Dogs instinctively know how to swim – it's not called dog paddle for nothing! However, while some dogs absolutely love swimming and will take to water at every opportunity, other dogs can be terrified. To see if your pup will swim, take them to a confined space, such as a small shallow pool, where you can go into the water together to build confidence, or with another family dog who can show how it's done.

When pup becomes confident in the water, you can introduce them to the sea at a dog-friendly beach. Keep them on a leash until you are sure they are comfortable and will return to you. Once your puppy is swimming happily, you can encourage them to swim further by throwing a toy and playing swim-fetch. Swimming is excellent exercise and can provide superb physiotherapy after injury or if your dog has arthritis.

Be as aware of hazardous water as you would for yourself or your children. Dogs can get into difficulties too. Keep your pup away from chance meetings with boats and be sure he knows where to exit swimming pools. After swimming, rinse your dog thoroughly to remove any chemicals, sand, mud or saltwater. And always make sure their ears are clean and dry to avoid ear infections. Remember though, lots of swimming can wash away good stuff like flea control, so speak to your vet for advice on keeping your little surfer dude protected.

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