Can Pugs Swim? – A Guide To Taking Your Pug Swimming

Now in the Northern hemisphere, winter is fast approaching, but that doesn’t mean that swimming is out of the question; far from it. For many people, travel destinations such as Florida are beckoning. Warmer states are going to be greeting vacationers who want to simply enjoy the great weather and take a dip in the ocean or enjoy some quality time at the resort or holiday apartment pool.

Many of these vacationers will be accompanied by their faithful furry and four-legged friends – and among those ready to take the plunge (pun intended) into those warm waters of vacation life, that companion will be a Pug. But can pugs swim? The answer is yes. They are not great swimmers, but they can learn to do it if they have the right training. The following guide will give you all the information you need to know regarding pugs swimming and how to teach them if they don’t know.

Can a Pug Swim?

Many Pug owners have concerns about their chosen bread and its ability to swim – Pugs are not renowned for their adoration of water (unlike some larger breeds like Labradors) nor their ability to swim.

At first glance, Pugs don’t seem to be built for an aquatic environment – cute and cuddly they may be, but their short legs, heavy heads, and blocky bodies don’t shout ‘Strong Swimmer.’ However, Pugs are, in fact, great in the water (up to a point and limitations of physiology taken into account), and the fact of the matter is that with a little patience, most Pugs will gladly accompany their owners into the water. However, before you and your pet go for a paddle, there are certain factors that should be taken into account.

Pugs are strong swimmers relative to their size and body structure.

Of course, you have to take into account the level of fitness, age, and personality of your Pug. All Pugs (like all dogs and most animals) have an innate ability to swim (or, in their case, doggy paddle). But, just like people, they may or may not like water and have different comfort levels when it comes to swimming.

Getting your Pug used to the fact that swimming can actually be fun and the ideal opportunity to spend some quality time with their human companion is a process – and one that should not be rushed. Forcing a Pug into the water is a surefire way to build a phobia – and the point of the exercise is for these wonderful little dogs to have fun – not be afraid.

However, it is worth noting that even Pugs who are reluctant to entertain the idea of swimming can be coaxed into at least tolerating swimming in your company.

Does Your Pug Like Swimming?

As a concerned pet owner, you may first want to check whether or not your pug enjoys swimming. As mentioned above, not all Pugs are going to enjoy the experience, and if that’s the case, it’s best not to force the issue immediately.

However, if you are near a pool and your Pub expresses an interest in floaty inflatables or the people who are taking in the sun – or are seemingly fascinated by those already in the pool there’s a chance you might be in the company of the next Mark Spitz of the Pug species.

Teach Your Pug to Swim

So now that you have your answers to whether or not can pugs swim and if your Pug is inclined to enjoy the experience, it’s time to get them started. While there are many different ways of teaching Pugs to swim, these are the most common methods that have proven effective for many owners over the years:

1) A Small Step to A Bigger Future

A lot of Pugs are going to be a little nervous about taking that first dip into the water, so it’s best to start small. You can do this by getting your Pug used to being in the bathtub or a kiddie pool before you take him out for his first swim.

Once they’re happy splashing around in the bath (at home, water that just touches their tummy is a great introduction to swimming), then it’s time to head outdoors.

2) Swimming Pool Should Be Their Next Best Friend

Preparing to introduce your Pug to the wonders of the swimming pool (and possibly not being terrified of the ocean – as a general rule, ocean swimming is a bit beyond the abilities of Pugs) requires some preparation. Also, worth noting – no waves = good; your Pub will love the lake if they finally decide that swimming is among their many talents.

3) Never Leave Your Pug in Water Alone

A Pug that is not properly supervised while in water can drown very easily. If you have a pool, it is vital to make sure your Pug is always supervised by someone who knows how to swim and has an eye on the Pug at all times.

4) Take Necessary Breaks Between Swimming Sessions

 It is important to give your Pug frequent breaks between swimming sessions. A Pug that is overheated and overworked can become tired and nauseated very quickly, which can lead to drowning. If you are going to take a break, make sure that someone else remains with the dog at all times while they are in the water.

 5) Hire A Professional Trainer

Perhaps the best way to ensure that your Pug is a safe swimmer is to hire a professional trainer. A professional trainer will be able to teach you how to properly train your dog so that they are safe in the water, and they can also provide guidance on what kinds of swimming accessories you need for them (such as life jackets and flotation devices).

can pugs swim


How To Keep Your Pug Safe Swimming.

Enlisted are some essential steps you need to take to ensure that your Pug is safe while he begins his swimming experience.

1) Make Pool Side Free of Distractions

At the lake or poolside, first, ensure that all distractions and obstacles are stowed away safely. Lakes can also boast lots of driftwood. Remove any from the general area (size permitting). It’ll be a certain distraction and seen as a lot more fun to investigate the unknown wonders of the deep.

2) Find An Isolated or Less Crowded Pool

Try to find a pool or a spot on the lake that doesn’t have too many swimmers. They can confuse and even frighten your Pug, making the introduction to swimming even more daunting.

3) Test the Temperature of the Water

Then test the temperature. Many public pools and lake beaches will have that information posted on a chalkboard each day in summer. Or ask a lifeguard. The ideal temperature for taking the plunge should be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Get a Doggy Lifejacket

Always provide a doggy lifejacket for your furry friend prior to interaction with water. First, allow them to sniff at the water and explore the area so that they are comfortable. Also, bring along a favorite toy and use that to entice them to take the plunge. Again, positive reinforcement with treats can be very effective. Reward them for taking their first steps into the water and at stages such as tummy deep. Always support your Pug with a hand under them – it prevents panic attacks and allows them to understand that they are safe.

5) Visual Clues Can Help

If you’re at a pool, then allow them to practice getting out of the water. A visual clue can help – try a pot plant or a highly visible ornament at the point where they can get out.

Final Conclusion

Never leave your Pug in the water alone; treat them as you would a toddler. Let them have a breather between swimming sessions and provide fresh water to allow them to rehydrate (don’t let them drink pool or lake water). Once you have finished the day’s entertainment, keep an eye on them for excessive scratching or skin redness – some may have allergies to the chemicals used to purify pool water.

By keeping these guidelines in mind, you will soon find out if your Pug is in favor of a semi-aquatic lifestyle (at least while relaxing outdoors). Be patient, but if swimming is not to their liking, so be it, don’t force the issue. 

If they are open to the idea of swimming, you may have added a new dimension to your quest for that perfect time to simply relax and enjoy the company of your four-legged friend.