Hot Dogs Love to Swim!

Posted by Raja on September 10th, 2013 — Posted in Health

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For resident dogs in the US Central and Atlantic regions, the summer has been brutally hot. For California and Southern regions, the heat never actually goes away for long. What’s a furry dog to do when temperatures soar? Just lie around the house?

Raja says, “NO! Take to the water!”

Raja mastering his dog paddle.

Most dogs can swim, although admittedly some dogs do it more naturally than others. Who are the great swimmers in the dog world? The spaniels and the setters are usually naturals. Newfoundlands, Portuguese Water Dogs and Goldens also are often great swimmers. Is every individual in these groups a swimmer. Absolutely not. Dogs are land animals, and some just do not swim well or cheerfully.


This blog is not for them. A safe three inches of water in a wading pool is for them. Dogs, like children, should not be forced to do sports for which show no aptitude or interest.

Here’s Sherpa, the Tibetan Spaniel showing how a good doggy cools off on a hot day in his backyad pool. Returning to the idea of dogs who can manage in water, most dogs can learn to swim and most dogs end up enjoying swimming, which can be extremely beneficial. Water cools the core, exercises the legs, strengthens the spine and gives dogs a feeling of confidence discovering a new skill. While many dogs will leap into water and swim forcefully and competently, no dogs should be left alone in water and most dogs should be closely supervised.

To teach a dog to swim, gently carry him into a warm pool’s shallow end. Walk beside him supporting his mid section. Let him get his bearings, wait for him to paddle and gently release your tight hold, keeping a hand under his chest. Stay by his side. If your dog seems to swim feebly or drop in the rear quarters, fish him out and buy him a canine flotation device to make his swims safer and less strenuous.

As for Raja, seriously, how does he like his new sport? It went like this: surprise (what’s she thinking!?), disbelief (she actually did drag me in here?), paddling (hey this isn’t bad), stronger paddling (my tail seems awfully heavy), emerging confidence (yes, I can keep my tail up if I give it a little effort), pride (I am the new Michael Phelps). He likes it a lot, but he can’t be expected to jump in on his own, can’t be left alone in a pool and can’t be asked to swim for more than ten minutes dragging his water logged coat.

If you have access to a pool, never let your dog swim alone. Provide two exit ramps on either side of the pool and teach him to get himself out. Watch out for signs of fatigue. Stay in the shallow end. A scared dog might leap on top of you and it would be best to have your feet on the bottom and your upper body out of the water so you are safe if your dog panics. Swimming benefits the young and fit but also dogs who are recovering from injuries (by doctor’s permission), overweight dogs, dogs with joint troubles, elderly dogs, bored dogs and hot dogs.

Raja's own backyard pool.

For those of us who don’t have big pools, a hot little dog can get a large size blow up pool like Sherpa’s and have loads of swimming fun in a small space. Here’s Raja’s own backyad pool. Not Olympic in size, but Olympic enough for him!



Comment by Cy

You are an inspiration to doggy athletes everywhere! you and Sherpa look like you are having great fun swimming and I understand it is making you more fit while doing it. I haven’t tried swimming yet but mom says it will be my next training exercise and I am ready to get started!
Your pal,

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 3:15 am

Comment by Sheryll & Critters.

Oh Raja, you and Sherpa are doing so fabulously in your swimming laps.

I meant to buy my fur kids one of those kiddie pools, only I was thinking a hard shell one, but either they did not have them or I did not have the money when they did. And then there popped up the thought of ‘how’ to get it home.

I need to research this a bit more and see if I can order one to be picked up at the Walmart.

Thanks for the inspiration Raja & Helen and Sherpa too.

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 6:52 am

Comment by Raja and Helen


It’s not going to be heavy or expensive. Raja’s cost 19.99 using Amazon. But I bet if you go into any of those Christmas Tree Shops or 40 Below shops or even dollar stores, you could find a blow up pool for the fur kids to have fun in. My guess is the kitties will only want to cool their toes anyway. Galahad however might be a natural swimmer. You never know!

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

Comment by Vern

Vern loves to walk in the water. We have a baby pool for them outside, but he’s the only one who will go in it willingly. When we walk them along the beach, he always walks in the water. I’m sure he’d swim given the opportunity but I’ve never had him in deeper waters.

I read that a dog’s sweat glads is around the pads of their feet, so walking in water is a great idea. I’m glad Vern does it willingly. On hot days, if outdoors, I always have Chloe and Cokenee stand in cool water periodically to keep them cooled down.

Great read as usual. Thank you

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 8:51 am

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