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The dog paddle may seem like it comes naturally to dogs – and for some it does – but even the best swimmers need some training. The American Kennel Club (AKC®) helps dog owners teach their four-legged friends how to swim and be safe around the pool so they can beat the summer heat together.


  • First and foremost, never leave your dog unsupervised while in the pool!  He may need your help and be unable to bark to grab your attention.
  • Start slowly.  It’s important to build confidence in your dog around the pool.  Even breeds that are natural swimmers tend to be afraid the first time they enter the water, so be sure to take it slowly in shallow water and praise your dog every step of the way.
  • Take it one step at a time.  Don’t let your dog overdo it when he swims.  Swimming is great exercise, but as with any workout it should be increased in small increments.  Your dog is using new muscles and may get tired quickly.
  • Learning the dog paddle.  If your dog begins to dog-paddle with his front legs only, lift his hind legs to help him float.  He should quickly catch on and will then keep his back end up.
  • Using a ladder to exit the pool can cause your dog to panic.  Dogs are not used to using the ladder, and will need to be taught how to use them.
  • Spray your dog with the hose after he gets out of the pool to rinse off the chemicals from the pool water.
  • Dab your dog’s ears with a dry towel or use a blow dryer on cool to get rid of excess moisture.  Most ear infections in dogs with floppy ears are caused by too much water and dampness.


For more pool safety tips, visit the AKC at

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