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Essential Water Safety Tips for Dogs: Keep Your Dog Safe in the Water | Pupford

December 26th, 2023

Filed under Pet Parenting

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As responsible pet parents, it's crucial to understand the importance of water safety for dogs.

Raising a dog comes with its own set of challenges, and ensuring their well-being in aquatic environments requires a positive and empathetic approach.

Keep your furry friend safe and happy in the water with these essential water safety tips for dogs. By following these guidelines, you can provide a safe and enjoyable water experience for your canine companion.

Related: How to Teach a Dog to Swim + Can All Dogs Swim?


Assessing your dog's swimming abilities and comfort level in the water is the first step towards ensuring their safety. Different dog breeds and body types have varying swimming abilities, so it's essential to understand your dog's specific traits. While some breeds are natural swimmers, others may struggle due to physical characteristics.

It's important to always supervise your dog near water, especially if they are new to swimming.

Gradual introduction to water activities is key, allowing your dog to build confidence and develop their skills over time. By understanding your dog's individual abilities and providing appropriate supervision and gradual exposure, you can ensure their safety and create a positive experience in the water.

Remember, each dog is unique, and a patient and empathetic approach is essential to help them enjoy and navigate aquatic environments with ease.


dog swimming safely in ocean

Selecting safe and suitable water environments for your dog is paramount. Be aware of potential hazards such as strong currents, tides, bacteria, and water pollution that can pose a threat to your furry friend.

Aim to choose calm and controlled water environments, such as swimming pools, dog-friendly beaches, or designated dog parks. These locations often have regulated water conditions and offer a safer experience for your dog. However, it's important to exercise caution even in these environments and assess the conditions before allowing them to enter. Make sure to give them access to fresh water as well to prevent them from drinking from these water sources.

Related: [Quiz] What Should You Do With Your Dog This Summer?

Unfamiliar bodies of water, such as rivers or lakes, may present unknown risks. By being mindful of the water environments you choose, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents and ensure a pleasurable and secure water experience for your beloved canine companion.

For example, the most common place for a dog to contract Leptospira bacteria is in stagnant or slow-moving water or along the banks of rivers. This bacteria can lead to fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, and more. So doing research before allowing your dog into a certain body of water is advisable.


Teaching basic water skills and behaviors starts by introducing them to water gradually, allowing them to become familiar with the sensation. Positive reinforcement and rewards play a significant role in encouraging good behavior.

  • Gradual water entry and exit: Start by teaching your dog how to enter and exit the water safely, beginning in shallow areas. As their confidence grows, gradually progress to deeper areas. This step-by-step approach allows them to acclimate to the water at their own pace. We DO NOT recommend throwing, pushing, or splashing them with water as this can make them more fearful of water when they are already unsure about it.
  • Retrieving objects: Train them to retrieve objects from the water. Start by tossing a toy or a floating object near the shore and gradually increase the distance. This skill can be both fun and useful for activities like playing fetch or water rescue situations. Use toys or treats to motivate them to swim and practice floating.
  • Water safety cues: Introduce specific cues or behaviors that signal to your dog when it's safe to enter or exit the water. For example, use words like "enter" or "exit" coupled with hand signals to provide clear instructions.
  • Water recall: Practice recall exercises in water settings to ensure your dog can return to you, even in water. This skill is essential for their safety and can prevent them from getting lost or venturing too far into the water.

With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can help your dog develop essential water skills and behaviors, ensuring a positive and enjoyable swimming experience for both of you.


Understanding common water hazards is vital for keeping your dog safe. Be aware of potential dangers such as toxic algae, submerged objects, and dangerous wildlife that could pose a threat.

Learn how to recognize signs of distress in dogs, such as excessive fatigue or panic, and respond promptly to water-related emergencies with first aid.

Get more first-aid tips from a veterinarian from our Dog First Aid Course in Pupford Academy+. 


use life vests when teaching dog to swim

While dog life jackets can provide an extra layer of protection, exercise caution and use them responsibly. Remember that life jackets should never replace active supervision. Regardless of whether your dog is wearing a life jacket, remain vigilant and attentive to their well-being.


Maintaining proper hydration during and after water activities is crucial for your dog's well-being. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water before, during, and after swimming to prevent dehydration. This often goes overlooked when swimming with your pup. Keeping a water bowl nearby and encouraging your dog to drink regularly is important.

After swimming, it's recommended to rinse your dog's coat to remove chlorine, salt water, or any other potential irritants. This helps prevent skin and coat issues. Use clean, fresh water to thoroughly rinse their fur, paying attention to sensitive areas such as their ears and paws. Gently dry them afterward. When rinsing, be sure to use a dog-safe shampoo that can help clean their coat, prevent fleas and ticks, and more.

Related: 25 Activities To Do With Your Dog This Spring/Summer

Additionally, provide shade and rest for your dog after swimming to allow them to recover and regulate their body temperature. By prioritizing hydration, rinsing off irritants, and allowing adequate rest, you can ensure your dog stays comfortable, healthy, and happy during and after their water adventures.


how to teach dog to swim

By taking the necessary precautions and following the outlined water safety tips, water activities can become a delightful experience for dogs and their families. It is crucial to understand your dog's abilities, select safe water environments, train them in basic water skills, stay aware of potential hazards, and prioritize their hydration and post-swimming care.

Pupford is dedicated to providing professional and enjoyable guidance to pet parents, ensuring that our dogs can safely enjoy water adventures. Let's dive in, implement these water safety measures, and create unforgettable moments with our beloved dogs!

Related: 7 Hacks to Keep Dogs Cool in Summer Heat


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