Keep your canine cool and enjoy the water together this summer
The weather is getting warmer, and I’m counting down the days until summer vacation. Who’s with me? I’m excited, not simply because I get to spend more time with the Caiola kids – Sofia and Carmelo – but also because it’s swimming season. Although my breed isn’t the type to frolic in the water, I enjoy cooling off in my wading pool on a hot summer day. My brother Romeo is the real swimmer in the family – such a talented young lad. I talked to him about how he learned to swim, some safety tips and his favorite swim spots.
How to teach your dog to swim
- Put on a floatation vest if necessary
While many dogs will instinctively doggy paddle, some dogs are not natural swimmers. Bulldogs, for example, don’t know how to swim at all. If you put them in the water, they will sink to the bottom without a life vest to keep them afloat.
Here are other breeds that don’t swim (in case your dog is on this list):
- Scottish and Boston Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- Start slow in a shallow area
Get them used to how water feels on their paws and walk slowly beside them as the water gets deeper. If they start to sink a bit, put your arm under their stomach for support. This will make them use their rear legs more than their front legs (tire faster swimming with the front).
- Cheer on your dog
As they start paddling, make sure to cheer them on with that positive, encouraging voice we dogs love so much. And of course, let’s not forget a doggie treat at the end of the lesson. The positive reinforcement will make them associate swimming with fun.
Top 3 swim spots to take your dog
Wherever you take your dog swimming, be sure to supervise. Safety first!
- Your pool
As your dog gets more practice, you can buy some toys to play fetch. When playtime is over, you can relax on a raft – a great opportunity to bond with your buddy.
- The local dog park
For the urban folks who don’t have the luxury of a backyard pool, dog parks are a great option. Not only do the dogs get to cool off and splash around, but they get to socialize with other dogs, which is an added bonus.
- The beach
The beach is Romeo’s personal favorite. So much space to run around, play and swim – it’s great fun and exercise.
First, find a dog-friendly beach. Remember to bring plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated and a floatation vest if they are still learning how to swim or are not a strong swimmer.
Surprising fact: Dogs can get sunburnt if they have light skin or short hair.
Most importantly, cover the ears and nose. Don’t forget to pack the pet sunscreen!
While you’re having fun in the sun, keep your canine cool and enjoy the water together this summer!