August 17, 2016
2 mins read

Dear Davi, 

I’d really love to take a dip in the pool right now!  How can I stay safe while in the water? 

Soupy the Spaniel


Before diving into the deep end, it’s good to be prepared. 

First, ask yourself: Can I swim? Not every dog is a natural born swimmer. Even though we have a swim stroke named after us — the doggie paddle — some of us absolutely hate the water. Others either fear it or have an awkward build that makes it difficult to swim. 

When testing the waters for the first time, take it slow. Feeling comfortable in the water is key. Choose a quiet, shallow spot where you can wade. Gradually start paddling. You’ll need to sync your hind legs with your front. With practice, you will be doing laps in no time at all.

For your own safety, you’ll need to plan your escape. Make sure there is always an easy way out and, most important, make sure you know how to use it. Even experienced swimmers can drown while trying to claw their way out of the pool.

If you are skittish around water or starting to swim, a life vest is a smart idea. Even the best canine swimmers can be no match for rapids, waves, undertows, and simple exhaustion. Wearing a life vest might save your life! It also makes you easier to find and grab if you go overboard.

No matter where you make a splash — in the pool or on the beach — follow these pointers:

Don’t Drink the Water: The chlorine and chemicals in the pool as well as the salt in the ocean, and bacteria in lakes can make you sick. Opt for a drink from a clean bowl of fresh water instead. 

Prevent Sunburn: Yes, dogs can get sunburn, too — just like humans. And because water reflects light, sunburn is more likely around water. Dogs with light fur, short hair, and pink noses are at greater risk, but all dogs are susceptible. Make sure you slather on dog-safe sunscreen (no zinc oxide ­— it’s poisonous to dogs, even deadly!) and have plenty of shade available. 

Stay Close: Even dogs that are eager and accomplished swimmers — like Michael Phelps — can tire quickly and get into danger. Dogs don’t understand the concept of resting or treading water. We just swim and swim, until we can’t swim anymore. Swimming close to our humans will keep us safe if something were to happen.

Remember to Rinse: Rinse off after you’ve been in any type of water. Salt, chlorine, algae, and pollution can irritate or damage your skin and fur.

Keep Your Ears Clean: Shake out any excess water and dry your ears completely to prevent an infection.

Steer Clear of Danger: Watch out for riptides and strong currents that could take you out to sea, and waters with blue-green algae that can make you sick. 

Word to Humans: While there are many effective ways to ensure your pet’s safety when near water, the most important precautionary measure is supervision.

Happy splashing!


Davi the dachshund doesn’t have an Olympic gold medal in the 50-meter doggy paddle but he does have a heart of gold.

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