feet.

Please feel free to call us anytime. As your Lakeville, MN vet clinic, we’re here to help!