Dogs and Swimming

It took a while this year, but summer has finally hit Michigan. That means days are best spent by the lake or the pool and I know your dog agrees. Here are some great tips for taking your day for a swim.

Know the area
Is it an area where your dog allowed off leash and in the water? Are there any hazards the water presents, such as currents or undertows? How deep is the water if your dog is going to be jumping off a dock or boat? Be aware of the body of water and its surroundings so there are no surprises once your dog has taken its first belly flop.

Give them a time-out
Many dogs love swimming so much that they will “swim til they drop”. Call your dog out of the water every 10-15 minutes and have them spend a couple minutes on dry land. This will give them a chance to take a bathroom break if they need it and gives you a chance to evaluate how tired they are and if it’s time for the swim session to end.

Make sure to rinse your dog off well and even consider shampooing after a swim. This can help wash off extra bacteria or unidentified gunk that their coat may have picked up during their adventure. Also, make sure to dry them off, especially those dogs with thick undercoats. If their coat stays wet for too long, skin issues can develop. Consider flushing their ears with an ear cleaner as well, especially if your dog is prone to ear infections. This can help dry out some of the excess moisture that has seeped into your dog’s ears. If you don’t have an ear cleaner, a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water can be a substitute. Rubbing alcohol is NOT recommended.

Topical medications
Remember, topical medications, such as Frontline for fleas and ticks, need to be applied no sooner than 24 hours after a bath and not be washed off for 48 hours. So, if you plan on taking your pooch swimming, make sure it’s been more than 48 hours since you applied the preventative or that it’s not due within the next 24 hours.

Find great places to swim
There are several great resources to find places for your dogs to swim. Also, come visit Oakland Hills Veterinary Hospital at 2 great events for your dog to swim locally at the end of the summer:


Troy Aquatic Center, Dog Water Palooza- Saturday, September 6th

Dog Swim
Red Oaks Waterpark Camp Bow Wow Dog Swim- Sunday, September 7th