Can Pugs Swim?

Interested in taking your Pug to the pool with you? If so, have you asked can Pugs swim? Some dog owners want to swim with their pets but aren’t sure if they should or if it is safe. So here we will talk about if Pugs can swim and how you can train your dog to swim in your pool.

Can Pugs Swim

Can Pugs Swim?

Yes, your Pug can essentially swim, but it could have difficulty swimming due to certain health issues and lifestyle. Here are some of the reasons why your Pug might have trouble swimming or shouldn’t swim. The reasons are they have brachycephalic syndrome, small bodies that don’t float, non-webbed feet, and the breed itself aren’t very active. Below you will find more information about those.

Brachycephalic Syndrome

You may have heard the term Brachycephalic before as it refers to the respiratory system that Pugs have. Pugs have smushed in faces, and it causes small nasal passageways that can cause breathing issues.

These breathing issues will make your Pug have to lift its head up high while swimming so its butt will be down, which may cause your dog to sink. However, even with this, your dog may be able to swim for short periods of time or float in very shallow water.

Small Compact Body

Pugs have a very small body, but it is wide, so it may be difficult for your Pug to float. They also tend to have very short legs, which may not make them the best swimmer. Pugs were not bred for a specific task like hunting, retrieving, or even herding, so their body is truly designed to be a lap dog.

Non-Webbed Feet

Pugs do not have webbing in between their feet like other dog breeds. When dogs that have this webbing paddle through the water, it will propel them forward, but since Pugs do not have this, it can make it hard to swim.

Not Very Active

Your Pug’s activity level will also play a role in their swimming. Pugs are the best lap dogs and have been a lap dog since the breed was first created. With that being said, your Pug is likely not very active and would rather lounge around than go out for exercise or lounging.

It is not uncommon for your Pug to sleep more than 10 hours per day. If you do get your Pug in the pool with you, remember not to overdo it as your dog may only be able to swim for short periods of time.

Pug Swim

How Long Can a Pug Swim For?

The length that your Pug can swim for will depend on how often your Pug swims in general. It is important to limit the amount of time your dog spends in the water because it can get tired easily from the constant paddling to keep itself afloat.

Never leave your Pug in the pool alone; always be there to help your dog. I would say short swimming sessions of five to fifteen minutes will be enough. Your Pug will certainly get a workout and enough exercise from swimming alone.

Teaching Your Pug to Swim

If you truly want to teach your Pug how to swim, then you will want to follow these steps and tips. These will prepare you for teaching your dog to swim while also keeping your dog safe.

1. Gather Supplies and Check Pool for Safety

The first step is one of the most important because to make your dog feel safe swimming, you should have close-by supplies and ensure the pool is ready for your dog. If this is your Pugs first time going swimming, you should purchase a life vest for it. The life vest which actually helps keep your Pug afloat when swimming and will allow you to not have to hold on to your Pug the entire time.

Below you will see our recommendation for a lifejacket for your Pug to wear while swimming. I cannot stress the importance of having this available for your Pug. It will help keep your dog floating and safe.

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You will also want to check the temperature of the pool and make sure it isn’t frigid for your pup. Pugs do have a fine coat, and if the water is cold, it can cause your Pug to get too cold too. At this time, you will also want to remove anything that may be in your dog’s path from the pool, such as float, toys, or even debris that should be in there.

2. Start Slowly

Now that you have the necessary equipment and have thoroughly checked the pool, you can bring your dog out to swim with you. Again, it is important to do this slowly and not pressure your dog. If your dog just goes in and out of the pool a few times, then it was a successful day.

One way to entice your dog into the pool is to have treats on hand. Dogs and especially Pugs are motivated by food and snacks. So bring a handful of your dog’s favorite treat with you. When your dog steps into the water, reward your dog with a treat. The longer your dog stays in the water, continue rewarding your dog with treats.

3. Show Your Dog Around the Pool

Now that your dog is somewhat comfortable, you can grab your dog and bring it fully into the water. Hold your Pug at first to make your dog feel safe. When you keep your hand wrapped around your dog’s chest, it will allow it to feel much safer and even comfort.

Show your dog where the exit of the pool is. If your dog is swimming around, it may instinctively go to the edge and paw to get out but won’t be able to. Show your dog where to swim to the exit of the pool and even take your dog over to the exit if it seems like your dog is having trouble. Remember throughout swimming that you continue to keep rewarding your dog with treats to create a very positive experience for them.

4. Try Going to the Deep End

Now that your dog has felt comfortable mastering the shallow end, you can try to go to the deep side. Make sure you are with your dog at all times to ensure they don’t sink. If your dog is wearing a life vest, you can allow your dog to do some free paddling. If your dog looks like it is getting exhausted, hold on to your dog and take it to the exit.

5. Continue Practicing

Now you have the knowledge of teaching your Pug basic swimming. The goal is to keep practicing. Owner’s wonder can Pugs swim, and the answer is yes if you help get your dog used to it and continue practicing with your dog. Remember, if your dog seems exhausted that you should bring your dog out of the pool to rest.

Swimming With Pug

Tips For Swimming with Your Dog

Below are some quick tips to help you when training your dog to swim.

  • Always make sure your dog’s surroundings are safe. This can be ensuring the pool isn’t filled with unnecessary equipment or toys.
  • Purchase a life jacket for your dog to help them stay afloat when swimming.
  • Start in the shallow end close to the steps and allow your dog to experience the pool slowly.
  • Give your dogs lots of praise and treats when starting a new experience like swimming.
  • Encourage your dog to swim around on its own you can always be close by to help your dog if it needs help getting to an exit.
  • Don’t force your dog into the pool; make your dog feel comfortable and be patient. Your dog will jump into the pool if it wants to.
  • If you do not want your dog to go near the pool, you should have a pool fence to keep your dog from getting inside.
  • Never leave your Pug inside the pool by itself; it is not advised even if it is wearing a life jacket.
  • Watch your dog’s skin as chlorine can dry it out, and it can irritate it.
  • Excess water in your dog’s ears can also cause ear infections, so check your dog’s ears often.

Do Pugs Sink in Water?

Pugs are very short but also quite oval in shape, depending on how big, or heavy your Pug is. With that being said, your Pugs heaviness may impair your dog from being able to hold itself up.

Another reason why your dog may sink is due to the fact that your Pug has to keep its head far above the water to breathe because of the Pugs brachycephalic syndrome. When your head is pushing its head so far above, it will cause its bottom to sink further down in the water.

Do Pugs Like Water?

The answer to this question is actually really dependent on your specific dog. Some dogs will like the water, and others will avoid it at all costs. For example, your dog may tolerate the warm water in the bath but hate the pool’s cold water.

You can accustom your dog to the pool water, but if your dog truly hates it, you should force your dog to get into the pool to swim with you. Your young Pug may enjoy swimming in the water more than an older senior Pug.

With all of the information said above, you can test out the questions yourself if Pugs like water. Most often, the Pug breed will avoid the water, but if you encourage your dog and get it accustomed to it, it may eventually like it.

Can Pugs Go To Beach

Why Do Pugs Hate Water?

You Pug may not necessarily hate the water, but it is very difficult for the Pug breed to swim in general. There are a lot of qualities against your Pug to make it not the ideal swimmer. We talked about those reasons above but to recap; Pugs do not have webbing to help them swim, they have a hard time breathing, and this breed isn’t that active, to begin with.

Of course, there will be some Pugs that absolutely love swimming, but more often than not, your dog will not enjoy it or may have a hard time swimming without your assistance.

Can You Take Pugs to the Beach?

Yes, Pugs can go to the beach, but there are some things you need to keep in mind. First, pugs should not go to the beach on a very hot day. When the sun beats down on the sand, it makes it so extremely hot, and it would not be a good idea to take your Pug to the beach on an extremely hot day.

If you want to take your dog to the beach during the summer, I suggest waiting until around sunset, which could be around seven or eight in the evening when the sun isn’t beating down on you. You Pug could then enjoy the warmth without the extreme heat.


So, can Pugs swim? This truly depends on your dog and if you have practiced and got your dog accustomed to swimming. Just know that it is not necessary to swim with your Pug. If you are doing it to give your dog exercise, realize that there are other ways your dog can get exercise without swimming. Let me know in the comments if your Pug has ever gone swimming before.

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