/Overstatement of the Year: All dogs swim

Quinn in a giant suitcase was probably the closest he would ever get to a huge body of anything, least of all water.

Myth: All dogs can swim

That is a lie, a downright lie, and we need the world to know that dogs do NOT know how to instinctively swim. Put them in any body of water, and most likely they’ll start panicking and scramble to get out of the pool (or whatever body of water) in a flurry.

It’s just like when you were a kid, and when your mom first taught you to swim. Some of us took to water like a reincarnated fish, whereas the rest of us struggled to displace the memory of Jaws from those late-night binge-watching with Dad.

Perhaps that was just me. Oh well.

Seasoning your dog to the water

It’s a golden rule that once relaxed, dogs (akin to humans) will be able to float successfully before they begin paddling their way to adorable freedom. Additionally, swimming offers a variety of benefits for dogs that includes an alternative to post-surgical exercise therapy, due to it being easier on the joints and hips – Hooray for overweight dogs; with the harsh impacts of a jog or run being eliminated completely.

Hello swimming, goodbye fat dog.

The Holy Grail Diary of Dos and Don’ts

When your dog doesn’t like water

✘ DON’T force your dog into any body of water (that’s illegal, folks!). It’s just like some hoomans prefer cycling to playing squash – maybe swimming’s just not for your pup! To each his own, sir!

✓ DO gently encourage your dog by introducing him to call bodies of water. Hint: A good gauge would be to observe his attitudes to bath time. If he looks a little like Quinn does here post-shower, best to put those swimming aspirations to one side.

That is not one happy dog.

When you’re worried about your dog’s age

✘ DON’T panic about his age being a problem with staying afloat

✓ DO understand that swimming is highly recommended for overweight, elderly and even dogs with arthritis, because dogs (just like humans!) are buoyant in the water, and the water serves as a gentle resistance to work their muscles without the fear of tears, strain or pulling something.

Quinn’s 6 going on 7; that’s half the lifespan of an average Shih-Tzu!


When your dog’s too hyperactive to swim

✘ DON’T panic and attempt to wear your dog’s hyperactivity out with some running before he goes swimming

✓ DO understand that 30 minutes of swimming is the activity equivalent of 2 hours of consistent running for most dogs.


When you’re worried about leaving your dog whilst swimming 

✘ DON’T abandon him at the pool, not even for a second

✓ DO understand that dogs are virtually children that never grow up (think Peter Pan). Would you leave your 5-year-old at the pool alone for a ‘casual dip’?


Think about it.