swimming-dog-on-float.jpgMost dogs enjoy swimming, but some cannot swim, and others may hate the water. Be conscious of your dog's preferences and skills before trying to make him swim.

If you're swimming for the first time with your dog, start in shallow water and coax him in by calling his name. Encourage him with toys or treats. Or, let him follow another experienced dog he is friendly with.

Never throw your dog into the water.

If your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs and help him float. He should quickly catch on and keep his back end up.

dog-swimming-W-LifeJacket.jpgDon't let your dog overdo it; swimming is very hard work and he may tire quickly.

The American Veterinary Medical Association encourages owners to outfit their pets with life jackets. They are available in various sizes, and the AVMA recommends dogs wear them at all times on the water, even if they are comfortable swimming. The AVMA also suggests keeping pets in a carrier or on a harness and leash if they are likely to jump out of the boat.

If swimming at the ocean, be careful of strong tides.

If you have your own pool, make sure your dog knows where the stairs or ladder are located. Be sure that pool covers are firmly in place; dogs have been known to slip in under openings in the covers and drown.

Never leave your dog unattended in water.

Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association, American Kennel Club

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