Do pugs like to swim? Like all dogs, pugs instinctively know how to stay afloat in the water. However, due to their pushed-in muzzle, they can have trouble breathing when they are in the water. So when you take them for a paddle you will need to take a few precautions.
Read on to learn all about how to have fun yet safe water time with your little pug friend.
Can Pugs Swim?
Some pugs can swim. If they had to they could keep themselves afloat for a little while at least using the doggy paddle. They do not have the athletic build required to swim for a long time though. And some pug owners say that their dogs sink like a stone in the water.
Try to remember that pugs were bred as lap dogs and companion dogs. Therefore they do not have the build to do something vigorous such as swimming. Their short legs and heavy bodies make it harder for them. Some short-legged dogs can swim quite well, like the corgi, because their legs are muscular. This is not the case with the pug.
Do Pugs Like Water?
Some pugs look very happy indeed when they are in the water. Whilst they cannot tell us in as many words, pugs do seem to enjoy the water on a hot day as much as any other dog. These are playful and mischievous dogs with a strong sense of fun. So anything that seems like a good time will undoubtedly appeal to your pug.
But being in the water and swimming are two different things. Pugs are brachycephalic, which means that their physiology makes it harder for them to breathe than longer-snouted hounds. They have to hold their heads back to stop water from getting in their mouth and up their noses. This position makes it harder for them to paddle, and they will soon get tired and out of breath.
Related Reading: Where Did Pugs Originate From?
How To Keep Your Pug Safe In The Pool
Many pug owners swear by popping a swimming safety vest on their dog before taking it to the water. These vests help the dogs float so that they do not have to try so hard to keep their heads above the water. This will stop them from getting tired.
The safest way to keep your pug afloat in water is if you get in with them. Simply hold them securely so that they can enjoy the sensation of the water without having to worry about staying afloat. This could be a nice way to bond with your pug.
The safest way to do this is to buy them a doggy swimming vest. These have adjustable safety straps, cover the dog’s body with reflective flotation padding, and have a ‘handle’ along the back for the owner to hold the dog up with. These vests would be handy for an older dog too that has joint pain in their legs, hips, and shoulders. They can have some hydrotherapy without over-exerting themselves.
The Pug Vs Other Dog Breeds, When It Comes To Swimming
If you watch this video of dogs paddling in pools, you will see that the first dog is a pug and they are trying with all their might to swim with their front legs. You can also hear the dog sniffing and snorting. It looks like hard work for this dog, even though his master is holding him. And when he gets out, he is in no rush to jump back in.
Further on you will see lots of dogs who love to jump in the water, and they are great swimmers. These dogs are breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. There are no surprises that these two breeds were developed to swim so that they could fetch, or ‘retrieve’ waterfowl for their owners whilst out hunting. It is simply the way these breeds are hard-wired. They have all of the physical attributes needed to swim for a long time, such as powerful long legs, long muzzles for easy breathing, and big webbed paws for paddling.
Other Options For Pugs And Water
If you would like to explore water play with your pug, have you considered getting a dog pool? These are perfect because they are shallow and dogs can stand up in them (or lie down, depending on the depth), meaning that your pug can still stay cool and enjoy the sensation of water without having to swim.
These pools are perfect for dogs because they are made of sturdy materials and therefore cannot be burst by sharp doggy claws, unlike blow-up pools.
Another fun water element that you could use or add to a dog pool is attaching a sprinkler head to your garden hose and letting this gently pump out a spray of water. Your pug may enjoy trotting through the sprinkler on a hot day.
Do Pugs Like To Swim? A Summary
If you ask pug owners, some say that their dogs like to swim, while others say that their pug sinks like a stone in water and won’t go anywhere near it again.
Remember that pugs are not physiologically equipped to swim, given that they have short, pushed-in muzzles that make breathing hard for them, especially in water, and that they lack muscle in their legs and bodies.
The best way to approach this is to let your pug dictate the terms when it comes to swimming, and never force them into the water if their body language, facial expressions, and general demeanor are saying STOP.
If your pug does seem to like the water, then rather than making them swim you can invest in a dog swimming vest so that you can hold them in deep water. Or simply fill up a shallow dog paddling pool for your pug, or even just do it the old-fashioned way and turn on the sprinkler!
As long as your pug seems happy, and you are within arm’s reach and keeping an eye on their safety at all times, then the hot weather is a good time for you and your pug to bond over some fun water play.
Related Reading: 8 Of The Best Shampoos For Pug Puppies and Dogs
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.