Summer Water Safety Tips For Dachshunds
Help your dog love the water! Here are some key tips on how to keep your dachshund safe in or around the water.
Some Dogs Can’t Swim
Never assume that all dogs can swim naturally when placed in the water. It’s just not true. Some dogs can’t swim or float well at all.
Some dog breeds, including: bulldogs, maltese, shih zu, and our dachshund pals may only be doing the doggy paddle for survival instead of enjoyment.
Our doxies have short and stubby legs, which can make it more difficult for them to float and paddle on their own for very long.
Never force your dachshund to swim. Some dogs may need a more gradual introduction to the water. Allowing them to watch you enjoy the water may coax them in on their own.
If you force a scared dog into the water, it will create a bad experience. If they just don’t want to swim, you can help them enjoy a cool shady spot instead and try again another time. Different dogs have different comfort levels.
Some doxies have no fear and will jump right in the water by themselves (like my dog, Reno). Always keep a close eye on your doxie near any body of water.
If your dachshund takes a quick dip, stay very close and don’t look away. A dog can sink very quickly. Watch closely to prevent an accident.
Note: Even the best swimmers can still have an accident.
Always stay close and swim along side your dachshund in the water. Keep a leash on your dog when walking near the shore or swimming in the water.
I recommend using a floating dog leash (from Amazon). It is brightly colored so it is easy to see and if you need to do a quick rescue you can pull your pup to safety.
Note: Some folks recommend taking off the dog’s leash and collar to avoid getting caught on debris while swimming. If you keep your dachshund right next to you, this can be avoided. I would much rather have a leash or life jacket handle to grab than nothing at all.
Getting Out of the Water
It can be very difficult for your dog to exit the pool, lake, or pond by themselves. If it is too slippery or steep, your dog will need some extra help getting out of the water.
If you have an older dog with arthritis, it will be even harder for them to get out of the water.
Practice exiting the water a few times with your dog to show them the way out.
Swimming is a great exercise for dogs and humans, but it is tiring too. Dogs don’t understand how to preserve their energy while swimming. You have to be the one to take them out of the water for a cool down break and a fresh drink of water in the shade.
When we took our pups to a lake on vacation, every time we jumped in the water, they would too. We noticed that they wouldn’t get out of the water until we did. Even though they were wearing their life jackets, we made sure we all got out of the water for a break to stay safe.
Dog Life Jacket
Every year, my husband and I enjoy canoeing and kayaking at Pine Creek in Northern Pennsylvania. This past year, we read on their Facebook page that a large dog had fallen out of his family’s boat and was lost. He was found several days later, but he didn’t make it. Come to find out, he wasn’t wearing a life jacket.
Pine Creek really isn’t that rough, it has one section of small rapids, but definitely not white water rapids. I felt very sad for the family, but I was also very concerned that they took their dog in a boat without a flotation device.
Accidents like this happen too often…which is so sad, because they can be easily prevented with a dog life jacket.
Even if your pup is a super strong swimmer, all dogs should wear a life jacket in a boat, no exception.
Dog life jackets have a nice firm handle on the back so you can lift your pup back in if they jump out of the boat. This dog life jacket (From Amazon) is brightly colored, durable, and has some pretty excellent reviews.
As you know, Dachshunds have a large chest, which can make them more top heavy that other dogs. A dog life vest can help your dachshund float with less strain on their back and of course keep them safe.
Note: Wet Doxies are heavy! When you lift your dachshund out of the water into a boat or onto a dock, make sure the handle on the life jacket is strong and your back is ready for the heft.
Reno (pictured below) is sporting his Bright Orange Life Jacket. He is the type of dog that will jump right in the water without permission. So, regardless of his sad puppy eyes, he wears his life jacket. Safety First Reno!
Currents & Waves
I would not let your dachshund swim in the ocean or a river with moving water. The waves and currents are very strong and dangerous for such a small dog. Stick with pools, lakes, or ponds instead.
Fresh Drinking Water
Always provide plenty of cool water for your Dachshund when you take a break from swimming. Dogs lose a heavy amount of fluid through panting and they need to stay hydrated to stay cool.
Don’t let your dachshund drink the salty ocean water, lake water, or pool water. They can get really sick.
Natural water sources like lakes and ponds can be contaminated. If your doxie takes a drink, he may pick up some nasty bacteria or parasites…and unfortunately, they can then pass that along to you. Read our post: Parasites You Can Get From Your Dog.
Whether you are swimming, hiking, playing, or walking…always provide fresh water for your dog to keep them hydrated and safe. Try taking this dog water bottle along, it is super convenient and made just for dogs.
Dachshunds are very prone to skin issues. Always rinse them off after swimming in the pool, creek, or pond. Pool chemicals, like chlorine, can cause your dog’s skin to dry out.
After my three dogs would enjoy a day at the creek, we would always clean off their fur coats with clean water. This was usually done with the garden hose, as long as it wasn’t too cold. We also would clean their ears and private areas to avoid any infection from the creek water bacteria.
Learning how to perform CPR on your dog is an essential skill to know before going swimming. If your dog is unconscious, you need to know how to act fast to save their life. Here is a YouTube Video from Sara Ondrako to teach you Canine CPR: What You Must Know.
Sunscreen For Dogs
Protect your fur-baby from painful sunburn with doggie sunscreen. But, only use sunscreen that is formulated just for dogs. You can find some highly recommended dog sunscreens and sunscreen alternatives on our post: How to Protect Your Dachshund From The Sun.
This is a scary one for people and dogs! If your dog inhales a bunch of water, goes unconscious, or sinks under water… even if they seem ok afterwards, they are at risk of secondary drowning. When waters is aspirated into their lungs, this can cause pneumonia, which can be fatal.
The symptoms of secondary drowning (aka dry drowning) may not show up for hours or days after they inhaled the water into their lungs.
If you notice any of the following signs of secondary drowning, contact your dog’s vet ASAP.
- Hacking or Coughing
- Difficulty Breathing
- Acting Lethargic