Swimming is an excellent way to exercise for both you and your dog. But not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. Some breeds need more assistance and encouragement than others. Here are a few tips to help you teach your dog how to swim.
Prioritize safety Keep your dog on a leash during your swimming lessons and until he’s able to swim unassisted. Get your dog a life jacket and make sure he wears it while learning how to swim. This will help him feel safe and confident in the water. Heavier breeds like bulldogs should always wear a life jacket to keep them from sinking. Go slow Teaching your dog to swim won’t happen overnight. Begin by getting your dog’s toes wet and work toward taking a few steps in and out of the water. If you have a baby pool, you can fill it up with a little bit of water and let him walk in it. Keep your lessons short and positive. Get in the water together Choose a location where you and your dog can enter the water together. It’s best to start training in shallow water, but if you don’t have access to a shallow area, you can carry your dog into the water slowly. Once in the water, keep your hands under his stomach to keep him horizontal. Remember to never let your dog swim unattended. Use rewards After a few lessons, you can incorporate a toy into the process. Toss the toy into the water and encourage your dog to fetch it. Gradually toss it further so that he’ll have to swim to retrieve it. Use treats to encourage and reward him. Always end on a positive note by praising your dog for his efforts. Protect against water-borne diseases After each lesson, rinse your dog off well to remove all chemicals, dirt and algae. Lakes, rivers and other untreated bodies of water can transmit harmful parasites and bacteria that can cause serious infections like leptospirosis. Luckily, there are vaccines that can prevent leptospirosis and other diseases. Pet vaccination in Toronto Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital offers comprehensive and affordable vet services to keep your pet safe and healthy. Our experienced veterinarians, technicians and assistants are available seven days a week to help. We strive to make our services accessible to all and consequently offer competitive vet prices to our clients in the Greater Toronto area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about the vaccinations you need to protect your pet.