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Southlake Animal Hospital

3570 E. Lincoln Hwy
Merrillville, IN 46410

Teaching Your Dog To Swim

June 15 2022

Summer is here! Around these parts, that means taking advantage of the warm weather now, and making sure to squeeze in those summer activities, such as swimming, while we can. Many of our canine pals also enjoy swimming. This can also provide Fido with a great low-impact workout. There are a few things to keep in mind here, however. In this article, a Crown Point, IN vet offers some advice on teaching your pup how to swim.

Consult Your Vet

Not all dogs are cut out for swimming. It can be particularly dangerous for very small breeds, as they can be in over their heads in just a few inches of water. Brachycephalic dogs are also ill-suited, as they can lose their breath so easily. If you’re not sure if swimming is right for Fido, consult your vet.


Only bring Fido to swimming holes that are pet-friendly and safe. Avoid spots with steep drop offs and/or heavy currents and riptides.

Keep It Positive

It’s important for Fido to decide that the water is fun. Hold your pet as he is learning to swim, and encourage him with praise and ear scritches. Never just throw your four-legged friend in: that could really traumatize him. It’s also very dangerous!

Supervise The Pooch

First and foremost, keep a very close eye on your furry pal near the water. It only takes a second for accidents to happen.

Get A Lifejacket

It’s not a bad idea to get Fido a doggy lifejacket. You would need one anyway if you were ever to take your fuzzy bff boating.

Don’t Force It

Some of our canine buddies are just naturally scared of water. That’s perfectly fine. It won’t do either you or Fido any good to force the issue. If you have a fuzzy, four-legged landlubber on your hands, so be it!


Training is crucial for safety reasons, both in and out of the water. Teach Fido simple commands, like Sit, Stay, and Come. Once your furry pal has swim basics down, you can start working with him in and around water. You want to be able to call your canine buddy back even if he decides to swim after a duck that’s way offshore!

Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your local Crown Point, IN animal clinic, anytime!

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