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How Long Can Dogs Swim?

how long can dogs swim in water

Swimming is one of the most enthralling activities everyone loves to engage in. But, of course, this will be more fun when you have a companion along. Compared to human best friends, people love to spend time with canines.

You might be astonished to know how that is possible, but this is the truth in reality. Compared to early times, more people love to have dogs and engage in all the activities they can. For example, do you know that you can go for a swim with your dog? If you are unaware of this trait in your dog, stay on this page and keep reading. Here we will discuss the aspects that will help you know about the interests dogs have in swimming and the duration for which they can swim. Let’s get started!

How long can a dog swim for?

According to research, a duration of 15–30 minutes is the ideal duration for dogs to swim. However, one cannot stick to this point because some breeds cannot be submerged in water for even one minute. Yes, breeds like bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pugs, Basset Hounds, Pekingese, and Boxers cannot swim for various reasons. But, most importantly, their physiology is responsible for it.

Thus, when you let your dog swim, get an idea about everything so that it will be easy for you to analyze whether sending them in the water for swimming is a good option or not.

Factors on which it depends on how long your dog can swim in water are

Multiple factors help you decide how long your dog can swim. These are as follows:

Dog breed

Dog breeds are the primary factor you need to keep in mind. Some dog breeds, like Retrievers and Spaniels, are natural swimmers. These breeds love to be in the water. On the other hand, some breeds, such as bulldogs, Dachshunds, Pugs, Basset Hounds, Pekingese, and Boxers, cannot even stay in the pool for 2 minutes. Some other breeds that love to be in water include Barbet, German Shepherd, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, English Setter, Boykin Spaniel, Curly-coated Retriever, Flat-coated Retriever, and so on.

Age

The dog’s age tells a lot about the activities it can engage in. The ideal lifespan of a dog is 10–18 years, and the rest varies from breed to breed too. When dogs reach their later stages, they get tired very quickly, and engaging in swimming will not be their thing. Thus, in the initial stages, from 5–10 years old, a dog can swim easily and actively.

Dog fitness level and health

Dogs’ fitness levels and health also significantly impact the duration for which they can swim. If your dog is fit, then it can be in the pool for around 20 minutes. But if they are going through some health conditions, they can’t. For example, if they are dealing with respiratory issues like asthma, they can’t be in the water for longer durations. Likewise, some health conditions are there that can’t let them swim. This also includes the mental and emotional health of the dog.

Conditions Like Temperature, Depth, Flow

Water conditions must be ideal according to the habitat of the dog. If the water conditions are not ideal, then swimming will not be an option. The ideal temperature of water for swimming is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Resting depends on the dog’s habitat as well. According to research, dogs’ ideal cold water temperature is 45 degrees Fahrenheit. But if the water is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and you let your dog in the water, they will suffer from hypothermia or be in a frostbite state.

Previous experience and training to swim

Training creates a big role. If your dog is unaware of how to swim, then sending him into a pool is not the right decision. Make sure to train them right, and start with little things only. If you send them in the pool right after the first day of training, they may drown in the water, which will let water into their bodies, leading to a trip to the vet.

Whether the dog enjoys swimming or not

Lastly, it is important to know whether your dog enjoys swimming or not. If they do not like to swim, it will be reflected in their faces. Signs to look out for are:

  • Easily distracted by sniffing
  • Losing interest
  • Hiding
  • Bad posture
  • Yawning
  • Lying down

Irrespective of all the factors, when you want your dog to swim, make sure to train them for the same. Different dog training centers are now available to train your dog for swimming and let the trainer do the rest of the work. If you are well-versed with the important steps to take while teaching them to swim, you can do it on your own. But be sure of the habitat of the breed you own.

How Long Can a Dog Tread Water?

Water treading is the activity when swimming is done in a vertical position. In this condition, the head will be above the water surface. Well, as a dog friend, you understand that dogs cannot tread as humans do due to the inability to touch the floor for a while, which makes them exhausted very quickly. So instead, they love to do the paddling. Dogs love to paddle, and they can do it constantly for the next 30 minutes. But it also depends on the dog breed you own. If the dog breed you have cannot swim or stay in water for longer durations, then thinking about paddling is just a thought.

How Long Should a Dog Swim in the Ocean?

When a dog steps into the ocean for swimming, it will be the same as usual. But do get an idea of what obstacles and other factors are because these have a major impact on how long your dog can swim safely in the ocean. The factors having an impact on swimming duration are as follows:

Sharp Objects

Sharp objects like shells and rocks are the significant causes of injury to dogs when they are in the ocean, and their presence affects their stay duration in the water too. In most cases, it happens that the dog consumes some garbage or other such thing, which leads to gastrointestinal issues.

Rip Currents

Rip currents refer to the current of water. These are strong, localized, and narrow too. These directly move away from the shore. Thus, be aware of the water tides, and if you sense any danger around, don’t take your dog for a swim. Irrespective of conditions, if you let your dog swim in such situations, be sure they are wearing a proper dog life jacket.

Consumption of Ocean Water

Ocean water is salty, and if consumed, your dog may get sick. In general, 1 gallon of ocean water has 22 tablespoons of salt that will be toxic if ingested. Thus, be sure to carry enough fresh water for them before heading towards the ocean.

Always let your dog in the ocean for 5 to 7 minutes, and then let them come out. This will assist them in maintaining a balanced state, and you can provide them with fresh water to drink and something to eat so that they do not experience cravings for water and food while inside the ocean.

Avoid rough ocean water

Rough ocean water is the condition when the weather is windy or stormy, and huge waves are also there. These weather conditions are not at all safe for dogs. Thus, make sure you are not taking your dog for a swim in such situations.

Be careful of ocean wildlife

How can we forget about considering ocean wildlife? The oceans are home to sea otters, dolphins, manatees, sharks, fish, corals, seabirds, whales, seals, sea lions, sea turtles, and countless other species of marine life. Thus, if you want to keep your dog safe, try to avoid taking them very far from the shore and also do not let them dive into the water to great depths.

Observe your dog

When your dog is in the ocean, it is important to notice the changes. Be sure to observe them for any irregular breathing, vomiting, or scratching after your dog swims in the ocean. This will indicate that they might be facing some issues, and you need to approach the doctor for treatment.

How Long Is It Safe for Dogs to Swim?

Well, if we look at the duration for which dogs can swim without facing any difficulties, then 10 minutes is enough, and the rest depends on the dog breed you own. Moreover, other things you need to consider include:

Puppies

Until and unless you have trained your puppy to swim, letting them be in a pool is not a good option. When you have trained them, then three to five minutes is ideal initially. The rest depends on the breed and the activities in which your dog can engage willingly.

Some puppies do not enjoy swimming at all, and if you allow them to be in the water, they may drown.

Senior Dogs and Dogs with Mobility Issues

For senior dogs and dogs with mobility issues, the ideal duration for swimming is 5-8 minutes only. This can be very therapeutic for senior dogs, but sometimes they get tired because they cannot stand on the floor while swimming.

As per research, swimming helps reduce the pain and strengthen the joints’ cartilage and muscles in osteoarthritic dogs.

Can dogs swim for a long time?

Swimming for a longer duration is not a good idea for dogs because they can only tread water. Dogs enjoy paddling. However, keep in mind that there are large breeds of dogs that cannot swim and will struggle if you put them in water.

The ideal duration for swimming is 15 to 20 minutes only. Some dog breeds love to be in the water, but you cannot consider it the best thing for them because an excess of anything is bad.

How long can a dog swim without drowning?

For dogs, 20 minutes is the ideal duration for swimming without drowning. But not to forget that other factors also decide the same and impact it. For example, if your dog is older than 8 (depends on breed), leaving them in a swimming pool for 20 minutes is not a good option.

Some dogs suffering from health issues do not love water, so be careful about what you give your dog before you send them into the water.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dogs Swimming

  1. What is the ideal water temperature for dogs while swimming?

    The ideal temperature for dogs to swim at is between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which needs to be maintained. The cool water's ideal temperature is 44.6 degrees Celsius, and below 1 degree, the conditions are not optimum for swimming at all.

  2. Which dog breed cannot swim?

    Dog breeds, including bulldogs, corgis, basset hounds, boxers, and pugs, cannot swim. The reason is their anatomy and facial structure. As a result, a lot of struggle is required by dogs to keep afloat when they go into the water for swimming.

  3. Which dog breed is the best swimmer?

    A lot of breeds are there that are the best swimmers. But, among all of them, the retrievers and spaniels are the natural swimmers.

  4. Is it bad for a dog if they swim every day?

    If the water is fresh and clean, then swimming can be a good option for dogs every day. But be sure of the duration because 5 to 10 minutes is enough if you use them for frequent swimming. Also, make sure the water is not contaminated with any chemicals like chlorine or others because it may negatively impact their skin and cause skin allergies.

  5. How to know if my dog is enjoying swimming or not?

    Facial expressions and the dog's activities say a lot about their mood. For example, if your dog loves to swim, it will be in a happy mood. Otherwise, they will start giving some indications by hiding somewhere, having bad posture, or yawning all the time.

  6. Why is cold water not suggested for dogs to swim in?

    Cold water is not suggested for dogs to swim in because they can suffer from hypothermia in cold water.

  7. Can dogs swim naturally?

    Unfortunately, dogs do not know how to swim, so you need to train them. If you are not teaching them to swim, they will not be able to do that.

The takeaway from all this

Swimming is a therapeutic activity for dogs and makes them feel happy. But be sure that they are enjoying it. If your dog is not happy with the swimming sessions, then chances are it may act up, which will make you feel annoyed. Also, please pay attention to the factors affecting the swimming session to ensure your dog’s safety. If you feel your dog is behaving differently, do approach the veterinary doctor immediately so that it will be easy to know what caused them to behave so and treatment can be started as soon as possible.

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anuja saxena author at anifirm

I am a dog lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.