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Swimming With Fido

July 15, 2023

Summer is rolling along. Louisiana summers can definitely be scorchers! Many of our canine patients love to cool off by going for a swim at this time of year. Just be sure to put Fido’s safety first. Here, a New Orleans, LA vet offers some advice on swimming with dogs.


Going to a pool? The first thing you want to do is make sure that Fido knows exactly where the stairs are. That way, if he were to slip and fall in accidentally, he’ll know how to get out. This is very important! Take enough time with training to make sure it’s really sunk in. Even dogs that are great swimmers can quickly panic and start to flail if they can’t get out of the water.

With pools, we would always advise keeping them gated off when they aren’t being used, just as you would with a toddler. This is particularly important if you have a pup that can’t swim well. Brachycephalic dogs, such as pugs, are high-risk here, as are puppies, senior dogs, and many small breeds. Pool coverings are also a concern, as Fido could think it’s a solid surface, and try to walk on it. Last but not least, never leave your canine friend unsupervised near the water.

Lakes, Rivers, And Streams

Louisiana is home to many beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams, not to mention our iconic bayous. Unfortunately, there are quite a few dangers lurking in those waters. That list includes currents, snakes, and gators, as well as toxins, such as blue-green algae. Always err on the side of caution. Only let your canine pal swim in places that have dog beaches or swimming areas. If you aren’t sure whether a spot is safe, don’t let him swim in it. Fido should also have a doggy lifejacket on.


Louisiana has several dog-friendly beaches. There are also quite a few in Mississippi. Or, if you’re headed in the other direction, Cameron has Rutherford Beach, Mae’s Beach, and Holly Beach, while Lake Charles has North Beach. Regardless of where you go, stick with beaches that allow dogs: these tend to have milder currents and shallower grades. Bring lots of water along, and use paw wax to protect Fido’s furry feet from scalds and cuts.

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your New Orleans, LA pet clinic, today!