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Swim Safety For Fido

June 15, 2023

Does your pooch like swimming? Or does Fido get nervous and give you that wary look when he’s around water? Our canine pals vary pretty dramatically when it comes to both their opinions about swimming and their ability for it. Regardless of whether your pooch is a natural doggy diver or a furry, four-legged landlubber, you’ll need to take steps to keep him safe near water. A Burnsville, MN vet offers some advice on that below.

Swim Lessons

As you may know, some breeds are naturally predisposed to swimming. That list includes the Golden Retriever, Poodle, Newfoundland, and any pup with water or water bodies in their name, such as the Portuguese Water Dog and Chesapeake Bay Retriever. There are also many dogs that are just not cut out for it. That list includes any type of brachycephalic pooch, such as Pugs, and pups with long bodies and short legs, like Corgis and Dachshunds. Ask your vet if swimming is right for Fido. If you get the all clear, go for it. Your pooch may need swimming lessons, regardless of breed. Pooches that aren’t well-suited to water may enjoy splashing around in a fountain or kiddie pool. 

Doggy Lifejackets

We recommend getting Fido a lifejacket. Even if he is a good swimmer, you may need this for boating trips, or in case you’re near a dangerous body of water, such as a rushing river. Make sure it fits well, is bright and easy to see, and has a handle on it. Have him wear it at home, so he can get used to it.

Pool Precautions

Pools are extremely dangerous for both dogs and small children. Use similar precautions as you would with a toddler. The most important ones? Never leave Fido unattended! Also, gate or otherwise block the pool off when it’s not in use. 

Another key part of doggy pool safety is making sure your canine buddy knows where the stairs are. That way, if he falls in when no one is looking, he’ll be able to get back out. Take some time with this training, and make sure it sinks in.


Make sure Fido always has fresh drinking water at your swimming spot. Otherwise, he may try to drink chlorinated or ‘wild’ water.

As your Burnsville, MN animal hospital, we’re here to help! Contact us for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. 

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