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Do All Dogs Like To Swim

Updated on December 2, 2010

Pedro By The Pool

Pedro wondering just how big does a bathtub have to be?
Pedro wondering just how big does a bathtub have to be?

Hello There, VivBounty here with the question, "Do all dogs like to swim?". Well judging from personal experience my dogs have been as varied in personality, likes and dislikes as people.

It has been a long time that we humans have been breeding dogs for working, hunting and as pets. Naturally with evolution and intentional breeding some the wild instincts and traits of the wolf, from whom all dogs originally descend, have been lost.

We must also consider that dogs as domesticated pets come in all shapes and sizes now. Tiny miniature and toy breeds I've met generally cannot swim naturally. Also Basset hounds have thick heavy bodies with short legs and two I met, I'm guessing would have sunk, if anyone threw them in a pool.

My Pedro, one of a litter of ten, at best guess and varying opinions of vets, groomers and friends is a mix of Husky, Ibizan Hound, with a possible great grandfather who was a Spanish Mastiff. I just call him a dog.

I wouldn't force a dog to swim if he wasn't naturally inclined or willing to do so. Unless it's a matter of life and death, i would no more force a dog to swim than a friend.

Definitely a landlubber, this dog

So glad to be home back in the sand
So glad to be home back in the sand
At least there are cool spots on the beach, not like that concrete pool deck
At least there are cool spots on the beach, not like that concrete pool deck

Pedro Loves The Beach

Pedro loves the beach. He was raised running miles on the beach daily.

He once followed a wading bird, over the rocks in the shallows on "his" beach, Carabassi, near Los Arenales del Sol, where we lived on the Costa Blanca in Spain. It was the funniest scene as the bird began taking strides towards the water, Pedro with his long legs chasing after it, when it suddenly took flight at the end of the rocks. Pedro did a belly flop splashing into the sea. Shocked he paddled back bounding over the rocks to me on the sand panting with a surprised look on his face as if to say "How did that happen, Mummy?". Since then whenever we walked on the beach he backed away quickly as the tide came in, opting to tentatively "plop" only in very shallow water like a toddler likes to splash in puddles. He loves to run on the sand, play in the dunes and he loves his bath but no big water for him. As you can see from these photos, our trips to the beach were left until almost sunset to avoid the intense heat of the Spanish summer.

Pedro is a naturally clean dog. I groom and bathe him a couple of days before his flea and tick treatments each month, but in between it's amazing how clean he stays even as white as he is. By the time we would get home from the beach, a ten minute drive up a very steep rock cliff, all the sand would be off him and he'd be pure white again. We on the other hand, tracked sand in over the tiles in the treads of our running shoes. We eventually learned to carry a hand broom in the car. 

Thinking About It

Pedro thinking about it
Pedro thinking about it

Deciding Against It

Not his idea of fun, this big bathtub
Not his idea of fun, this big bathtub

When Pedro Saw His First Swimming Pool

After the surprise paddle in the Mediterranean, he definitely wasn't jumping into a pool regardless of whether I was in it or not. Our friends lived in Sax a town in our province of Alicante where we visited frequently toying with the idea of moving inland away from the humidity and tourism of the coast. Although it was cooler there at the higher altitudes, summer was still quite hot and having a pool, if one could afford it, made life so much more enjoyable.

The drive was an hour each way with our departure usually in the heat of high noon and our return in the evening when it was considerably cooler. You would have thought that Pedro would be so hot when he got there that he would just jump in the pool to cool off. Not!

While we jumped in to cool off, not having air conditioning in the car, He stayed on the side worrying about me in this big water. He has no problem hopping in the bathtub for his bath and even lets me shower the shampoo off him, but does not like cold water I suppose.

Tips To Keep Your Pooch Safe And Healthy On Hot Days

Dogs do not sweat like we do, they keep cool by by panting and they perspire through their foot pads and their noses. Their body temperature is higher than ours to begin with and they dehydrate very quickly in the heat. Here are some tips to keep your dog cool on days out during hot weather.

  • Carry or keep plenty of cool water nearby
  • Never leave your dog in a parked car. You'd be surprised how hot the car gets even in the shade with the window cracked open
  • For days on the beach, make sure there are trees for shade nearby or have a beach cabana-type shade pooch can share with you to keep cool
  • The sand and pavement like pool decks get hot and paws can burn so again a shady spot will have a cool surface
  • If your dog does swim, do not let him drink chlorinated or salt water
  • Like you the salt and chlorine dries their skin and damages their coat so make sure you rinse your dog off after a swim
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke, which requires immediate attention and can be fatal

So until next time, keep your pooch cool, carry lots of cool water, doggy bags to clean up after him, make sure there is shade nearby, and remember that if you prepare well, your dog really can go anywhere with you. We are living proof of that with our Spanish-born dog who has seen 5 countries and 5 Canadian provinces in his 5 years of life!

Prosperous Blessings, 

Fantastic Travel


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    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for your comment, Leah Kay, The Pup.

      You would love to be by the water with Pedro. I'm sure you would have such fun playing at the shore together. He has not been to the Gulf of Mexico yet, but we plan to take him very soon.

      Thanks for the tip about him not drinking the water. We watch him closely as we know some folks who swam in rivers back in Africa and got very sick years later. Now living in Toronto, they finally got tested at the tropical diseases centre to find they had picked up a parasite in their childhood swimming in rivers.

    • Leah Kay, The Pup profile image

      Leah Kay, The Pup 8 years ago from Anywhere-USA

      A very nice hub!!! As we are almost always by a lake, my mommy and daddy take me down and try to get me to swim, but I didn't like it too. But I sure love to "bite" and growl and the waves that come in. You should see me when we go to the Gulf of Mexico, boy those are some waves that come in and I sure don't know what to think of them!!

      If Petro ever gets near a lake or ocean, remember not to let him drink the water. Lake water or streams maybe clear, but they can carry bacteria that can hurt both us and our human companions!

    • VivBounty profile image

      VivBounty 8 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for your comment TrudyVan. Yes, he truly is our best friend, the sweet-spirited traveling dog, Pedro.

    • TrudyVan profile image

      TrudyVan Curre 8 years ago from South Africa

      Oh my goodness VivBounty. Love this hub. true interaction between woman and her dog. Love the pics of Petro. An exception pet.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      great hub