June 29, 2022, 0:39

    Expert shares how to teach your dog to swim and stay safe in water

    Expert shares how to teach your dog to swim and stay safe in water

    With the weather heating up, you may be tempted to take your dog for a dip, but it's important to be clued up before they start treading waters.

    Despite being famed for their 'doggy paddle', some breeds just aren't natural-born swimmers – and you shouldn't force them to be.

    Canine swimming instructor Andy Brownlie, owner of Canine Dip and Dive, shares his advice for teaching your puppy how to swim and make sure you're doing it safely.

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    Where should I take my dog swimming?

    When taking your dog for their first swim, you must prioritise their safety.

    Andy told The Mirror : "Choose a place where your dog can enter and exit the water easily to save you having to jump in to help them.

    "Somewhere like a lake or slow moving river that won't wash them downstream is ideal, but be aware of toxic blue green algae in the warmer months."

    Encourage your dog to get into the water with a toy
    (

    Image:
    Getty Images)

    How do I get my dog in the water?

    "Try throwing your dog's favourite toy or ball into the shallows and see how they get on," Andy says.

    "If they seem confident, then throw it further out until they are swimming out of their depth.

    "For most dogs, this is easy and great fun, but for others it can be quite scary and they can panic or not have proper technique.

    "If your dog is extremely nervous and won't get in the water, you need to take your time and be gentle."

    Andy says you shouldn't throw your dog in the water or drag them by the lead.

    "These dogs are likely to never swim. All you will do here is reinforce their thoughts that water is scary and should be avoided," he says.

    A life jacket is great for paddle boarding or boating, but you should avoid using one if you're teaching your dog to swim – as they need to learn to stay buoyant themselves.

    One minute of swimming is equivalent to walking a mile
    (

    Image:
    Getty Images/EyeEm)

    How long should my dog go swimming?

    While you might think that your dog can swim for a while, it's quite surprising how quickly they get tired.

    Andy says: "An important thing to remember is one minute of swimming is equivalent to walking a mile – so don't let you dog swim continuously for more then half an hour.

    "They could suddenly develop cramp or just become exhausted. If you dog does get into trouble at sea, don't put your life at risk, dial 999 and ask for the coastguard."

    Be wary of currents, shallow water and green algae
    (

    Image:
    Getty Images/Aurora Open)

    What are some of the dangers of swimming?

    Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, they can still drown if they become panicked in a current or exhausted in trapped water.

    To prevent this, you should always keep a close eye on them and the area they are swimming.

    "If your dog is confident, you may find they enjoy diving in at speed or from height. Please check the water before letting them do this," Andy says.

    "If the water is too shallow, they could break their legs or be impaled by sunken dangers such as branches.

    "Just because you have been there before doesn't mean it's still safe."

    Andy advises looking out for burps and says they help to prevent bloating.

    "If their tummy starts to expand and go hard like a balloon, treat them like a baby with wind," he says.

    "If it persists, don't let them back in the water. They will eventually burp or throw up."

    You must also be aware that salt water can be fatal when ingested in large quantity.

    "If they start drinking seawater, stop them!" Andy says.

    "Sodium poisoning can kill quickly so keep plenty of fresh water with you and watch out for signs of upset tummy, excessive weeing, vomiting or collapse.

    "If you suspect sodium poisoning, you must get to a vet immediately."

    Do you have dog advice to share? Email nia.dalton@reachplc.com.

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    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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