Dog Swimming Safety Tips

Many dogs are naturally drawn to water. Some dogs take to the water immediately, while other dogs could use a swimming lesson or two. Swimming can be a great way to meet your dog’s exercise needs, and provide a low-impact option of movement. In the summer heat, it’s an ideal way to cool off as well!

Swimming safety is an important practice for both you and your dog. Even the strongest swimmers can get into trouble in the wrong situation. Being prepared before you go swimming together is a must. Your dog will more than likely encounter three different swimming options, each one of them with different requirements.

Swimming Pool:

  • Your dog should never have access to an un-fenced pool alone.
  • Train your dog to swim to the steps to get out of the pool each time.
  • Invest in an alarm that sounds when the surface of the water is broken (by a falling child or pet).
  • Consider purchasing a pet ramp for extra peace of mind.

Natural bodies of water:

  • Remember that currents can be unpredictable!
  • Even if the water seems ‘shallow’, major drop offs can happen. Wear a doggie life jacket to be safe.
  • If your dog doesn’t have a solid recall, enjoy outdoor swimming experiences on a long cotton or nylon leash


  • Many dogs love riding in the boat. Just like people, they should have a life jacket on!
  • Keep a long leash on the boat at all times in case you need to restrain your dog for any reason
  • Expect to let your dog swim when the boat stops and everyone else takes a dip- a boat ramp may be needed to help your dog back aboard.

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