Dangers of swimming with dogs

Always keep an eye on the animal

Hamburg. In summer temperatures, some dogs become real water rats. However, dogs don't necessarily have a sense of the dangers lurking in the cool water. FOUR PAWS gives tips on how dog owners can safely go swimming with their four-legged friends and minimize dangers.

While humans regulate their body temperature by sweating, dogs can do this mainly by panting. So it's no wonder that not only humans enjoy a refreshing dip in the cool water on hot days, but also many dogs love jumping into the water. But just like with humans, there are a few risks to be aware of with four-legged friends. “When the outside temperature is high and the water is cold, we should slowly get our bodies used to the water to prevent cardiovascular problems and muscle cramps. This also applies to dogs,” says Dr. Judith Förster, a qualified biologist and pet expert at FOUR PAWS.

Some dogs are excellent swimmers and love the water, others avoid it at first. But there are also breeds, such as bulldogs or dachshunds, that are not particularly good swimmers due to their body structure. “In principle, swimming is a healthy form of exercise for dogs and good for the back. Animals that are not so keen on water can be accustomed to the cool water with patience and calm. Going into the water with your pet offers it a certain level of safety. You can also support the dogs with a life jacket. It is important that the four-legged friends do not completely exhaust themselves so that they can associate the water with calm. But regardless of whether they are good swimmers or not, you should always keep an eye on your pet, especially if there are currents in the water,” recommends the pet expert.

Playing in the water
Dogs also like to fetch balls and other objects in the water. The toy should only float on the surface, be clearly visible and not be thrown too far. “At a great distance, the dog can lose sight of the toy, search for it in vain and lose energy as a result. If the animal finds the object easily, it also has a sense of achievement,” explains Judith Förster.

When the dog comes out of the water, it is important to dry it off well. This prevents skin irritation and matting, especially in animals with undercoats. To avoid ear infections, care should be taken to ensure that the ears are also dry. With all the water sports, it is important that the animal has something to drink, because despite playing in the water, the dog can become dehydrated. Judith Förster knows: “Animals that swim in the sea in particular should not drink salt water, as this can lead to gastrointestinal problems.”