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Can Pugs Swim? How to Help Them Enjoy The Water

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

happy cute pug dog swimming with tongue sticking out in private local pool

Pugs are great pets that enjoy spending time with their owners. Once it starts to get hot in the summer, it’s natural to want to take them to the beach or swimming pool to help them cool off, but is that safe? Unfortunately, while Pugs can swim, they can only do so for a short distance before needing to head back to dry land. Keep reading as we explain this behavior and discuss if Pugs even like water. We also talk about keeping your pet cool so they can have a better time during the summer.

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Can Pugs Swim?

Your Pug can swim instinctively, like most dogs, but due to their scrunched-in face, they will struggle to breathe and get tired quickly, causing them to head for shore or the side of the pool immediately. Swimming also doesn’t come naturally for them because the shape of their head requires them to hold it higher than many other dog breeds in order to get air. Therefore, it’s best to swim with the dog, like you would with a small child, and only let them stay in the water for a short time.

pug dog swim in swimming pool
Image Credit: Wasitt Hemwarapornchai, Shutterstock

Do Pugs Like Water?

Most dogs like water, but not all of them do, so you will need to check with your pet to see how they feel about it. If your Pug likes water, they will be eager to get their paws wet when you walk near a lake or pool and will even try to run in with you. They will also seem to enjoy themselves while you hold them in the water to help them swim. However, if the dog is mindfully keeping a distance between themselves and the water, refuses to get in, and looks frightened while in the water, there is a good chance that they are not interested.

Can I Train My Pug to Go Into the Water?

If your dog likes going into the water, you can train them to help maximize their fun.

  • Always check the water temperature before letting your dog into the water. Your dog will prefer warm water, especially at first, so a bathtub or heated pool is a great place to start.
  • When entering the water, ensure that your pet is wearing a life jacket at all times, even after they learn to swim. The lifejacket should have front float support and a handle so you can grab it if you need to. It should also be comfortable and brightly colored.
  • Start at the shallow end of a lake or pond. Let them enter independently if they are willing, or carry them in with you a few feet before slowly lowering them into the water. You can also lower yourself into the water, taking the dog with you if that makes them more comfortable.
  • After a short time or if they seem scared, lead them back to shore, and give them a treat to let them know that they did well.
  • Repeat the process, going deeper as your pet seems comfortable until they paddle around and enjoy themselves.
  • Always watch your dog in the water, and look for signs that they are getting tired. Take them out before they start to struggle.
  • Don’t be afraid to hire a professional trainer to help you teach the dog to swim better.
cute little pug puppy floating in a pool in a fun inflatable ring
Image Credit: Lori Beneteau, Shutterstock

Other Tips and Tricks

  • If you have difficulty finding a suitable location to teach your Pug to swim, doggie pools are inexpensive and easy to set up and work well.
  • Rinsing the Pug with a hose can cool them off and get them used to the water.
  • Always have plenty of water and a collapsible bowl so your pet can stay hydrated.
  • Walk your Pug in shady areas when possible, and take plenty of breaks.
  • Use cooling mats to help your Pug stay cool while they relax.

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Your Pug will know how to swim through instinct if they fall into the water, but swimming doesn’t come naturally due to the shape of their head, so they will get tired quickly and won’t be able to swim far. You can train your dog to swim better with the help of a doggie pool or shallow water, but you should keep them in a life jacket and stay with them the entire time. You can tell if your dog likes water because they will be curious about it and try to get in, especially if you are already wet. However, if the dog tries to avoid the water or looks frightened in the pool, it’s best to choose another activity.

Featured Image Credit: fongleon356, Shutterstock

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