Can Dogs Swim? (In Pools? Ponds? Underwater? Solved!)

There are several breeds of dogs that are great at swimming. Larger breeds do better at swimming, especially in cold temperatures. Small breeds are also capable of swimming, but many of them can benefit from using a life vest.

A pool is the best place to introduce swimming to your dog. However, a calm lake can also suffice. Dogs are able to safely swim in chlorinated and salted pools.

Can Dogs Swim Naturally?

Some breeds of dogs are natural swimmers. These breeds were specifically designed for water-related activities. The Labrador Retriever, for example, was initially bred to help hunters retrieve waterfowl from local ponds and lakes. Because they were used for water-related activities, some of these breeds have a natural understanding of how to swim.

Some do not.

Can Dogs Swim Underwater?

Some dogs can also swim underwater. When you throw a toy into a pool, for example, the dog will jump into the water, then swim down to the bottom to retrieve it. Dogs can hold their breath under the water. It just isn’t clear how long dogs can hold their breath.

Their bodies also undergo an interesting biological change when they plunge underwater. Their heart rate slows and their blood vessels become more narrow. These two attributes make it easier for them to conserve oxygen in their lungs.

Can Dogs Swim In Pools?

Dogs that are comfortable swimming in the water will love swimming in the pool. A pool is often safer than other bodies of water because it’s restricted. Ponds and lakes can be large. It’s easy for the dog to become so excited that they swim right off.

A pool keeps them contained in one area that you can easily supervise.

Pools are also safer. They don’t contain parasites, leeches, or other water creatures that may harm your dog. Snakes won’t be lurking in the shallows of your pool.

You can also easily play games with your dog in the pool. Because the water is contained in one area, their toy won’t drift off far away. Nor will it sink to a deep bottom.

Pools may just be the best body of water for dogs to swim in.

Which Can’t Dogs Swim?

There are certain breeds whose bodies aren’t made for swimming. Pot-bellied breeds like the Bulldog and Pug are two great examples. The distribution of their fat makes it difficult for them to float. Because they also have breathing issues, the physical exertion of swimming may make them pass out and drown.

These dogs can be placed in a swimming pool if they’re put in a life vest and supervised. However, they may not enjoy it.

Another breed that has some difficulty with swimming is the Dachshund. Its long body and short legs make it difficult for it to stay afloat and swim.

Even a breed like the Boxer has some difficulty with swimming based on its anatomy.

Can Dogs Swim In The Ocean?

Not all dogs will enjoy swimming in the ocean. The salt content of the water can easily get in their noses and eyes. They may also try to drink the water, which can be problematic. Under the right supervision, your dog may enjoy swimming in the ocean for a time.

Depending on how large and strong the waves are, it may be safe or dangerous to allow them to do so. You should also be aware of the time of the day and the presence of sharks and other sea creatures that may want to harm your dog.

Can Shih Tzus Swim?

Some Shih Tzus love the water. They’ll jump into it if they get the chance. Their bodies allow them to float and swim with ease. However, their bodies also dictate how much strenuous exercise they can receive. Swimming for long periods may not be ideal for them.

Because of their size, they may also find swimming in the ocean to be difficult. The larger waves can consume them and drag them out to sea.

Can Terriers Swim?

Certain types of Terriers are natural swimmers. Their bodies allow them to float easily and they swim well. However, because they’re on the smaller side, it’s easy for them to become tired quickly.

Other types of Terriers, like the Bull Terrier, can’t swim as well.

Small Dogs That Like To Swim

Here’s a list of some small dogs that like to swim.

  • American Water Spaniel
  • Spanish Water Dog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel “Cavapoo”
  • Beagle
  • Poodle

Can Dogs Swim In Chlorine?

If you have a chlorinated pool, then it’s safe for your dog to swim in it. According to the American Kennel Club, the amount of chlorine in standard pools is negligible. To ensure your dog stays safe, you should give them a quick rinse after you’re done swimming.

You’ll also want to keep them out of the chlorine tablets. Those are far more dangerous for them to consume.

You should also discourage them from drinking the water. Have a bowl of fresh water nearby to help keep them from drinking pool water.

Can Dogs Swim In Cold Water?

Certain breeds are better suited for swimming in cold water. Those with thick or double coats can keep warm easier. Those with short coats will be more likely to experience hypothermia.

Older dogs and smaller breeds should also be kept away from cold water. Their biology makes it difficult for them to regulate their temperature and keep warm in the cold water.

Can Dogs Swim In Saltwater Pools?

Dogs can swim in saltwater pools. The amount of salt in this type of pool is considerably less than in the ocean. It’s always a good idea to wash your dog afterward and provide them with fresh water to drink.

Can Dogs Swim In Lakes?

A calm lake is one of the best places to introduce your dog to swimming if you don’t have a pool. They’re less likely to have dangerous creatures like snakes near the water’s edge for them to get into.

If you want to bring your smaller breed to the lake, then you should outfit them in a life vest.

Can Dogs Swim In Ponds?

Ponds that are clean are also acceptable for your dog to swim in. However, ponds are notorious for being muddy, containing leeches, and being home to snakes. You may find yourself needing to give your dog a bath afterward or treat them for a snake bite.