Swimming is one of the best activities you can do with your dog as it allows the dog to release excess energy, burn calories, and cool down on a hot day.
Some dog breeds are born with a love for water and a natural ability to swim such as Golden Retrievers.
So, how far can Golden Retrievers swim? Golden Retrievers can swim for about 40 minutes before getting exhausted and they can cover a long distance in that time. They have high endurance due to their energy levels as well as some physical characteristics including their strong hind legs and their double coat which keeps them warm and dry.
Keep reading to learn more about what makes Golden Retrievers good swimmers, how to teach them to swim, and the top-recommended swimming gear to ensure they’ll have a good time on the water.
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Can Golden Retrievers Swim?
Golden Retrievers can swim. They are one of the few dog breeds that are born to be good swimmers.
That is mainly because these dogs were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl such as ducks or geese from bodies of water. So, they retained natural instincts to fetch and swim from their ancestors.
What Are the Benefits of Swimming for Golden Retrievers?
There are various benefits that swimming can provide for Golden Retrievers including:
- Releasing excess energy
- Burning calories to lose weight
- Strengthen muscles and joints
- Relieving pain for dogs with joint problems or arthritis
- Keeping cool in hot temperatures
What Makes Golden Retrievers Good Swimmers?
What makes golden retrievers good swimmers is mainly their high energy levels which give them the endurance needed to swim for longer periods of time without getting exhausted or causing any strain on the body.
Another reason Golden Retrievers are good swimmers is the way their bodies are built.
They have long and muscular hind legs which allow them to stay afloat better as well as maneuver easily in large bodies of water with strong currents or waves.
They also have a double coat for maximum protection in the water. The undercoat has a wool-like feel to it to keep them warm when swimming in cold water for a long time, while the topcoat is hydrophilic which means it repels water to keep their skin as dry as possible.
It’s worth noting that even though they are built for it, and most goldens have a natural liking for water, some goldens just don’t like the water as much or even at all. You can learn why some golden retrievers don’t like the water here.
How Long Can Golden Retrievers Swim Before Getting Exhausted?
On average, Golden Retrievers can swim for around 40 minutes continuously before getting exhausted. During that time, they can cover a large distance due to their endurance and physical characteristics.
However, keep in mind that the exact amount of time or distance that a Golden Retriever can swim for will depend on some factors like the dog’s physical fitness and the body of water it’s swimming in.
As a pet parent, it will be your responsibility to limit your dog’s swim time to avoid over-exerting its body.
How to Train Golden Retrievers to Swim?
Even though Golden Retrievers have natural instincts when it comes to swimming, it’s not a good idea to let them get into the water without some training.
So, here’s a simple guide you can follow in order to train your Golden Retriever to swim:
- You will first need to get a personal flotation device (PFD) or a life jacket that fits your dog’s body comfortably and allows for easy movement while wearing it. It’s recommended to get a life jacket with adjustable straps and solid clips.
- Train your dog to get used to wearing the life jacket for extended periods of time by putting it on when you’re in the house or when you’re out on walks.
- It’s recommended to start training at a swimming pool with enough room for the dog to move around as it will be a lot safer.
- Entice your dog to enter the water by using a toy or a treat to help the dog associate positive emotions with water and encourage it to enter the water on its own.
- Don’t throw your dog in the pool or force it to enter as this will scare it off and might endanger its life.
- Start at a shallow area in the pool and let your dog get comfortable with just being in the water and getting wet.
- Once your dog is comfortable enough, encourage it to gradually move into deeper areas of the pool.
- If your dog seems uncomfortable or scared, you need to move back to a shallow area or get out of the water completely until it calms down before trying again.
- Make sure to reward your dog with traits and praise throughout the training process and with some time, your dog’s instincts will take over and it will be able to swim efficiently in any body of water.
Safety Tips to Protect Your Golden Retriever When Swimming
Here are some important tips you need to keep in mind to maximize your Golden Retriever’s safety when swimming:
- Never let your dog swim without wearing a life jacket and never leave it near the water without supervision.
- Never let your dog swim with its leash on as it might get stuck or tangled around the dog’s body which will hinder the dog’s ability to move and might even cause it to drown.
- Make sure to apply sunscreen on your dog before swimming on sunny days to protect it from sunburns.
- Make sure the temperature of the water is not too cold before letting your dog otherwise your dog will be at risk of getting sick with cold tail or hypothermia.
- Try to gauge your dog’s energy level and limit its swim time accordingly, especially if your dog is a beginner to swimming, to avoid overexerting it.
- Try not to let your dog swallow too much water while swimming as it might contain harmful chemicals and bacteria that will cause your dog to get sick.
- Avoid swimming in crowded bodies of water with lots of other dogs or fishing boats as they might overwhelm your dog and cause it to get scared.
- Make sure to rinse and dry your dog’s coat after swimming in a pool as the chlorinated water might irritate the dog’s skin and eyes.
The Top Recommended Swimming Gear for Golden Retrievers
There is some essential gear that’s recommended to have before taking your Golden Retriever swimming to ensure it will have a good time on the water.
So, let’s take a closer look at the top-recommended swimming gear for Golden Retrievers:
A life jacket is a must-have if your Golden Retriever is going to be near the water or in it. Yes, your Golden is probably going to be a good swimmer, but a life jacket just ensures they stay safe even in the worst-case scenarios like if they get too far and become too tired to swim.
This Kurgo Surf N’ Turf life jacket is one of the best for dogs as it’s made from rugged rip-stop material that can withstand rough use
It comes with two strong handles to extract the dog from water when needed and a D-ring for a leash attachment.
It comes in a bright red color with reflective strips to maximize the dog’s visibility. It’s also available in various sizes and comes with adjustable straps that can be fastened in three separate areas to a secure fit.
Wrap-around towels are a quick and easy solution to the struggle of drying your Golden Retriever after swimming.
This towel from BONAWEN is made from a quick-drying microfiber fabric that is also super soft and comfortable.
It’s rectangular in shape and comes with a Velcro belt to secure it over your dog’s back as well as a hood to cover its head. It also comes in multiple size options to fit any dog.
Although golden retrievers have a double coat that protects their skin, they’re prone to getting sunburned on their nose, belly and, ears. So, the best way to protect your dog from the sun while swimming is to use dog sunscreen.
This Epi-Pet Sun Screen Spray is one of the best as it’s developed by veterinarians to be FDA Compliant. It’s also easy to apply and doesn’t leave any greasy residue on the dog’s coat
Floating toys are useful for enticing your Golden Retriever to get into the water and keeping it engaged while swimming.
This Chuckit! Amphibious Bumper Fetch Toy is made of nylon and rubber EVA foam that will be soft on the dog’s teeth. It also comes in bright colors to make it easy for the dog to spot.
At What Age Can Gold Retrievers Start Swimming?
Golden Retrievers can start swimming when they are about 2-5 months old. If they’re younger than two months, they will not have enough muscle development or endurance to help them stay afloat. Their skin will also be very tender, so harsh pool chemicals will cause them severe irritation.
Can Golden Retrievers Dive?
Golden Retrievers can dive. They will instinctively know how to hold their breath underwater for short periods of time due to their mammalian response. They can also effortlessly retrieve objects at a depth of 15 feet below the water surface. However, don’t let your dog dive without supervision.
What Other Dog Breeds Are Considered Natural Swimmers?
Other dog breeds that are considered natural swimmers are the Labrador Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, Poddle, and Irish Setter. While breeds like Bulldogs, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Shih Tzus are not considered natural swimmers and should avoid swimming altogether.
Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources
- Want the best diet for your dog? Check out the best and healthiest foods for golden retrievers at every age here – Dry, Wet, Homemade Recipes, and Treats!
- Looking for new toys? These toys will prove to be fun, engaging, and will stand their heavy chewing.
- Make them look GLAMOROUS with the best shampoos and conditioners and the best brushes here.
- Taking a walk? These are the best leashes, collars, and harnesses for the buck that you can find.
- Find my list of recommendations here.
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