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Volume 15, Issue 8
August 2017


Properly prep your pup for summer swimming fun

This is the time of year when your whole family, including your beloved pup, wants to enjoy a variety of water sports—swimming, boating or just wading along a shoreline. But if this is your dog’s first water outing, do your dog and yourself a favor and keep the following in mind.

All dogs aren’t natural swimmers. Many people assume that all dogs can swim. Noisy splashing with front legs flailing is not swimming. It’s a desperate attempt not to drown. True swimming is relatively quiet with all four legs kicking and the body horizontal (not head up and body down).

Dog swimming lessons.

If you don’t know if your dog can swim, start with a fenced pond or swimming pool. A sense of the water temperature is also important, as is cleanliness. Dogs can get hypothermia, just like people. Take warnings about cold water and contamination, such recent ones about blue-green algae in some lakes and streams, seriously.

Be gentle. Never throw your dog in to the water. Introduce your dog to water slowly, by either walking with them down a gentle slope into the water, or if indoors, down a ramp or wide stairs. Try enticing your dog with a toy or treat to get in. It really adds to their success if a member of their human family is in the water, too. Always make sure that they know how to get out safely. Most dog drownings in pools or ponds are the result of not teaching dogs how to exit the water, or a lack of a dog-friendly exit, such as a ramp or steps.

Life jackets are worth it. Life jackets provide buoyancy for new swimmers and older dogs that can become tired or weak. Bright colored float coats also make it easier to find your dog in the water for rescue purposes.

PAWS Aquatic Water Sports and Rehabilitation offers canine aquatic therapy (including an underwater treadmill), and swim sessions for puppies or dogs new to water. They also offer swimming “repair sessions” to undo the trauma that results from either being thrown off of, or falling into, water from docks, pool decks and boats.

For more information, call Diane Kunkle or Julie Thomas at 503- 640-4007 or visit

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Published monthly by Pioneer Marketing & Design
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2017