Can Pugs swim? Check it out here!

Can Pugs Swim? – The Basics

Can Pugs Swim? If you’ve asked yourself this question in the past, we have a very lengthy answer prepared for you. You see, when talking about Pugs swimming, many owners and other dog-related communities will immediately yell that it’s not possible or safe for them to swim. Still, that’s not always the case. Just like any other dog, Pugs can swim. The difference relies on the context, but we’ll get into that later. In this article you’ll get to know:

  • How to find out if your Pug can swim.
  • How to train your Pug to swim if you have a pool at home.
  • And some of the best safety tips and measures you can take to enjoy an occasional swim.

You need to know, and we can’t stress this enough, that supervision is key if your Pug has access to water bodies like pools, ponds, lakes, or beaches. It can make a huge difference between a fun trip for a swim and saying the last words to your beloved pet – hopefully, you’ll be aware of this at all times so the worst doesn’t happen.

“Throwing a puppy or young dog in the water is not only a terrible idea, but it may, in fact, damage the dog’s courage about swimming for life.”

American Kennel Club – AKC

Can Pugs Swim? Pugs, water, and swimming

Maybe you’re getting ready for summer or you simply have a pool at home, and your Pug hasn’t come into contact with it yet. Usually, if you have used the pool around them, they wouldn’t go inside, and would rather stay in the edge looking at you (some brave Pugs can prove me wrong here though).

The truth is that Pugs are not built to swim. Due to their brachycephalic issues, they don’t breathe that well inland, which is why it’s even harder for them while swimming. Once they’re in the water, they will tilt their heads up so they can breathe, which will cause them to sink in some cases. You must not throw them into the water if they haven’t had contact with it before; this will cause them to panic and try to save their lives while trying to swim however they can. That’s simply cruel!

For Pugs, swimming is more of an acquired taste. If they’re introduced to water properly, trained to swim, get in, and out of the pool, they can like and even love this experience. It’s also a good way to keep them cool in warm days and great for them to lose some pounds without hurting their joints. Again, this is something that shouldn’t happen without supervision.

How to know if my Pug can swim?

It is not about being able to, because they can learn how to. It’s more about if they like to swim, which is the context we referred to. If your Pug falls into a water body, he will try to swim, as he panics. He’ll be swimming, but not enjoying himself. Also, you can easily tell if a Pug can or cannot swim by their age and shape. If they’re fat, younger than 8 months, or older than 6 years; they should not be swimming at all!

On the other hand; if you get him a kiddie pool like the ones we recommend¸ and he loves to get in and out of it to cool down while playing, he’ll be having a nice time. That’s when you know that he likes water and maybe would enjoy a larger pool or lake. It’s a progression you must follow!

“Buy a doggies life vest that fits your dog comfortably. No matter what breed you have, you always want that first experience (with water) to be fun, and not scary.”

American Kennel Club – AKC

How to train a Pug to swim?

Training a Pug to swim is easier than you think. They won’t have the best technique though, as they’re not built to do it efficiently. First, you should get a kiddie pool, or if you have one at home, play with them around and in it. This should be done when they are young adults and have fully grown.

After that, you can get into the pool with them, and hold them close to the surface while they get used to paddling. You can do this for periods of five minutes every day for a month, but only if they keep coming with you on their own. You should never force them! Also, you should use this time to train them on how to get in and out of the pool by themselves using stairs or ramps. Make sure to do it near those places so he gets used to getting there and getting out.

After that month, you can try and let them swim on their own for a minute. If they can handle themselves decently, you can let them longer. Always make sure that they do it close to the stairs and while you supervising.

After nailing this, they’ll be able to swim in lakes, ponds, and pools. Make sure you never leave them alone near beaches and rivers, as the flow can cause unpleasant experiences. It’s important to note that, if their first experience with water is not pleasant, they won’t like it afterward.

Can Pugs swim? Safety tips

There are some safety tips you should always follow whenever your Pug is near water bodies.

  • Always suit them up with a life jacket for Pugs.
  • Never leave them unsupervised, even while they wear life jackets or if they can swim very well.
  • When you’re not around, do not allow them to go near the pool or other water bodies.
  • Never throw them into the water; they will freak out and panic if you do this!
  • Add a ramp for them to easily get out of the pool and train them to always use it.
  • Don’t let senior, obese Pugs or puppies go near water.
  • Always make sure that the chlorine doesn’t affect them; some Pugs can have allergic reactions to them.
  • Make sure to rinse them, check their eyes, ears, and mouth, and dry them thoroughly after every swim. Their eyes and ears should be checked constantly. If they get red, the chlorine of your pool is way too high. You can swipe it for more dog-friendly alternatives.
  •  If when they swim the do it in pools with chlorine, don’t make this a daily activity. Chlorine can affect their coat’s chemistry, causing many issues like a yeast infection and hair loss. You can get them a hydrating shampoo to bath them if they swim occasionally in them.
  • Cover them with some sunscreen for Pugs. We reviewed the best ones!
  • Don’t let them swim for more than 20 minutes per session. This can be really extenuating for them!
  • Make sure the water is cool (60°F or 15°C is perfect) before letting them in. If it’s not, don’t let them at all because they will overheat, and this is fatal.

Frequently Asked Questions – Can Pugs swim?

Can Pugs go on fishing trips?

Sure! But make sure they’re protected from the sun and that you follow all the tips above. If the weather is cold, make sure to get them a waterproof coat as well and you’ll be ready to go.

Do Pugs float?

Even though they have barrel-shaped bodies, they don’t really float. It’s because they tilt their heads to breathe better, which in turn sinks their hind legs, making them go down.

Is salty water dangerous for Pugs?

Just like with humans, salty water can be dangerous for Pugs if they drink it. It can cause dehydration and diarrhea, among other bad things. If that happens, take them to the vet immediately!


Pugs can swim, but there’s a lot of preparation and simple steps you should follow before letting them do it. The tips above are the best way of ensuring they enjoy the experience, that they’re safe, and that they will be safe after their swimming sessions. If they don’t get along with water, you should skip all of these training tips, and get straight to the safety ones.

Pugs will never be like Phelps, so you must always keep an eye on them whenever they’re around pools, lakes, beaches or boats. This can save your Pug’s life!

So, are you ready to go swimming with your Pug?               

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