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Posted on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Hartz Helpers Offer Some Advice for Taking Your Dog Swimming

Photo Credit: pmarkham via Flickr
Photo Credit: pmarkham via Flickr

As the summer begins to fade and autumnal weather sets in, many folks are making the most of the heat and fitting in as many last swims as they can. While you may be closing up the pool after Labor Day, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a few visits to the local lake with your dog. Everyone knows dog training is two parts fun to one part frustration, but teaching your pet to swim may be the biggest blast of all – provided you follow a few basic safety regulations.

Before you start teaching your dog to swim, be sure you know the best way to make him or her comfortable and assure your pet’s safety.

Rule number one, and by far the most important, is to never let your dog out of your sight. Keep an eye on your dog at all times, and if he or she seems to be struggling with the lake’s current or depth, don’t hesitate to dive right in. Also, attempt to make sure that the environment is calming. A dog learning to swim could be easily panicked by loud noises or sudden disturbances. Afterward, don’t forget to give your dog a good rinse, just like you would yourself. Be it chlorine or lake water, staying clean of chemicals and bacteria is a must for you both. Keep some dog shampoo on hand for this.

Teaching a dog to swim can be tricky, especially if yours seems resistant to it. For this reason, don’t push anything on your pet that he or she seems hesitant about and never just throw your pet into the water. Instead, use baby steps with plenty of encouragement and, once you’re back on shore, a dog treat or two. As your dog learns to paddle, be sure to support his or her weight in the water. Let your pet move at their own rate, and if necessary, consider investing in a pet flotation device, like appropriately sized dog life jackets.

Once your pet is comfortable in the water, feel free to start playing a few games. Fetch is great with a frisbee or floating tennis ball! Remember to have fun and stay safe.

This content is provided by the pet wellness experts at Hartz. We know that adopting a dog or cat is a huge commitment, so we’re here to help you feel confident and become the best pet parent you can be.