Most dogs go wild at the prospect of swimming. This goes for lakes and rivers, as well as the pool in the backyard. But, can puppies swim in pools?
A puppy can usually swim in a pool or small body of water starting around two to five months in age. A puppy should never be thrown into the pool but should be introduced slowly and be well supervised. Show them how to enter and exit the pool.
It is essential to build confidence in your pup when it comes to the swimming pool. While some young dogs take to the water as if they were born to swim, it can be intimidating and scary for others. In this article, we’ll look at a few ways to introduce your pup to the pool without traumatizing them.
When Can A Puppy Swim In A Pool?
What age can puppies swim in a pool? Around ten weeks is the age when most puppies are going to be ready to swim in the pool. Some dogs may take longer to develop the strength for swimming, so they may be as old as five months when they are ready for a dip.
If your pup is not having any trouble getting up and down stairs or running around the yard, the chances are good that they will be able to swim.
Swimming can be an excellent way to give a pup the exercise that their growing body needs.
However, there are some important things to remember when you bring your dog into the water for the first time.
Introducing Your Puppy To The Pool
Some pups will show an immediate interest in water, especially those breeds bred for aquatic endeavors, like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, the Poodle, and the Portuguese Water Dog. If you have one of these pups, chances are pretty good that you have a natural swimmer on your hands. Though this is not always the case, regardless of breed.
So, here are some steps you can take to make sure things go well when you introduce a puppy to the pool.
Start Things Off Slowly
Rule number one of puppy pool time: Never Throw Your Puppy In The Pool.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but some people believe that all dogs are born with the innate ability and passion for swimming. Just as it is with humans, it is true with dogs. We’re not all fans of water. In fact, some breeds cannot swim at all without the help of a flotation device.
So, instead of tossing your dog into the deep end, you should introduce them slowly, and you should join them too!
Start on the steps
Start on the steps to show your dog they can get in and out of the pool from that point.
A young dog doesn’t have the strength to swim for a long time, and they also don’t have the power in their little legs to heft themselves over the pool’s edge. They must learn how to get out safely without panicking.
Once they’ve gotten their feet wet and show signs that they like what is happening, you can coax them deeper with encouragement or a toy. And remember to stay close to your dog once they do start swimming so that you’re there to help them if they struggle.
Especially at the beginning, we want to minimize any scary moments if you hope to have a dog that enjoys swimming.
Help Your Dog Stay Afloat With A Life Jacket
Top-heavy breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, and Dachshunds can have a real problem when it comes to staying on top of the water.
Some of these head-heavy dogs might not float at all; we’re looking at you, French Bulldog. Also, brachycephalic breeds, those with smooshed faces, might not breathe properly in the water.
Some breeds that may not enjoy playtime in the pool might fall in love with swimming once they realize they can float with a life preserver.
When teaching a pup to swim, a life jacket can go a long way towards instilling confidence in their abilities. Again, it’s all about making it less scary and more fun.
Make Sure There Are Toys And Treats
Their favorite toys that float are great motivators to get them into the water and having fun.
What float toys do we recommend here at Outdoor Dog Fun? You are bound to find something your puppy loves from this list. You will need to buy a small or medium based on the size of your puppy.
Check the price
Best frisbee that floats (it is also good for fetch and catch)
Air Dash Frisbee or Ruffwear Hydro Plan Floating Disc
Top toss, tug and float toy for the pool
Chuckit Amphibious Bumper Dog Toy
Best outdoor ball. Great for fetch, catch and floats too!
Chuckit Kick Fetch Toy Ball
Best fetch toy to help with getting your puppy to swim
Kurgo Skipping Stones
If you are having a hard time getting your puppy off the steps and into the water, try placing a toy out further than they can reach, or even giving it a short toss. Let them enter the water at their own pace, with you at arms reach. Sometimes the toy toss is all it will take.
To show your puppy that they’ve done a great job, instill some confidence with treats when they progress in swimming. Just remember that they get the treat once they’re out of the water.
Keep Your Lessons Short
Your puppy may be ready to play in the pool all day once you’ve got them started.
Or they might be ready to get out right away.
Either way, keep your lessons short.
Even when your pup has gotten used to the pool and swimming, it is wise to limit the time of your water play sessions to about ten minutes.
Many dogs tend to swallow water when they swim, which can cause something called “water toxicity.” They get way too much water in their system, which can and will make them vomit – and a lot of it.
To avoid this, keep sessions short and avoid throwing large toys for them to fetch, using small, thin toys like a frisbee or rope toy instead.
That’s about it.
All you need to do is pay attention, move slowly with your training, and keep things short and sweet.
Oh, and reward your good dog once the swimming lesson has finished.
Can puppies swim in chlorine pools?
Is chlorine toxic to dogs? Yes, but not in the way you may think.
The amount of chlorine used in pool water is negligible, as in it isn’t going to hurt your pup just by them swimming in it.
The tablets used to add chlorine to the pool are a different matter though. Keep those away from your pets at all costs as the small tablets are concentrated and highly toxic.
Will chlorine hurt my puppy’s’ eyes or ears?
The chlorine may sting their eyes, but that’s about it.
Some dogs with floppy ears are at a higher risk of ear infection after swimming in the pool, but it is not because of the chlorine. The problem lies with water entering their ears and the ear canal staying damp.
It is essential to give those floppy ears a good drying with a towel once they’re out of the pool.
Will chlorine hurt my puppy’s skin?
Some dogs may have a sensitivity to chlorinated water, which could cause some skin irritation.
If this is a concern, the easiest solution is to give them a good rinse with the hose or put them in the bath after swimming.
Can puppies swim in cold water?
Puppies tend to be sensitive to swimming in cold water.
How old should puppies be before they go swimming?
They should be between 10 weeks to 5 months. The earlier you introduce your puppy to the pool, the more likely they will get used to splashing and then swimming in a pool.
So, Can My Puppy Swim in a Pool?
Swimming is an excellent resource for tiring out an energetic puppy as well as instilling confidence. A growing dog can benefit significantly from your pool if you take the right precautions and take time to train them properly.
Here at Outdoor Dog Fun, we know puppies can be a handful. That’s why we’ve written the following articles based on the reader’s questions.
- Is your puppy pooping in their crate at night? Read this article.
- Exercise limits for Golden Retriever puppies
- Puppy training at night using a crate: do’s and don’ts
- Looking for a crate for your puppy? Read this article.
- Harness vs. collar? What’s best for a puppy?