Swimming With a Dog: Holiday With a Dog at the Sea or Lake

In midsummer, there is nothing better for many dogs than cooling off in the water. And swimming is not only a welcome refreshment but also excellent muscle training. We have put together a few tips for perfect bathing fun with your dog.

General bathing rules for swimming with dogs

Bathing rules are similar to those for humans: in hot temperatures, dogs should not jump straight into cold water, and bathing on a full stomach is taboo. Don’t underestimate the amount of sunlight reflected off the water, and protect dogs that have little or no thick fur with special dog sunscreen. The bath time depends on how well your four-legged friend swims, how old, and how to fit he is. But even a young and healthy professional swimmer should be given a compulsory break in the shade after 20 minutes. For older dogs, swimming is a gentle form of muscle-building exercise. Be particularly careful not to overload your four-legged friend here, even walking in waist-deep water is a good muscle exercise for a senior.

What actually is a water rod?

This is a very painful injury to the base of the tail and surrounding nerves. It often occurs with excessive bathing in cold water. The way the tail is held is characteristic: it is held horizontally for a few centimeters at the base of the tail and then bends limply downwards. A water rod is very painful and needs to be presented to the vet.

A lot of fun for sure: life jackets for dogs

Swimming is not only a great exercise but also quality time for the human-canine team. With floating fetch toys – or for advanced dogs dummies for diving – nothing stands in the way of the fun. The purchase of a life jacket is recommended.

On the one hand, many dogs exhaust themselves in the water – especially when toys are used – and are not good at assessing their own strength. On the other hand, a vest can also improve the swimming style of your four-legged friend. Many dogs swim with their necks stretched out and their hindquarters deep in the water. This can lead to overloading of the lower spine. The life jacket can help here because the dog gets buoyancy and lies horizontally on the water. Make sure it fits well and that the buoyancy cells are also placed on the abdomen. Since the tail is used for steering, the vest must not cover the base of the tail.
When bathing in saltwater, there are some additional bathing rules. Prevent your four-legged friend from swallowing large amounts of saltwater – this can lead to diarrhea and stomach cramps. Take a sufficient amount of drinking water with you to the beach. To avoid skin irritation, rinse your dog carefully with fresh water after the bath.

This is something to keep in mind at the dog beach

Playing on the beach has its pitfalls, as the sand can act like sandpaper in wet dog paws. Check their paws regularly and rinse them thoroughly after going to the beach. Also, think about sun protection on the beach – like sunscreen and a shady beach shell. After bathing, ear care is the order of the day: dry the ears carefully but thoroughly with an absorbent cloth, because the damp climate can lead to inflammation from water residue in the ears, especially in dogs with floppy ears.

Safety first: 4 tips for swimming with a dog

  • Never let your dog swim unattended.
  • Remove the collar or harness so your dog doesn’t get caught.
  • Find out about the water quality: blue-green algae can lead to poisoning.
  • Beware of strong currents in the sea or in rivers that your animal cannot cope with.

Self-proclaimed four-legged lifeguard

Some dogs have the urge to save their swimming owner: the owner suddenly disappears up to the head – that can make a four-legged friend nervous. Many dogs then swim up, which can lead to painful scratches and bruises on people’s backs. What you can do: If your dog is wearing a life jacket, use the life jacket’s handle to keep him at a distance. This works best while you still have ground under your feet. Pace calmly and praise your dog as he disciplines his swim alongside you. Getting involved in a game can also help, for example with a retrieval dummy. After a while, your dog will understand that you are not in distress. Calmness and patience are important – scolding and pushing away are counterproductive.

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