Can Pugs Swim? Are Pugs Good At Swimming?

Pugs are cute, highly demanded dogs that anyone would want to own. But, Can Pugs Swim?

Being small, weak-limbed, and squashed-faced makes the Pug poor swimmers. 

Thus for most people who love swimming and who require a dog that shares the same joy for the activity. Pugs are not the best choice. Sadly, they are not great swimmers, and not even good at faking it.  

But, there is hope since every dog differs in character. Here are a few ways to introduce your Pug to swimming and make the experience safe and enjoyable. Hopefully, it works! 

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Why Aren’t Pugs Good Swimmers? 

So, why are Pugs not great swimmers?

There are a number of reasons why Pugs aren’t good swimmers, even if they enjoy being in the water. The most common reason is they are just not built or equipped for swimming. 

Pugs have very short bodies that are paired with short limbs as well. Remember that Pugs are companion dogs, not working dogs, so their limbs are not powerful enough for intense activity.

Additionally, Pugs tire out faster than most other dog breeds, thanks to their flat face! Although their face looks cute, it works to their disadvantage.

Their flat snouts equate to a short and narrowing air passage. This makes it difficult for this dog breed to swim. 

Pugs are also relatively small and are prone to getting obese.

When they become overweight, it makes it more difficult for them to swim. The extra weight will make it harder for them to float. This will cause them to struggle as they can start to sink.

Alert! Even with a floatable vest, a Pug can start to sink if they are obese.  

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How to Know If Your Pug Would Like Swimming?

A big problem with introducing dogs to swimming is their reluctance to get wet. Some dogs are just against swimming because of their dislike of getting wet.

Dogs that hate going out in the rain are less likely to want to swim. But then again, you never know! 

So how do you know if your dog would like to swim? There are a few pointers that will let you know the truth. 

These are signs your dog would be interested in learning how to swim:

  • Going out to play in the rain
  • Playing in puddles
  • Getting excited when you are swimming 
  • Lack of fear of water 

But, of course, swimming is much different than splashing in puddles and walking in the rain. Caution must be used when introducing your dog to swimming. It just takes one bad experience to put him off forever!

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How to Make the Swimming Experience Better For Your Pug?

If your pooch is about to have his first swimming experience, love it or hate it, you have to try to make the experience their best one. 

Here are some tips to improve how well your Pug reacts to swimming: 

1. Test The Waters First

The best start a dog can have is by making him familiar with the swimming area.

You can try taking your dog to the lake or pool your dog will be swimming in. A step like this could eliminate all fear and anxiety he could have. These feelings are related to fear of the unknown, so try your best to let your dog explore the area to the maximum.  

If he is willing, let him explore the water as well. Lead by example and go ahead and enter the water, maybe this will give him the confidence to follow you.   

2. Use A Vest

Give your Pug extra support with a life jacket. This floatable vest can be worn by your dog to keep him above water. Instinctively, your dog will start to wade when he is placed in the water and is floating. 

There is also a downside to this. Such a tool might make your dog very dependent on it to float.

Another problem is if your dog is heavy. A vest might not be able to keep him afloat. Getting the wrong vest may cause a problem in keeping the balance as the distribution of weight won’t be equal.

Meaning your dog could end up almost vertically positioned in the water! 

3. Avoid Over-Exhaustion 

In case your dog is willing to take the plunge, take it slow.

Make sure the swimming sessions are short and not marathons! As mentioned, Pugs are not made for heavy exercise for long periods. Plus, your dog is more likely to join in on swimming activities if they are short. 

How do you know when your Pug is ready to stop? Well, it is easy to recognize. If your dog is struggling he will be making heavy noises, poorly paddling, or sinking. This is the right time for you to step in to save him. 

Carefully pick him up out of the water at the right time. Getting the timing right is crucial. Being too late will prove to be a terrible experience for your dog. It could be enough to make him never want to swim ever again. 

4. Water Temperature Matters

Water has to be just right for your dog. Too cold or too hot won’t do.

That’s a reason why pools are the best first-time swimming area. It is possible to monitor and control the water temperature to a great extent. 

To assess what temperature the water should be, take a look at the weather outside. Base the water temperature on this.

If it’s really hot outside, make sure the pool is cooling your dog and not just adding to the heat. Your dog would love to cool off in the water. 

Your dog might not want to take a swim in the cold, even if the water is warm. That’s absolutely fine and he should not be forced to swim just because you want to. 

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5. Accompany Them

A great way to entice your dog to take a swim with you is to make it a partnership activity.

Go ahead and join your pooch for a swim. This will boost his confidence and skills because he will know you’re there to save him. You can give him all the assurance he needs to thrive! 

Sending your dog into the water alone is a bad idea, not to mention a risky one! An unaccompanied Pug can easily drown without anyone to save him.  

6. Don’t Force Them!

Never force your dog into something they don’t want to do. They will grow to hate it! A dog should grow enough confidence to try out an activity without being forced by its owner. Forcing the matter doesn’t do anyone any good. 

7. Guard Against Ear Infections

Because of their folded ears that don’t get much fresh air circulation, Pugs are at high risk of serious ear infections.

As a Pug owner, it is solely your responsibility to dry your dog’s ears. Failure to do so could prove to be expensive if a vet and medication are required later on.  

8. Send Him For Swimming Lessons

Want your Pug to learn how to swim for survival purposes? Training can be tough and you might want to consult a professional. Dog experts would be able to help you with your problem if you are willing to pay for the lessons. 

A positive result is likely as they are skilled in handling dogs. It is a great option if you don’t have much time to consistently dedicate to training your dog to swim.   

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Make Your Pool Safe For Pug Swimming

Whether your dog can swim or not, always take steps to ensure the safety of your dog. This involves covering your pool and keeping it clean 365 days a year. Certain actions can make the pool area much safer.  

– Keep The Pool Fenced

Dogs enjoy running around the yard fast. Dogs are even quite clumsy and can misjudge themselves.

Fencing around a pool can greatly help the situation by avoiding a dog from falling in unexpectedly.    

Also, a fence should be strong enough to keep other animals out that otherwise could contaminate your pool water. 

– Use A Pool Cover

A pool cover can keep your pets safe and still keep the water clean enough to swim in. Diseases can occur when objects like dry leaves, dust, and sticks enter the water making it dirty.  

Pool covers are a cheap way to keep pools clean. They are available at most pool care shops. 

– Light Up the Pool Area

Do you have dogs that spend considerable amounts of time outside? Well, in that case, you should consider lighting up the pool area.

Elderly pets could have bad eyesight at night and could easily tip over the edge of a pool that lacks a fence. 

If you aren’t there to protect and save them, an incident like this could easily end in tragedy. This is the last thing you would want to happen. Lighting in addition to a pool cover can greatly reduce an ill-fated situation for your dogs.  

– Avoid Harmful Chemicals

Although chemicals are safe for humans, they are usually not safe for animals. Certain pool cleaning chemicals such as Chlorine can harm your pet Pug.

Apart from damaging their eyes and ears, a dog’s skin can also undergo damage from these dangerous chemicals.

Try to get pool cleaners that are effective but without too many harmful chemicals. Chlorine in pool water can display in bloodshot Pug eyes.

Lakes and ponds could also be harboring ground for dangerous diseases that can affect your dog.

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Are Lakes Safe for Your Pug?

Many American families like to take their pet dog along to a lake for a swim. But, how safe are such water bodies? Certainly, there are a few risks associated with swimming in lakes and dams. 

Take good note of these few important points. 

Natural Wildlife

Lakes usually come with their own community of natural animals residing in or around them.

For example, there could be alligators, large predatory fish, or even bears lurking around. Before letting your pet swim, make sure the water is completely safe for everyone. 

Remember, this is not your backyard and they are surroundings that are not in your control. Therefore, keep your dog close by and do not let your guard down. Pugs are small and any animal might consider them an easy target to get, even eagles!  

Water-Borne Diseases

Although not always present, there are chances of dangerous bacteria and microorganisms in lakes or other water bodies. Water that appears clear is not always necessarily clean. 

Blue-Green Algae 

Also known as cyanobacteria, this bacteria can cause illness and even death to your dog. Signs of this bacterial disease include:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

This disease can also affect humans and should be avoided at all costs. 


This disease is from lakes or ponds and is caused when animals urinate in water bodies.

Urine can contain Leptospira bacteria and it can affect both humans and dogs. Your dog can get vaccinated against it, however, if he is not, he is at great risk of becoming infected.

Can Pugs Swim? Are Pugs Good At Swimming?


Pugs are not agile swimmers if they even choose to swim!

There are ways to remove some of their fear of water and train them, but this does not guarantee they will become proficient swimmers. However, getting your Pug to swim is a chance you can take. 

If it works out, great! But if it doesn’t don’t force your dog into doing what does not excite him. 


Are Pugs natural swimmers? 

No, Pugs are not natural swimmers. Pugs are not a swimming dog breed. Dogs that love to swim are Spanish Water Dog, Labrador Retriever, Otterhound, American Water Spaniel, and Newfoundland Dogs, to mention a few. 

Why can’t Pugs swim?

Pugs are just not built or equipped for swimming. Here are the reasons
1. Their limbs are not powerful enough for an intense activity like swimming.
2. Pugs tire out faster than most other dog breeds, thanks to their flat face