Dog swimming instructor Andy Brownlie, owner of Canine Dip and Dive, shares how to teach your pup to swim in water for the first time and offers advice on how to do so safely
Image: Getty Images)
As the weather warms up, you might be tempted to take your dog for a bath, but it’s important to be informed before he starts treading water.
Although some breeds are famous for their “puppy paddle,” they just aren’t born swimmers—and you shouldn’t force them to be.
Canine swimming instructor Andy Brownlie, owner of Canine Dip and Dive, shares his advice on teaching your pup to swim and making sure you do it safely.
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Where should I go swimming with my dog?
When swimming with your dog for the first time, you need to prioritize his safety.
Andy told The Mirror: “Choose a spot where your dog can easily get in and out of the water so you don’t have to jump in to help him.
“Somewhere like a lake or slow-moving river that doesn’t wash them downstream is ideal, but be aware of toxic blue-green algae in the warmer months.”
How do I get my dog in the water?
“Try tossing your dog’s favorite toy or ball into the shallows and see how he does,” says Andy.
“If they seem confident, then keep throwing it out until they swim out of their depths.
“For most dogs this is easy and great fun, but for others it can be quite scary and they may panic or not have the right technique.
“If your dog is extremely nervous and won’t go in the water, you need to take your time and be gentle.”
Andy says you shouldn’t throw your dog in the water or pull on the leash.
“These dogs will probably never swim. All you’re going to do here is reinforce your thoughts that water is scary and should be avoided,” he says.
A life jacket is great for paddling or boating, but you shouldn’t use one when teaching your dog to swim – as he’ll need to learn to stay afloat on his own.
How long should my dog go swimming?
While you might think your dog can swim for a while, it’s quite surprising how quickly they tire.
Andy says: “One important thing to remember is that swimming for a minute is equivalent to walking a mile – so don’t let your dog swim continuously for more than half an hour.
“You could suddenly get cramps or just be exhausted. If your dog gets into trouble at sea, don’t risk your life, dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.”
Getty Images/Aurora open)
What are the dangers of swimming?
Even if your dog is a good swimmer, he can still drown if he panics in a current or is exhausted in trapped water.
To prevent this, you should always keep a close eye on them and the area they swim in.
“If your dog is confident, you may find that he likes to dive in at speed or from height. Please check the water before you let him do this,” says Andy.
“If the water is too shallow, they could break their legs or be impaled by sunken hazards like tree branches.
“Just because you’ve been there before doesn’t mean it’s still safe.”
Andy advises watching out for burps, saying they help prevent bloating.
“If her stomach expands and becomes hard as a balloon, treat her like a bloated baby,” he says.
“If it persists, don’t let her back in the water. You will eventually belch or vomit.”
You also need to be aware that salt water can be deadly if ingested in large quantities.
“If they start drinking seawater, stop them!” Andy says.
“Sodium poisoning can be fatal quickly, so bring plenty of fresh water and watch for signs of an upset stomach, excessive urination, vomiting, or collapse.
“If you suspect sodium poisoning, you must seek medical attention immediately.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/expert-shares-how-teach-your-27251706 Expert shares how to teach your dog to swim and stay safe in the water