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The Do’s & Don’ts for Dogs Swimming August 9, 2019

Keene Estates, Columbia
The Do’s & Don’ts for Dogs Swimming, Columbia, Missouri

Swimming with your pup in the lake or pool is a fantastic way to cool off and enjoy the summer weather. It’s important to practice pet safety, even in shallow water; it only requires one mistake for serious issues to occur. Taking preventative measures will avoid a pet emergency and ensure your dog is comfortable.


Start with a life jacket.

pet-emergency-rolling-hills-veterinary-clinicWhile many dogs pick up swimming quickly, never assume they’ll take to the water right away. It’s best to start with a life jacket or swim vest. These keep your pet afloat while they learn to paddle. Let them wear it at home and become comfortable. When they’re ready to dive in, keep a leash attached. Once they’re comfortable, you can let them swim freely or with the life jacket.

Bathe your dog after.

Pool chemicals can lead to skin irritation, and bacteria from lakes can create health issues, so bathe your dog after a swim. You’ll remove any harmful substances and also keep their coat healthy. This also goes a long way to prevent unwanted “wet dog smell” that can spread to furniture and carpeting.


Force them to swim.

Your dog may be apprehensive to swim, so don’t force it. Like humans, they can have significant stress about the water and panic once they’re in it. This can even lead to a pet emergency. Let them become comfortable at first so it’s their decision to enter the water. Some dogs will want to simply relax on the patio or shore, so let them do so if that’s what they choose.

Leave your dog unattended.

It only takes seconds for a pet emergency to occur, so never leave your dog unattended. Swimming too far, getting tired, or not being able to find an exit point can have dangerous consequences. This is especially true for older pets.


To ensure your pet’s health needs are met, visit Rolling Hills Veterinary Hospital. This Columbia, MO, clinic offers comprehensive animal care and pet emergency services, including pet laser surgery, grooming, and pet boarding. You can explore their full scope of services on their website and call (573) 449-7387 to schedule a health exam.

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