Can Pugs Swim and How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Can Pugs swim or do you need to teach them how to do it? It’s a common misconception thinking that every dog can swim and even loves the water, but that’s not true.

While Pugs will be able to swim purely out of natural instinct, any dog regardless of the breed has the natural instinct to swim. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautionary measures to ensure they stay safe in and around water.

Do Pugs Swim?

Pugs are not born to swim and may not get excited about being around water. Mindy didn’t always love being around water like our Yellow Lab did. When we first got the pool, she was curious about it but didn’t try getting in.

can pugs swim

Maybe it’s because they are not designed for the water? Read this article if you’ve ever wondered whether Pugs have webbed feet or which dog breeds do.

We made the decision to teach her how to swim, just in case she accidentally fell into the pool. To make it even safer, we invested in a dog life jacket to help keep her safe whenever she was around water. We’ve put together a list of some of the best life jackets for Pugs.

How to Tell If Your Pug Enjoys Water

Most of us think that every dog loves being in and around water. However, Pugs make the list of dogs that don’t love water, according to this article. This doesn’t mean that your furbaby doesn’t enjoy being around water, Mindy our black Pug loved being around it.

Every dog has its own unique personality. Just because one dog hates being around water, doesn’t necessarily mean that yours won’t love it.

If you notice your Pug dog gets excited when they are around water or constantly wagging their tail at the sunbathers and constantly sniffing their bags or floaties, there’s a good chance Fido may enjoy the water.

They are curious enough to want to know what’s going on. This is your chance to see if they would actually enjoy swimming and slowly get them used to the water.

How to Teach Your Pug to Swim

If you’re like me, you love being around water in the summer. Taking Fido with you can be a great summer activity you’ll both love, but it’s important to make sure you take precautions to keep them safe.

Introduce Them Slowly

One of the worst things you can do is throw them into the pool and expect them to stay afloat. If you want them to enjoy the experience, you need to acclimate them slowly to the water.

The best way to do this is to hold them and make sure their head stays above the water. This will teach them how to teach them how to use their legs to stay afloat.

If they are hesitant to get into the water, do not force them. Forcing them will just instill a negative reaction around water and they’ll never want to get in.

When we first got the pool, we would get Mindy to stand on the steps. This would allow her to experience the water on her feet. When she saw me going deeper into the water, she would sometimes follow me.

We eventually realized that she loved being around the water as long as she didn’t have to swim. We found that out when we put her on our water float and she just laid down while floating around the pool.

That’s when we invested in this Outward Hound Granby Dog Life Jacket. As soon as we got that life jacket and put her in the water, she loved it. We loved it because we know that she was safe and she didn’t have to tire herself out trying to stay afloat.

Show Them How to Get Out

If you’re teaching them how to swim in a pool, make sure you teach them how to get out. Show them where the stairs are and how to use them to get out of the pool.

You may even want to put something like a potted plant or something that is visually eye-catching so they can remember where the steps are. It’s easy for them to become disoriented when they are in the middle of the pool and forget where the steps are.

If they become tired, they could try getting out the deep end of the pool where there are no steps. Mindy did that a few times until we placed a huge potted plant at the steps for her to see.

Never Leave Them Unsupervised

It’s important to watch them closely whenever they are in or around water. You would NEVER leave your kids unattended because that’s when accidents happen.

This is how you need to think whenever you have Fido around water.

Watch for Signs of Exhaustion

While Pugs are not born to swim it’s important to make sure they are not staying in the water until they become exhausted. There’s a good chance you won’t have to worry about this with a Pug, but it’s important to make sure you pay attention to how your pet is feeling.

Will Pool Chlorine Hurt My Pug?

Pugs are known to have a lot of health issues, so it’s important to make sure you rinse your dog off well with fresh water after spending an afternoon in the water.

Pool Safety Tips for Your Pets

Dogs are curious creatures and if you have a backyard pool and a doggie door that allows your pet the freedom to go in and out at their convenience, it’s extremely important to protect them from accidents.

Get a Pool Cover

Pool covers are a great way to keep debris out of your pool, but they can be a great way to keep Fido safe.

We used a Rectangle Solar Cover that not only kept Mindy safe, but it also kept our pool warm when we weren’t using it. There are tons of different pool covers on Amazon, I recommend finding one that will keep your dog safe when you’re not watching them.

Accidents can happen at the blink of an eye and the right pool cover can save their life.

Use A Fence

Many states require you to have a pool if you have a pool. If you have children or pets, I recommend investing in a Self-Closing Gate Kit. We had something like this around our pool to protect Mindy and any small children when they were outside in the backyard.

Even if your Pug can swim, it’s important to keep them out of the water when you’re not supervising them.

Life Jacket

If your pet loves being around the water you may want to invest in a life jacket, in case they fall in. Having them wear a life jacket will help them stay afloat, while you’re able to get to them and help them get out of the pool.

Dog life jackets come in many different shapes and sizes, it may take some shopping around to find the right one. But you’ll feel much better knowing that Fido is safe when around water.

Water and Health Care Tips for Your Pug

If your baby spends a lot of time in the water, it’s important to know what you need to do to keep your dog healthy and avoid problems that can occur from being exposed to water on a regular basis.

Ear Infections

Pugs are vulnerable to ear infections and being exposed to water can cause “swimmer’s ear” also known as (Otitis externa). This condition can cause inflammation of the ear canal, itchiness, redness, and extreme discomfort and pain.

Ear infections can be caused by exposing your Pug to water on a regular basis and not drying their ears out correctly. To minimize the risk of infection, make sure that you’re properly drying their ears out with a towel after being around water.

If your Pug does suffer from an ear infection, you will need to take them to your local veterinarian to most likely be prescribed an antibiotic to help clear out the infection. This is why I always recommend having pet insurance for your pet, especially, if they love swimming.

Related Questions People Ask

Most people who are asking about Pug swimming are usually wanting to know what types of dogs love being around water. If you’re still doing due diligence before deciding if a Pug is for you, here’s a list of dogs that swim and are natural born swimmers.

Dogs That Love to Swim

  1. Labrador Retriever: Our Yellow Lab would live in the pool if we let her.
  2. Newfoundland
  3. Standard Poodle
  4. American Water Spaniel
  5. English Setter
  6. Otterhound
  7. Spanish Water Dog

These are just a few of the breeds that I found that are natural born swimmers. Now let’s take a look at the breeds that don’t like to swim.

Dog Breeds That Don’t Like Water

  1. Pugs: Mindy our black Pug liked the water and so may your pet.
  2. French Bulldogs
  3. Dachshund
  4. Greyhound
  5. Shih Tzu
  6. Basset Hound
  7. Maltese
  8. Doberman

Hopefully, this will help you decide if you’re in the market for getting a Pug as a pet. It’s important to make sure that you’re getting the right breed for your family, that’s why I’ve put together 15 things about Pugs to help you decide.


One thing that I learned from living with a Pug for 16 years is that Mindy loved pretty much anything I loved. We had no problem getting her to do a lot of fun activities when she was younger.

As she entered her senior years, we had to quickly learn that she no longer enjoyed doing a lot of the activities she enjoyed when she was younger.

It’s important to take your dog’s age into consideration if you want to teach them how to swim. You’ll find your Pug more likely to enjoy it if they are still young.

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