Can Pugs Swim?

By John Martin - August 7, 2021

Pug wearing goggles ready to swim

If you have been wondering if pugs can swim, the simple answer is—not very well.

There are several reasons for this that we can look into in this article, along with ways in which pugs can be taught how to swim and what you must keep in mind while doing so.

So, let’s dive straight into it.

Why Aren’t Pugs Good Swimmers?

There are several factors that affect how well a dog can swim. These include the dog’s breed, size, age, weight and experience.

When it comes to pugs, their bodies do not allow them to naturally swim very well. Let’s see why.

Short Skull

Pugs are cute and unique in their appearance due to their short skull and snout. It is this very thing that makes them bad swimmers.

Belonging to the brachycephalic breed of dogs, pugs are more prone to several breathing issues due to their small and narrow passages in the nose. This can cause problems during a challenging task like swimming.

Due to this, they also try keeping their snouts above water while swimming, making it easier to sink than to stay afloat.

Lack of Energy

Pugs are not the most active dogs. They lack the energy to perform physically demanding tasks for a long time period.

They need lesser exercise than other breeds of dogs as well. This might make it difficult for them to exert too much energy during swimming and might tire them out easily.

Body Structure

Pugs have short legs and insufficient core strength, lacking enough power to push themselves forward while swimming.

They are not particularly quick or agile either and also tend to be heavier than other dogs.

Overall, therefore, their body structure can act as a hindrance while swimming.

Despite these setbacks, there are ways in which you can tell if your pug will enjoy swimming and if you can teach them how to swim well.

Also Read: Why Do Pugs Fart So Much?

Will My Pug Enjoy Swimming?

Not all dogs enjoy being in the water and, by extension, swimming.

You might have noticed several dogs absolutely enjoying their time in the water, while some others might choose to stand back and at a safe distance.

Generally, pugs do not love water that much. However, this does not necessarily mean that your pug hates water as a rule.

In fact, each dog is different even if they belong to the same breed.

To see if your pug likes being in the water, there are several things that you can do to test it out.

Try taking them to a nearby dog pool or simply use a small pool or tub in your own house. Give them their space and time to sniff around and explore on their own.

They may exhibit several reactions. If they wag their tails, run around excitedly, sniff around to see what’s going on and act curious, they might actually like the water after all.

Encourage them slowly to enter the water by dipping their paws in it. If they are hesitant to do this or outright refuse, then they may not enjoy it.

You can repeat this process a few more times to get them comfortable enough to step into the water. Have some patience as this might take some time.

Remember, it might not be a great idea to push them into the water as this could increase their fear and panic even though they will instinctively swim themselves to safety.

It would be best to do this while they are still young. This would also make it easier to teach and train them.

Can I Teach My Pug How to Swim?

You can teach your pugs how to swim well as it is an important skill for them to have, especially in the case of an emergency.

Start off this training while they are still young to make it easier and follow these steps to teach them.

Start Off Slow

Allow your pug some time to get used to entering the water as well as staying inside it. Praise and treat them regularly while doing this.

Hold them by their rear end and slowly start entering the water in this position. As an instinct, they will begin to paddle their feet once you are close enough to the water.

Once you are in the water, move around while holding on to them so that they can repeat the paddling process and learn how to swim well on their own.

Show Them a Way Out

This is an important step to ensure that they know how to get out of the water safely.

Guide them to the staircase of the pool or place a ramp to make it easier for them. Repeat this a few times so that they can memorize the route.

Place a bright and eye-catching object near the exit and familiarize them with it so that they have a reference point.

Don’t Leave Them Unattended

Make sure you do not leave your pug unattended when they are swimming or learning to swim.

If you are not in the water with them, stay nearby and keep an eye on them at all times so that you can save them in case there is an accident or if they cannot keep up.

Take Enough Breaks

Pay attention to how your pug is doing and feeling throughout the process. If you notice them getting tired, take a break.

Keep taking enough breaks in between so that they don’t feel overwhelmed or exhausted.

If they can’t seem to swim anymore, stop the lesson for the day.

If you don’t feel comfortable teaching your pug how to swim on your own, consider hiring a professional trainer to help you out.

Also Read: How to Stop a Pug From Snoring

Safety Measures

To prevent any major accidents, remember to undertake these safety measures in and around your pool.

Cover the Pool

When you are not using the pool, make sure you keep it covered with a hard cover. Fence the area around the pool as well without leaving any gaps in between.

Use a Life Jacket

It would be safer for your pug if you secure a life jacket around them when they are in the water. This can prevent them from drowning.

Make sure you buy the correct size for your pug to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Check for Chlorine Reactions and Injuries

During and after swimming, observe your pug’s skin and eyes for some time. If there is any redness or itchiness, bathe them in fresh and clean water.

Keep any other equipment out of the way so that they do not get injured while swimming. Make sure you store them out of their reach at all other times as well.

Be Careful in Lakes

If your pug is swimming in a lake or a river, stay with them at all times and make sure you watch out for bacteria and algae.

If your pug comes in contact with them, they might fall ill. Think carefully before deciding to swim in such water bodies.

Clean Them Properly

After swimming, clean and dry them off properly and thoroughly to prevent irritation and infections.

Examine and dry off their ears properly as well using a cotton swab. This is because their ears are particularly sensitive and any extra moisture may cause inflammation, leading to impairments.

If you notice an ear infection, take your pug to the vet and follow their suggestions and prescriptions.

Also Read: Are Pugs Hyper?

Concluding Remarks

Now, you know everything there is to know about pugs and their swimming abilities.

To sum up, pugs are not great swimmers but it is definitely possible to figure out if they like being in the water.

You can then teach them cautiously either on your own or with the help of a professional trainer.

Make sure you follow all safety measures to prevent any accidents while swimming. Keep your pool covered at all other times.