Summer Safety Tips For Dogs - Some Dogs Can't Swim!

by Pool Builders on 05-02-2010 in Articles

Ask around. It is a common assumption. Nearly everyone you ask, will believe all dogs instinctively know how to "dog paddle." That misconception can and has lead to many heartbreaking tragedies.

Fact is, some dogs cannot swim!

Some dogs cannot swim because of fear of water, they are too young, too old, or have medical problems. For others, it's genetic.

Plain and simple, their bodies weren't designed to float or swim. Use caution with breeds that have bodies lacking the buoyancy and fat needed to float. Also be careful with breeds that are heavily built, and highly muscled. And there are those adorable breeds with the stumpy, short legs that were obviously not designed to swim.

No doubt there will be people out there that will argue their dog is on the list, but it swims like a fish. Great! Happy for you! However, the acknowledged rule is, the following breeds have problems swimming or just plain cannot swim.

At the top of the list, to be especially careful with around water is one of America's favorites, the Basset Hound! They will usually sink like a rock!

If you have a Bulldog, be it American, French or English, watch them like a hawk around water. They too, were not designed to be mermaids!

Others, commonly identified as breeds known to have trouble swimming include: Boston Terriers, Dachshunds, Greyhounds, Corgis, Pugs, Scotties and Westies.

Their low body fat and heavy muscles do not allow for much buoyancy for some Dobermans, Mastiffs, Great Danes and Boxers.

The problem with small and toy breeds is, even though they may be able to swim, should they fall into a pool, they may not be able to find their way out. The majority of dogs that drown in pools, do so because they do not know how to find the stairs, ladder or shelf to exit it. They really die from exhaustion from "dog paddling" in circles in one place, until they can no longer keep afloat.

Bottom line: Never leave your dog unsupervised around a pool. Use fences or barriers around your pool, or put a canine life jacket on your dog, if you cannot supervise them when they are poolside. Use a canine life jacket on your dog, if you take it out on a boat. The better quality life jackets usually have a handle on them; so you can grab the handle to pull your dog back into the boat. Teach your dog to swim, to help them get over their fear of water. And most importantly, teach them how to find the stairs, ladder or shelf, so they can pull themselves out of the pool should they fall in accidentally. These few precautions can make for a happier summer for you, and a safer swimming experience for your dog.

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