Before my husband and I had kids, we had three fur babies: Reno (mini dachshund), Bastian (beagle-dachshund mix), and Artemus (German Shepherd). We lived in the country, so our dogs had plenty of space to run and play.
We enjoyed walking the pups down our little dirt road to a small creek several times a week. The dogs loved it! Artemus would wade in the water nice and easy to cool down and relax.
My Dachshund, Reno, would circle the creek barking orders at Artemus and eventually jump in with a big splash. Bastian enjoyed sniffing around the water, he preferred playing on dry land.
We have many fond memories just letting the dogs splash and cool off on those hot summer days. It was like taking them to their own personal water park.
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 your dog can swim naturally when placed in the water. 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 and a large chest, 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 close and don’t look away. A dog can sink very quickly, so always watch closely to prevent an accident.
Note: Even the best canine swimmers can still have an accident.
Keep a leash on your dog when walking near the shore or swimming in the water. You can use a floating dog leash (from Amazon).
This leash floats and 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.
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.
Practice exiting the water a few times with your dog to show them the way out and continue to remain close to your pup in case they struggle.
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 or in the water.
Dog life jackets have a nice handle on the back so you can lift your pup in and out of a boat. This dog life jacket (From Amazon) is brightly colored, durable, and has some pretty excellent reviews.
Dachshund Body Shape
Dachshunds have large barrel-shaped chests, which makes them more top heavy that other dog breeds. A dog life vest can help your Dachshund stay afloat with less strain on their neck and back.
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!
Avoid letting your Dachshund swim in any type of moving water. Waves and strong currents are very dangerous for your doxie. Dachshunds work extra hard at paddling those short legs to support their extra long bodies, they can quickly over exert themselves and sink.
Stick with shallow pools, lakes, creeks 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.
Whether you are swimming, hiking, playing, or walking, always provide fresh water for your dog to keep them hydrated and safe. Take this dog water bottle with you, it is super convenient and made just for dogs.
Don’t let your Dachshund drink 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, they may pick up some nasty bacteria or parasites and unfortunately, they can then pass them along to you.