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Can Pugs Swim?

Everyone loves the pool and wants to take their pugs for swimming during summers. Well, swimming is amazing during summertime. And, especially for the Pugs as they have a lot of health issues caused due to excessive heat. But one more factor that we cannot ignore about pugs is that they are brachycephalic breeds. They need to keep their heads up for them to breathe and their bodies down while swimming. Many people might confuse dogs to have natural swimming abilities. But, the truth is a lot of things influence that. It’s their weight, breed, size that will determine whether they are natural swimmers.

Can Pugs Swim?

Pugs can swim but they are surely not good swimmers because of their biological limitations. If a dog wants to swim it will need longer legs. Pugs find it difficult as they have shorter legs and muzzled faces. When they try to stay afloat in water they have to tilt their body vertically. It’s due to their squished faces that they have to bend their face upwards to breathe air. Your pug almost sinks because of that.

Some Physical Limitations That Your Pug Has

Short Snouts

The pug’s appearance is very cute. They look all chubby and sweet due to their physical features. But, you should also know that this also has some disadvantages. It hinders them to be great swimmers. A pug after all is a brachycephalic breed. Even English dogs are part of that breed. 

Breeds of these kinds have narrow nasal passages which cause them difficulties breathing air. Their facial structure is a bit squished that causes issues for them with breathing. 

Companion Dogs Trait

If you know anything about pugs, you know that pugs are not that active. They are companion dogs. They like to sleep, rather than doing any strenuous activity. They can sleep for as long as 10 hours. Even vets recommend that a long walk of physical activity is enough for your pug. They recommend a very minimal activity dose for pugs

So, your pugs will be good with a few rounds on the lawn instead of swimming. Some pugs can be more active than others. And, there is no issue with that. Just make sure your pug has sufficient breaks when they swim. 

Pugs Have a long body with small legs

Pugs have it hard when swimming as they have a long body with small legs. This can be a problem. Many people might point to a dog breed called Corbis, who also have smaller legs. But the thing with Corbis is they have the power to propel their bodies to go ahead. This cannot be said about pugs that were not bred for hunting purposes. Pugs do not have a powerful core nor the agility to swim.

Does Your Pug Like Swimming?

Many pug owners might think that dogs like being in the water. Well, to tell you the truth, not all dogs like swimming. But all dogs are different, if one dog hates it, it does not mean everyone will. Well, the truth is there are many signs for you to pick on, to know if your furbaby loves water.

  • Pugs will be wagging their tail in the sunbathing area sniffing the floaties, and bags.
  • If you dip your pug in water and they retract their paws, that shows they despise water.
  • Your pug panics while he/she is paddling in the water.

How to Teach Your Pug to Swim?

Pugs are not naturally born swimmers. But, yes with some effort, you might see your pooch swimming. Teaching them swimming for safety reasons is justified. Just make sure your pooch is okay with it. Do not force it on him/her. Make sure you take care of all the safety aspects and then take him/her swimming. Some tips on how to teach your pug to swim-

Take it slow at the first

You do not want to take it fast at first with your pooch. Many pug owners want their pugs to swim instantaneously, they end up throwing their pugs. Pugs as a self-defence measure then start kicking their legs to swim. Owners conclude that their pugs know how to swim. Well, this is the farthest from the truth. You can go about planning your pug’s swimming journey with a series of steps.

  • Get them a practice session in the bathtub first. You can use treats to lure them in.
  • Then you can move ahead to introduce your pug to a swimming pool. Let them be familiarized with the pool space.
  • Then you can try to help your pug to touch the water, at any point do not force them.
  • If you’re in any lake, walk around the shallow parts a bit. Then take the step to go a bit further in deep water.
  • If they accept being in the water, make sure their heads are out, and let their body enter deeper waters.

The consistent thing to look out for is your pug’s enjoyment level. Are they enjoying the process? If they are, you are good to go.

Show the way to get out of the pool

When you teach your pooch to swim, the first intent is to keep them safe. So naturally, we will train them to remain safe in the water. First thing first you need your pug to know where the steps are. Make sure you put a plant or an object in it to draw your pug’s attention towards the exit stairs. Once they know about it, they can swim and try to get out of the pool. 

They might try to get injured otherwise when they try to get out of the pool from deeper ends. And, that can cause injuries to them. If your pool does not have any ramps or stairs, install them. Or else if you are visiting any pool, enquire about it beforehand. 

Always be wary of their movements in the pool

Do not leave your pooch unattended at any given point in time. You do not want to risk your pooch’s life. Make sure you keep track of all your pug’s movements in the pool.

Watch if your pug is exhausted from all the action

You need to make sure that your pooch is not completely exhausted. Or else there can be a problem. Make sure you compartmentalize your swimming session well with breaks in between. In breaks, your pooch can breathe with relief. 

Hire a professional trainer

Well once you have tried all the things to teach your pug swimming. And, your pug does not want to learn it. All you can do is simply hire a dog trainer. It’s good beforehand if you have a jam-packed plan to take your pooch to the beach, lake or rafting. You would want your pug to know some tricks of survival. It will be worth the money. Make sure you run a background check on the trainer as well. You don’t want a person who will pretend to know some things that they do not.

How to Make Your Pool Safe for Your Pug?

Pugs are genuinely very curious. If for some reason they end up falling in the pool that can be a problem. Along with training your pooch to be good at swimming. Make sure your pool is safe for your pug too.

Install a pool cover

Two benefits are part of covering the pool with a pool cover.  It keeps your pool clean.  There is no unwanted debris that falls in the pool. It also acts as a safety shield for your pooch, if they try to get in the pool. It can also heat the water, especially during the summers.

Use a fence

It is important to have a fence at your pool in the backyard. If your pooch tries to get a little mischievous, it can be a problem. It also helps to keep naughty kids away. Kids won’t be able to experiment with swimming in the pool if the space is fenced.

Look out for chemical reactions

Some chemicals can be very harmful to your pug’s skin. While getting your pug in water also check whether your pug is having any harmful reaction to a chemical like having bloodshot eyes. 

You are good to go if harmful chemicals like chlorine are not causing any distress for your pug. Right after the pool session, make sure you wash your pug under tap water and use dog shampoo. That will wash off all the pool chemicals that the pug might have accumulated.

Make sure your pug has not drunk any water off the pool. If he did take him to the vet. Make sure his stomach is okay because of that.

Put away all your pool accessories

The pool cables and pump should be out of your pug’s way when he/she swims. It can be a grave problem if your pug chews them. There is a big chance of him/her getting electrocuted. Pool hoses can also be dangerous for the pooch. Make sure you look at all the safety aspects of your pooch while letting them off on the water.

Ensure the safety of lakes before taking your pug swimming

As a responsible pug owner, you also have to be sure that the lake is safe before taking your pug swimming. There are plenty of diseases and health issues your pooch can face when the lake is dirty or has a host of organisms in it.

There are plenty of diseases that your pug can catch when swimming on lakes and ponds-

Cyanobacteria poisoning

These algae are also known as blue-green algae. Even a bowlful of water can be so fatal for your pooch. It will cause coma, vomiting, and seizures if by hindsight your pooch consumes it. 


So, this is caused due to other dogs’ urine. You have to make sure that your pug has a vaccination shot for it. Getting a shot against it won’t cause any problems for your pug. Make sure you are up to date with the vaccine shots.

Safety Tips for Your Pug When Taken for a Swimming Session

Do remember your pooch can have some ear infection if it spends a long time in the water. The ear issue that your pug can have is called ‘swimmer’s ear’ or otitis externa. It can cause many health care problems for your pugs like redness, itchiness, ear canal inflammation, discomfort, and pain.

Steps on dealing with the ear infection:

  • Make sure you wash your pug properly. Wash their face wrinkles nicely with canine wipes and Qtips.
  • Dry your pug’s ear thoroughly. Make sure there is no water left. Or else that can cause an ear infection.
  • If by any chance you know that your pug already has some sort of ear infection. Run to your vet and get some antibiotics for your pooch. 

Get a life jacket

This is a very important tip for your pooch’s safety. If your pooch is crazy about water, you would need to put a life jacket on your pooch. This will keep your pug safe. If your pug accidentally falls in the pool. Your pug can stay afloat. Just before getting a life jacket make sure you find out the right size for your pooch. Here are some choices of life jackets for your pug

  1. Outward Hound Granby Splash Dog Life Jacket

The outward Granby splash dog life jacket is an excellent choice for your pug. First of all, this jacket can last a long. It can be fully adjustable. There are no complications for you to put it on your pug. It is also very bright and can be easily spotted. 

If you talk about the buckles on the jacket. There are two buckles on the left. One however adjusts and the other can be fastened near the neck. There is also a velcro portion that secures the front part of the pug. There is also a neck float portion in the jacket that helps your pug’s head to remain afloat.

  • It provides extra floatation safety for your pug’s face allowing them to breathe while in water.
  • It fits easily.
  • It has a very visually appealing sight. You can spot your pug from any spot in the pool.
  • It is very affordable.
  • It has a ripstop material that provides buoyancy while on water. It helps your pug to remain afloat.
  • The product has a grab handle as well. It will ensure that you can get your pug out of the water in case of any emergency.
  • The only disadvantage that this jacket has is, it has no D-ring attached to it.
  • It may not be as durable as others.
  1. Queenmore Dog Life Jacket

The Queenmore dog life jacket brand is an amazing product. The best thing about this product is its fabric. The jacket is made out of oxford foam. It helps in the cleaning process in a much faster manner. It provides enormous warmth to your pugs. 

It is a tight jacket. It assures that all its buckles are super tight to hold on to your pooch. It also has a grab handle for you to pick your dog. There is also a d ring in this jacket which can be easily tied to a rope that you can hold around. The colourisation is also great.

  • It is waterproof, made out of secure and good quality oxford cloth and polyethene foam. It keeps your pug warm. And it is excellent for cleaning.
  • It has well-made nylon straps, with buckles. The release and fastening of straps around the neck are faster. The size will be a good fit for your pug’s belly and neck.
  • It has a good and strong handle at the top through which you can pick up your pug easily. There is also a d ring hook on the jacket for you to attach a leash.
  • The jacket also has reflective and accented strong colours. All these colours help you to spot your pug from anywhere.
  • It also has a floatation solution. It helps your pug to remain afloat maintaining good buoyancy. 
  • The jacket can be a pretty tight jacket for your pug. Make sure your pug’s breathing is fine while putting it on. This is a massive jacket that has a lot of buckles and also a D-ring. It has a buckle on the inside as well.

Dogs that are Natural Swimmers

Many people want to know if there are specific breeds of dogs that are natural-born swimmers. Well, the truth is some dogs are natural at swimming. Some do not like swimming at all. Let’s look at these breeds of dogs:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Poodle
  • American Water Spaniel
  • English Setter
  • Otterhound
  • Spanish Water Dog

Dogs that Do Not Like Swimming

Not all dogs can be classified as natural-born swimmers. Some hate water as well. Let’s look at this list of dogs. 

  • Pugs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Dachshund
  • Greyhound
  • Shih Tzu
  • Basset Hound
  • Maltese
  • Doberman

Hopefully, this will help you decide if a pug is the right dog choice for you. You should make a conscious choice regarding your dog selection. If you want your pet to swim, it’s better not to get a pug then.

What Do Pugs Paddle their Paws Above Water?

If you hold your pug above water, you might see your pug moving its paws. It might be caused due to following reasons:

  • It can be a fearful moment for them, so that’s why they are getting a little panicky.
  • It’s your pug’s reflexes that are at work here. As soon as your pug sees something as threatening their legs start to work.
  • They can also be conditioned to learn the trait. If there is any time you hold them, they paddle. So, even while you hold them in water, they will paddle.

Final Words

Your pug is not a natural-born swimmer. You can still inculcate some swimming techniques onto your pooch for their safety in the water. Make sure you teach your pug swimming in a clean pool. Take care of your pug when he/she is in the pool. Make sure you are wary of your pug’s movements. In case there is a health emergency contact your vet.