Swimming With Fido

With summer here, many people are spending time in backyard pools and/or at favorite swimming holes. Our canine pals also enjoy swimming. However, water can be dangerous for pets, so you want to take some precautions to keep your furry best friend safe. Below, a Lexington, KY vet offers some tips on swimming with Fido.

Swimming Lessons

Some dogs are natural swimmers, who love the water. Others have little or no capacity for swimming. Some of our canine buddies are actually frightened of the water. If your furry pal doesn’t know how to swim, it’s worth your while to teach him. Hold your dog up as he is learning, and encourage him with praise. (Treats and ear scritches should come later, when Fido has all four paws on solid ground.) Never just throw your pup into the water. He may figure out the doggy paddle, but he may also be traumatized by the experience.

Monitoring Fido

Keep in mind that even dogs that are good swimmers can still get into trouble. Fido could swim out into deep water, or get caught in strong currents. Never leave your canine friend unattended near water, even just for a minute.


Pools can be dangerous for dogs, even those who love swimming. One big concern here is the possibility of Fido falling in and not being able to find his way out. That’s why it’s important to make sure your pooch knows—and remembers—where the pool stairs are. Whenever you take your furry buddy to a new pool, immediately show him where the exit is. We also recommend getting your pup a doggy lifejacket, especially if he can’t swim well.


Make sure that your four-legged buddy always has fresh water. Otherwise, Fido may drink the pool water. Needless to say, you really don’t want your pet drinking chlorine and other chemicals!


After Fido has been in the water for a while, his skin will get soft and a bit wrinkled, just like human skin does when it’s wet. This will make your dog’s paw pads very delicate, which can lead to painful blisters and abrasions. Use paw balm or wax to protect those furry feet, and keep your canine companion on soft grass as much as ‘pawsible.’

As your Lexington, KY vet clinic, we’re dedicated to helping you keep your pet happy and healthy. Call us anytime!

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