Paddle Pups

7 things to look out for when you bring Fido for a swim for the first time.
By Pets Team
Published on Wednesday, 10 July 2013

 Swimming dog

First dip

In a tropical climate like ours, nothing is more enticing than a pool of clear, cool water. Imagine how much more of a relief it would be for our dogs with their thick fur coats! The benefits of recreational swimming to Rover are undeniable.  However, before you go rushing Pooch into the pool, consider the notion that not all dogs can swim. While some breeds are natural swimmers, there are those that need help to gain some water confidence.

Each owner may have a different approach when it comes to their dog’s first swim. While some prefer to slowly lure their furkids in, others wait patiently for the dogs to wade in on their own accord. How you introduce Fido to the water depends greatly on his temperament as some dogs handle new environments better than others.

Here are a few things to note when you take your dog for his first dip, be it at the beach or at the canine pool:

Never throw Fido in
Never force your furkid to swim. You can start by slowly lowering them into the water and getting their paws used to sensation.

Support their weight until they paddle
Even if your dog is wearing a life vest, support his midsection and hindquarters until they become comfortable and start to paddle in the water.

Show them how to get out
Never forget to show Fido where the steps are for him to exit the pool.

Avoid excessive noise
The objective is to keep Rover calm and focused on swimming. Too much noise and activity might confuse and frighten him.

Offer encouragement
Bring treats and toys to encourage your dog to enter the water and play in it.

Constant vigilance
Keep an eye on your dog at all times as some that can swim naturally may jump into the sea and keep going until they get lost. Less competent swimmers may also run the risk of drowning. 

Wash and rinse your dog
Always rinse your furkid before and after the swim. Chlorinated water in the pool will damage his coat and may cause poisoning if Fido licks himself after. Keep a look out for debris, algae or dead fish at the beach as this usually indicates bacteria that may be harmful to both of you. Sea water will also leave a residue on Fido’s fur, hence a thorough bath will be useful in preventing skin irritation. Be sure to clean his ears and dry them after a swim as moisture in the ears can encourage bacteria growth and lead to an infection.


Photo source: