Of course a dog breed named after a body of water can swim. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever was developed on the coast of the Bay as dog that works hard on both land and water. Don't get one of these unless you are able to make swimming part of its regular exercise routine.
It doesn't matter if you have a black, chocolate or yellow Lab — all of them are spectacular swimmers. True to its name, the Labrador Retriever can retrieve anything on the shore or in the water (and does so with tremendous pride and joy). No wonder this breed is often used in water rescue efforts.
While we're on the subject of retrievers… Who hasn't seen an affable golden swimming in the water with an all-important stick in its mouth? This breed absolutely adores the water and boasts a naturally water-repellent outer coat.
These gentle, giant teddy bears are born to swim. They have thick, heavy coats that protect them from extreme water temperatures, and their webbed feet make them outstanding swimmers. Trivia: Fishermen used Newfoundlands to help pull their nets.
Love water sports? So does this active breed. The intelligent Spanish Water Dog is easy to train and will make you a proud dog parent as he shows off his skills on the beach.
Does your hair get curly when you swim? This tall spaniel is the poster dog for curls. The Irish Water Spaniel is very smart, highly energetic and expert at hunting waterfowl. The trademark ringlets are water-repellent.
"Anything at the beach that can harm you can harm your dog as well: high temperatures, sunburn, riptides, sharp seashells, jellyfish and aggressive dogs," says Colleen Demling, an expert dog trainer with Pawtopia. Take responsibility to protect your beloved pooch from harm:
Call him. Make sure your dog responds (every single time) to your commands before you consider letting him run leash-free. If he doesn't answer to "Come here, boy," then he isn't ready to traipse along the beach.
Provide water. "Sun, sand and saltwater delight your dog's senses but can leave him with a nasty 'beach hangover,'" warns Demling. "Offer fresh, cool water often, and remove your dog from the water when he drinks it. Seawater is very dehydrating and can irritate your pet's stomach and cause vomiting."
Turn up the SPF. "Hairless breeds, short-coated dogs, light-colored dogs and dogs with pink noses are more prone to getting sunburn," says Demling. Use only pet-formulated sunscreen (available at pet stores and online) and avoid products that contain zinc, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested.
Strap on the life vest. "When you bring your furry friend along for a leisurely cruise, make sure he has a life preserver vest and a secure area away from the edge of the boat to keep safe in rough waters," cautions Demling.
Know your dog. Nearly 40,000 pets die in drowning accidents each year. "When it comes to swimming and fear of water, dogs are just like humans," says Demling. "Many love it and seem to have a natural ability while others do not." Before hitting the beach, make sure your dog is well acquainted with the water and doesn't have any heath issues that would make swimming more difficult."
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