Many dogs love to go swimming, and it’s a joy watch them have fun! However, swimming can introduce a lot of variables to a dog’s skin and coat. To keep them happy and healthy after the fun, keep these tips and tricks in mind after a day in the water.
The first general rule is to rinse your dog after swimming in any type of water. If your dog plays in the ocean, salt water can dry out their skin and coat. When they’re done swimming, it’s a good idea to rinse your dog to prevent the damaging effects of salt water. Some breeds like Labrador Retrievers are designed to swim in salt water, and have more oily skin and coats. Double coated dogs or breeds with thick coats can experience more problems. This can include discomfort, itchiness, dryness, or irritation after swimming in the ocean.
It’s also a good practice to rinse your dog off with fresh water after swimming in lakes, ponds, and rivers. Unfortunately, pollutants can be found in these bodies of water, and it’s important to remove them from your dog’s skin and fur. Swimming in lakes, ponds, and rivers can also leave your dog with the unpleasant smell of whatever water they played in. A good bath afterward will help remove the swampy smell. For dogs that swim in pools, be sure to rinse them afterwards to remove chlorine or any other chemicals from their skin and coat.
It’s important to get your dog dry when they are done swimming. This may not matter as much with dogs that have thin coats and dry easily. Dogs that have dense coats have a harder time drying out. In areas that don’t dry well, such as the thick fur under the neck, it is possible for your dog to get a skin infection.
Remove your dog’s collar during swimming to keep it dry, or if you would rather keep it on during play, remove it when you get home and allow it to dry. A wet collar can cause irritation or infection when left in prolonged contact with your dog’s skin. Bacteria can form on the collar, which can also cause irritation or infection on the skin around your dog’s neck.
Finally, brush your dog out when they are dry. Thick, dead fur can become matted when wet. If the mats are not removed, they can become a problem. Wet tangles in particular can get larger and tighter against the skin. Follow up any bathing or swimming with a good brushing.
Swimming is a great exercise for dogs! Make sure to keep the experience positive and healthy by caring for your dog’s skin and coat. If you ever see anything that’s a cause for concern, be sure to bring your dog into your regular veterinarian to get them examined.