How to Prepare Yourself for Swimming with a Dog?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 07/28/23 •  6 min read
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If you’re a dog owner who loves to swim, chances are you have considered sharing this joyous experience with your furry best friend. Swimming with your dog is an incredible way to bond with your pet while contributing to their physical health and mental well-being. However, to dive into this water adventure and ensure it turns out to be a tail-wagging experience, you need to be prepared, and so does your little companion. We will discuss how to get your pooch used to the water, the importance of training before taking the plunge, and the role of learning aid toys. And what’s more, we will also delve into what you as an owner should ensure, including your safety with gear like aqua shoes and other essentials you should not forget to bring.

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How to Prepare Yourself for Swimming with a Dog?

Adoption of the Swimming Idea

Not all dogs are natural swimmers. Breeds like a Basset Hound due to their short legs or a Pug due to their brachycephalic (short nose) nature may have trouble swimming, while a Labrador Retriever might take to water like, well, a duck! So, do thorough research about your dog’s breed and consult your vet before introducing them to swimming.

Training Your Dog for Swimming

Diving right into deep water can be intimidating for a dog. Start with shallow water, slowly encouraging them to paddle their paws. Be gradual and patient in easing them into the water. Turn swimming into a fun game by using floating toys, which can serve to engage your pet and teach them breathing control. Finally, remember that early and regular exposure is key to your furry friend becoming a confident swimmer.

The Importance of Aqua Shoes for You

When venturing into aquatic environments with your pet, protection for your feet is paramount. As important as it is to ensure your dog’s safety during adventurous, so too is providing your own by equipping yourself adequately. Selecting a comfortable, well-fitted pair of aqua shoes made from quick-drying, breathable material should be your priority. Lightweight and water-friendly materials aid in providing optimum performance, without causing discomfort or chafing.

Moreover, the grip the shoe provides cannot be underestimated, especially when around slippery terrains such as pool edges or rocky outdoor swimming spots. Quality water shoes boast a robust outsole with strong anti-slip properties, ready for every underwater scenario and safeguarding against potential injuries. The next benefit is the protection they provide against potential hazards lurking in the water or on the beach. Sharp shells, jagged rocks, or hot sand; there’s an array of elements you need to protect your feet from. Consider checking out to find shoes that offer this kind of protection.

Let’s not forget fit! Swimming shoes that do not fit correctly are more than just an inconvenience. Shoes too loose may come off in the water, while ones too tight can cause discomfort and impede movement. There is nothing worse than getting pebbles or sand in your shoes when they’re too big, or experiencing discomfort in ones that are too small. Hence, ensure you buy shoes that snugly fit your feet for an uninterrupted, enjoyable swim.

Other Essential Items to Bring

How to Prepare Yourself for Swimming with a Dog?

Besides aqua shoes, there is a range of other items to bring along that can ensure a successful, safe, and pleasurable swimming experience for both you and your furry mate:

  1. The leash gives you control over your dog, especially in unfamiliar environments or near water;
  2. Towels would come in handy in drying your pet after a swim, keeping them warm, and saving your car seats from getting drenched;
  3. Treats can help reward and encourage a dog during swimming lessons;
  4. Drinking water serves to keep you both hydrated throughout this exercise session;
  5. For dogs who are not strong swimmers or those new to the waters, a life jacket could potentially be a lifesaver;
  6. Swimming toys can stimulate their instinct to ‘fetch’ and attract them into the water, thus making the entire session more enjoyable;
  7. A canine first aid kit is always wise to carry along. It can help in dealing with unanticipated incidents like cuts, scrapes, or insect bites. The contents should include items such as tweezers, saline solution, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, and bandages;
  8. Don’t forget to bring sun protection products. Despite their furs, they can get sunburned too, especially those with short or light-colored coats. Products free from zinc oxide can protect your dog from harmful sun rays. And, remember, your skin needs protection too. Carry your sunblock along and ensure both you and your dog can enjoy a day out in the sun without worrying about sunburns.

Creating a checklist of these items and ticking them off before you head out ensures that your swimming adventure is safe, fun, and truly unforgettable.

Safety Measures

Ensuring safety when hitting the water with your dog is not just an essential aspect of preparation, but a necessity to make this activity enjoyable and stress-free. Several procedures and precautions are worth considering before your aquatic adventure begins.


Swimming with your dog combines physical activity, fun, and bonding. The activity comes with a multitude of benefits both for the pet and the owner, including fitness and the pure joy of frolicking in the water. For these adventures to be a success, preparedness, and safety are vital. So, equip yourself and your pet and dive into the exhilarating world of swimming.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!