Can Beagles Swim? Let’s Dive Into The Details
Beagles can swim. I can attest to this one first-hand. My beagle, Skyler, always jumps at any body of water he can get near. As a matter of fact, his first experience was when he leaped through my shower curtain when he was 7 months old. I couldn’t watch horror movies for a month.
Nearly a year later, my family and I were on vacation and Skyler took a running leap into a pond. I was ready to spring into action for fear that he couldn’t swim. Instead, he swam like a champ. I quickly asked my family, “Who taught him?”, and they all reflexively gave back blank stares. Which made me think, “Can Beagles Swim?”
After all, just like humans — they don’t all have innate aquatic abilities.
What Are The Benefits for Swimming?
Exercise is the most obvious benefit. It will likely benefit your beagle in the form of improved muscular strength and tone, range of motion, and strengthened cardiovascular & respiratory systems; all without the concussive impact that exercises on land may cause.
Overall, swimming is a great lower-impact tool for attaining or retaining your beagle’s physical and emotional health.
Medical conditions that restrict or prohibit concussive exercise is where swimming can shine.
It is widely used for a host of issues that include: arthritis, elbow, and hip dysplasia, torn cruciate ligaments, obesity, pre/post-surgical conditioning; to name a few.
Get this: studies have also shown that swimming in warm water can significantly minimize injury recovery time in addition to lowering pain.
Energy maintenance is another benefit. Consequentially, swimming will help curb any excess energy that they have in their reserves, and allow them to sleep very restfully afterward.
Cooling themselves down is another great benefit since beagles don’t have the same means to cool as humans do. They cool off through their feet and by panting.
When Should I Start Training My Beagle To Swim?
Puppies have a critical socialization period, during the first four to five months, when they learn what can be considered safe. This is an instinctual characteristic of their wild heritage. The more experiences of swimming that are positive in which we expose them to at a young age, the better off they will be throughout their lives. Not to say that a beagle of any other age would not benefit, but it is much easier at this phase.
What Safety Precautions Should I Take?
⦁ DO NOT leave your beagle unsupervised at any time. Get it? Got it? Good. While you’re at it, learn Pet First Aid. If you’re already familiar with it, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on it.
⦁ Be aware of unattended pools. All pools should have fencing around them to guard against unauthorized use by your children or your pooch.
⦁ Keep your lessons short and always be patient.
⦁ Bear in mind, the water they are swimming is just for that. You should always bring a fresh, clean supply of water for them to drink during their activities.
⦁ If you plan on your beagle potentially swimming in public bodies of water, be sure to vaccinate your dog for Giardia. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting, additionally; it is communicable to humans.
⦁ Stay away from fishing or boating spots, where your beagle may encounter a rogue hook or worse. Keep a lookout for wild animals, as well. Remember, they are a hunting breed, so you’ll want to keep a lookout just as much as they undoubtedly will.
⦁ Avoid swimming where the water goes over your head. If your beagle panics, they may try to climb onto your shoulders, pushing you underwater.
⦁ Avoid waters with strong currents, as it can easily overwhelm the best of swimmers, canine or human indifferent.
⦁ If your beagle gets great enjoyment out of swimming, it never hurts to bring a ball or other floating toy to play with. Just make sure that anything that they play with is neither too small (risk of choking), or too large (risk of drowning).
⦁ SPF anybody? Yes, beagles can get sunburned too. It’s always wise to consult your veterinarian about viable sunscreens for your dog. As with any water activity, it will have to be applied that more frequently.
⦁ Food stays in your beagle’s stomach longer than it does for us. So to avoid bloat, wait for 1 1/2 to 2 hours after they consume a meal to go swimming.
Let’s Get Swimming!
We don’t think twice about placing ourselves and our human family members into life vests, so why not put your beagle into a pet life vest? After all, they are a member of the family too. It will provide peace of mind for both you and your beagle.
Once they are situated in their vest, play with them (while still on land and attached to a lead) to get them more comfortable with the feel of the vest. Once this step seems complete, place them on a leash (retractable is ideal) and head toward the water. Be mindful to share in a very shallow spot to get them that much more acclimated.
Slowly lure them out further into the water with more depth incrementally, eventually to the point where they cannot touch the bottom. While doing this, make sure to be near them, providing both emotional support with your words and physical support with your hands on their undercarriage.
They may begin by paddling only their front feet. However, they should shortly thereafter start using all four legs. If they get visibly skittish or show signs of being tired, guide them closer to the more shallow waters where they can stand or back to the dry ground.
Otherwise, if they look like they are getting the hang of it, you can release your hold of their undercarriage while still staying within a quick reach, knowing that if you need to guide them back toward the leash. It’s all about them being comfortable and having fun.
After Swimtime Is Over
Success! You and your beagle have made it that much further along the swimming process. They may still not be the canine Michael Phelps, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.
That being said, we still have to address your pup’s aftercare. Bacteria from rivers, streams, etc.; can make your beagle very sick. In addition, chlorine can irritate his or her skin and eyes. After swimming, be sure to thoroughly clean your dog’s coat and take special care to dry out their ears. That will not only bathe them but likely soothe them as you’re giving them additional one-on-one attention.
On a side note: Once you’re done with them, it can’t hurt for you to jump into your own shower and relax as well.
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