Skip to content

NEW! Check out our new shop!

Safe swimming for dogs

Water Safety: How to Keep Your Dog Safe Near Water

These top tips will give you a checklist for how to keep your dog safe near water.

As it gets toastier moving into summer, you might be eyeing the pool, beach, lake, or river (or all of the above!) more and more. With your best pal panting beside you, you’re probably thinking about helping them have some fun. Before venturing out with your buddy, take some time to prepare for potential hazards, so that you both have a great time!

Dog Water Safety


  • Stay with your dog. Never leave your dog alone when they’re swimming or near water. And even when you’re near, you need to pay attention – dogs can tire or something sudden can happen that puts their life in danger. Always remember…
  • Things can happen fast! You might think you’ll notice before anything bad happens, but threats can be quick, quiet, or both, having few or no signals of what’s going on. Stay alert!
  • Think about their breed. The build of short-nosed breeds (like pugs, bulldogs, boxers, shih tzus, and other brachycephalic breeds), makes it such that swimming is more dangerous for them. Keep an especially close eye on them.
  • Take breaks. Take these breaks regularly to help your friend stay healthy. Be aware of the signs of fatigue in your dog and don’t hesitate to intervene if necessary. 


  • No drinking the water. No matter if you’re visiting saltwater or freshwater, don’t let your dog drink the water – he should only drink the tap water that you provide. Drinking either fresh- or saltwater can make him sick – and can even be deadly.
    • In particular, avoid letting your dog swim in water containing blue-green algae, which can make them sick.
  • Provide plenty of water. Being active on hot summer days will make your pup thirsty, so make sure to guide them to drink the “good” water you bring. Keep lots available so he or she is less likely to drink the water she’s swimming in. And, if your pup keeps drinking the “bad” water and won’t stop, take her away from it.
  • No eating mystery things. Be sure to keep your pal from eating any fish or other water creatures that have washed up on the shore. They can be quite dangerous, including potentially making your dog sick.

Dog in a life vest


  • Currents, branches, and hidden hazards. Even the calmest looking water can have dangerous currents underneath – and choppy water can too. The last thing you want is your pup taken under or swept away. Keep a close eye on the weather conditions, the forecast, and what the water looks like. If you’re at the beach, look for advice on whether there’s a stronger riptide current. If something looks risky, stay safe by staying out of the water.
  • Life vests. It’s wise to consider purchasing a life vest for your four-footed friend to provide added protection for them. Be sure it’s one for dogs and follow manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure it fits properly –  not too loose and not too tight.
  • Check the water temperature. Even dogs with thick coats can have issues with cold water, and dogs with thin coats are particularly vulnerable. Smaller dogs, older dogs, and dogs with medical conditions are also at greater risk. If it’s cold for you to stand or wade in, it’s likely too cold for your pal. Temperature range advice often states around 50℉ as the lowest temperature your dog should swim in. (Of course avoid water that’s too hot, too – no hot tubs, please!)
  • Rinse off. It’s important to rinse your dog off after swimming. For instance, the salt in saltwater or the chemicals in pool water can be irritating to their skin and harmful if licked. (If bathing your furry friend is a struggle, naturally our Day Spa can help!)


  • Don’t get overconfident. You might think your dog is too strong a swimmer to have any issue with the currents or other hazards, but conditions can change rapidly and cause serious threats. Pay close attention to the water and your pup and be sure to take precautions.

The water is one of the most fun parts of the beach, pool, or other water body – yet it can also be dangerous if you’re not providing good supervision. Water and its surroundings are full of hazards, but if you act wisely and preemptively, they’ll pose no issues for you and your pal’s fun day. Plan in advance, take a few precautions, and you’re much more likely to have a safe and fun trip to the water!

Back To Top