A happy dog learning to swim in a pool.

Dog Pool Training: What You Need to Know


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Most people think when they take their dog swimming they’ll instantly take to it, just like how they learned how to walk. But for your dog’s own safety it’s best not to assume they’ll be naturally equipped with swimming skills. The fact remains that dog and pools can be bad new together, even the most experienced Portuguese Water Dog!

So, supervise yours in a pool just as you would supervise a child trying to swim in a pool.

Water safety is a top priority for all of us Aussies, especially as temps rise over summer. Our goal is to keep you informed as a pet owner, so you can keep your pets as safe as possible. Read more on how to train your dog to swim in a pool…

Black dog enjoys a refreshing swim in a pool.

How to train your dog to use the pool steps

Teaching your dogs to use the pool steps gives them a safe way in, and, more importantly, allows them to get out safely.

Step 1 (literally)

You should always introduce your dog to the pool under your close supervision. Initially, lead your dog into the pool and out again via the steps. Repeat this process several times over the next few days. Continue to guide them to the steps until they learn that’s how they get in and how they get out.

Every summer, give them a refresher course!

Step 2

In addition to entering and exiting the pool, help your pup swim around before returning to the steps. No matter whether you carry your dog or encourage them to swim to you, it’s fine either way.

The pattern of entering and exiting the pool via the steps and moving them into the water and back again is a very effective way of pool training.

Despite most dogs being able to doggy paddle intuitively, getting out of the pool without using the stairs can be challenging. If a dog can’t find their way out, they could end up drowning even if they’re good swimmers.

Dogs that don’t know how to use the pool steps are at risk of drowning if they aren’t trained.

Dog pool safety tips

Dogs sweat through their paw pads 🐾, but this isn’t enough to keep them cool. It’s why they pant on a hot day. You can help your dog cool off by letting them swim in a dog pool, provided you follow all the safety measures.

Here are 6 water safety tips for your doggo:

  1. Get a dog pool ramp or portable pool steps and teach your pup how to use them.
  2. The best thing you can do for your dog if they can’t swim is to give them a swimming life jacket or a flotation device (especially if they’re one of the brachycephalic breeds).
  3. Be aware of what’s happening at all times, as your pet’s chances of getting into trouble are lower if you keep an eye on them.
  4. Keep your pool fenced off with a dog pool fence (also good for child safety) if you can’t supervise.
  5. Salt or chlorine pools are fine for dipping, but not for drinking, so make sure that’s not happening too.
  6. Avoid leaving your dog unattended around a soft pool cover.

The last point is that unless the pool cover is sturdy and can hold their weight, dogs can fall in and get trapped under. They’ll have little chance of escaping drowning if this happens.

Tip: A pet cooling mat is another great way to keep pets cool besides a dog pool.

First-time dog or cat owners: what information do you need? Our goal is to help you become the best fur parent you can be. Check out our articles below:

  1. Tips to Keep a Dog Safe at the Beach
  2. First Time Pet Owner: Preparing Mentally
  3. Dry Cat Food or Wet? How to Choose
  4. Dog Won’t Eat Dry Food? Try This.
  5. 6 Steps to Finding an Ethical Dog Breeder
  6. How to Spot a Puppy Scam and Buy Safely
Welsh Corgi playing with a ball in a swimming pool.

Dog friendly beaches in Australia

In addition to pooch friendly pools, dog friendly beaches are also a great spot to frequent on hot days. Since we love getting sand in our toes and spending time at the beach with our dogs, here’s a list of some of Australia’s best dog-friendly beaches.

  • South City Beach Dog Beach – Perth, Western Australia
  • Mentone Beach – Mentone (close to Melbourne), Victoria
  • Tallow Beach – Byron Bay, New South Wales
  • Beachmere Beach – Beachmere (close to Brisbane), Queensland
  • Noosa Spit Dog Beach – Noosa Heads, Queensland

Do you know about dry drowning?

It is common to see drowning as an in-the-moment water hazard, but dry drowning or secondary drowning can occur hours or days later. Long after a dog is out of the water, they may experience breathing difficulties caused by excessive water intake.

The symptoms of this condition include coughing, wheezing, drooling, and lethargy. In the event your dog has taken in a lot of water from the pool, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Gorgeous brown dog swims in a sparkling swimming pool to his pal, a Portuguese Water dog.

Accessories for safe dog swimming

Preparation is key to ensuring your dog’s safety around the pool. The first step is to prevent your pet from getting into the pool without your guidance. A child-safe pool cover or a fence with a locking gate around the structure can accomplish this.

It is also possible to install an alarm for your pool, whereby motions around the pool or breaks in the water surface are detected by the automatic pool alarm system. When that happens, a tone is emitted, and some systems even send a message to a smartphone app.

What dog breed really enjoys swimming? The Portuguese Water Dog

The Portuguese Water Dog takes to the water like an Olympic medallist! 🌊 5 fun facts about these water-loving pups below:

  1. The breed is known in Portuguese as ‘Co de água’, which means ‘Dog of the Water.’
  2. Since the Portuguese Water dog has a thick, curly, waterproof coat, constant exposure to water isn’t a problem.
  3. Swimming for extended periods of time without tiring isn’t a problem for these doggos either.
  4. They’re strong-willed and willing to confront any aquatic challenge if it means pleasing their owners.
  5. They helped Portuguese fishermen catch fish, fetch gear from the water, and deliver messages to other boats. How cool is that? 🏆

At a pier, a black and white Portuguese Water dog gazes at the water.

Why do you need pet insurance?

In their quest to explore the world around them, dogs and cats can get into a whole heap of trouble. The good news is that you can protect them with dog insurance or cat insurance. Getting pet insurance means peace of mind that your pet is covered, and that unexpected illnesses and injuries will be taken care of.

PD Insurance gives you one or more months of FREE pet insurance when you buy online. Click below to get a quote today.

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