You may think the doggy paddle comes natural to your pooch, but you might be mistaken. Some dogs take to water like fish, and some are slower to trust it. Not all dogs are born with the knowledge of how to swim and love the water, and some will be afraid of it their entire lives.
If you plan to take your dog swimming it’s best to take them to a place where it will be the most comfortable for them. Finding the quietest and most calm spot on the water will help your pet be less afraid of the water. Don’t force your dog in, let them go at their own pace. If you force them, they could become afraid of the water permanently. It helps to wade in the water with them.
If you’re somewhere less calm, like a lake or the ocean, it’s best to watch out for large waves, strong currents or riptides. Be sure to discourage your pup from drinking salt water. It will upset their stomach, so be sure to bring fresh water if you’re at the ocean. It’s also important to watch for fish on the shore. Dead fish will probably smell amazing to your pet, but don’t let them eat it, as the fish may be ill or rotten. If your pet does get into something and exhibits symptoms of feeling sick, take them to your local Bend veterinarian.
If you plan to take your dog out on a boat, whether they’re a strong swimmer or not, it’s important to have a life jacket for them. If you’re going paddle boarding or just on a boat in a small lake, some dog’s reaction is to jump off the boat. If it’s deep water, or a river with a current, it’s always a better idea to have a life jacket on them.
Blue-Green Algae can be found in certain lakes and streams. It can be toxic for humans and pets, so it’s best to avoid completely. Do your research before you head out for a jaunt with Fido, and be sure that the water you’re headed to is safe.
While having a water-loving pup can be a lot of fun, it’s still important to be sure that they’re safe. Treat your dog like a toddler who doesn’t understand water. Don’t leave them unattended by pools, let them drink salt water, or take them out to deep water. Ease them into the water and don’t pressure them. Let them learn to love the water and swimming.