Can All Dogs Swim? | Animal Friends

Can All Dogs Swim?


It’s a common misconception that all dogs are able to swim and love being in the water.  Some canines dislike swimming and are more at risk in large bodies of water than others.

Although dogs have a natural instinct to paddle when they’re put in water, you may have noticed that your dog panics and has no idea how to swim in a specific direction. This can pose a risk to their health, especially if their natural build makes them a weak swimmer.

In this guide, we’ve shared a number of traits  that could help you identify whether  your dog will struggle to swim, along with how you can create a safe place for your dog to splash if they love being in water:

Can my dog swim safely?

The breed of your dog plays a huge part in how well they can swim. This is because they may not be able to support their own body weight.

If you’re wondering if your dog is a natural-born swimmer, the following features could suggest that they shouldn’t be left in water alone:

Short muzzles

To stay afloat, dogs with short muzzles need to be able to keep their nose and mouth above water. To prevent drowning, they have to tilt their heads up and their backs down – almost like they are standing up in water. This is a hard position to stay in and so they start to sink. For this reason, breeds with shorter muzzles, such as the Pug and Shih Tzu, may not be natural swimmers.


Short legs

Canines with short legs may also be weaker swimmers because they’ll struggle to paddle for long periods of time. They may also not be able to move enough water to swim in a certain direction.

Breeds such as the Daschund should never be in water above their shoulders for this reason.

Heavy chests

A heavy chest is another factor that could indicate a potential danger in dog swimming. This is because the animal may not be able to support their own weight and heavy coats could become waterlogged and weighed-down.

The Bulldog is a breed that suffers with a heavy chest, meaning they should always enter water with caution.


Safety tips for dog swimming

Whilst not all dogs are fantastic swimmers, your canine may love being in the water. If this is the case, it’s essential to provide a safe place for them to swim. This includes putting them in shallow water if their build and body is limiting them from being a good swimmer.

If your dog has a short muzzle, legs or a heavy chest, consider getting them to wear a lifejacket before they head out to paddle. This will help to support their neck, allowing them to breathe without accidentally dipping their head under water. A lifejacket will also help you to support your dog if you’re swimming with them in the water.

No matter whether your dog is a natural swimmer or needs some help with their paddling, you should always take the necessary precautions to protect your dog against waterborne hazards such as parasite and zoonotic infections.


As you can see, some canines aren’t always the best at swimming and your furry friend may need some assistance on their ventures into water. Remember that dog insurance  protects your pet against any accidents, injuries or infections that they may pick up in the water, allowing you to afford top-quality treatment to get your dog back into great heath.



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