Some dogs love to swim. Indeed it seems that some prefer water to land. They can smell the sea calling to them from a mile away! You mostly see dogs swimming on the surface of water, but can they dive and swim underwater?
There are lots of breeds that can dive. Dogs bred to retrieve a hunter’s fallen prey or save overboard shipmates are among some of the dog world’s best swimmers. There are even some breeds that have webbed feet! This helps them to swim even better.
Can dogs swim under water? Yes, most dogs can swim underwater. Some dogs love to swim underwater, and take to it very naturally.
Meet Bolt, Joe Caruana’s Fox Terrier who is eight and a half years and dives into the water. Bolt will jump in and retrieve stones by swimming down to the bottom under the water while holding his breath.
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Dogs have the natural ability to hold their breath when underwater. It isn’t really known how long a dog can hold its breath, just that they can hold their breath when needed.
In addition to a dog holding his breath, his body goes through other automatic changes when diving. His heart rate will slow and his blood vessels will narrow, both these processes will help your dog to conserve oxygen.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Swimming For Dogs?
There are lots of health benefits associated with swimming for dogs. It’s a great low impact way for them to get exercise. This means that swimming is great for dogs of all ages, even those with joint issues or those who need to lose some weight.
Swimming is great exercise for dogs and most of them enjoy playing in the water. Play and exercise are wonderful for your dog’s health and yours too! Because swimming is such good exercise it is also very tiring for your dog. This is a good thing. I tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
Swimming provides both mental and physical stimulation. This is important for all dogs. If you add diving to the mix this provides even more stimulation!
Swimming is also a good way to cool your dog down on a hot day. Especially, if your dog immerses himself in the water by diving down into it!
Swimming in warm water can provide pain relief to some dogs. Finding a warm spot to swim can be a little challenging though.
If your dog likes swimming under water, then diving provides special benefits like being great for your dog’s lungs. If your dog has to hold his breath to dive, then he increases his lung efficiency and capacity. This can help your dog when partaking in other physical activities.
What Precautions Should You Take When You Take Your Dog Swimming?
Not all dogs can swim. Be sure to check to make sure your dog can swim and likes to swim before sending your dog diving.
Swimming can be very tiring for some dogs, so be sure to introduce swimming slowly so your dog can build the muscles required to swim. It’s also a good idea to provide a life jacket for your dog if you think he may need one. Of course, a life jacket will very much hinder diving. But it’s nice for a dog who is just going for a swim or just getting started with swimming. Here are a few other tips when taking your dog swimming, especially if he likes swimming under water.
1. Always be sure to check the water temperature before allowing your dog to go for a swim. Dogs can suffer from hypothermia just like people. So, be sure the water is not too cold.
2. Before encouraging your dog to dive or jump into the water make sure that the water is deep enough. If it is not very deep your dog may be injured upon jumping in.
3. Where ever you are letting your dog swim be sure to bring along plenty of clean fresh water for him to drink. Then he won’t be tempted to drink any pool water, salt water, or potentially parisite ridden water.
4. It is also a good idea to hose your dog off after swimming. This will help to remove any chemicals, salt, or parasites from your dog’s skin and coat. It might be good to follow that with a bath and use a nice moisturising shampoo. Or a good brushing to help stimulate the dog’s skin to create healthy oils and then spread that oil throughout the fur.
5. You may also want to give your dog a couple of eye drops after swimming. Use a simple saline solution. This will help to flush out any chemicals or salt and soothe the eyes if they are irritated.
6. Some dogs such as Springer Spaniels may be more likely to develop an ear infection after swimming. This is usually due to water in the ear. So, cleaning your dog’s ears after swimming or diving is a good plan. You can use a solution of half apple cider vinegar and half filtered water. This will help to dry out any dampness in the ear. You can use a cotton ball (never cotton swabs!) to gently dry the ear as well.
Is It Ok For Your Dog To Swim Underwater In A Swimming Pool?
If your dog swims in your pool, keep in mind that chlorine can damage your dog’s skin, ears, and eyes. This is because dogs can be more sensitive to chemicals than humans. It’s a good idea not to overdo it with the chlorine (if it’s your pool) and remember to wash your dog with clean fresh water after he’s finished playing in the pool. This will help to remove any harmful chemicals.
When a dog swims in your pool, he may also bring in lots of things you may not want in your pool. It is said that one dog is like having three people in your pool, because of all the contaminates they can bring in!
Be sure that your dog has an easy way to get out of the pool as well. Teach your dog how to exit the pool even if he hates water. This is a great precaution. You never know if your dog might fall into the pool. If he does he should know how to get out.
Is It Ok To Let Your Dog Swim In Sea Water?
If you are letting your dog swim or dive in the sea be aware that the salt can burn his eyes and cause irritation. It is also important to note that you should not let your dog drink salt water. This can cause salt toxicity and make your dog very sick.
Be aware of rip tides when swimming in the sea as well. These can rip your dog’s feet right out from under him and carry him away from shore. This can be a very dangerous situation, so be aware and be safe.
Keep an eye out for fishing gear at the beach as well. Be on the lookout for other things that have been washed up on the beach that could pose a threat to your dog. This could include jellyfish, broken glass, fish, and a myriad of other things.