Can Schnauzers Swim? 6 Facts, 5 Dangers & 5 Helpful Tips

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You yourself might be a lover of water but you’re wondering if schnauzers can swim. Swimming can be a great source of exercise for your schnauzer but they’re also some dangers to be mindful of.

Can Schnauzers Swim:

Schnauzers aren’t known for their love of water or for being exceptional swimmers. However, schnauzers can definitely learn to swim and learn to love the water. The best thing to do is teach your schnauzer to swim at an early age to ensure they can safely swim.

In this post you’ll discover 6 truths about schnauzers and water, some of the potential risks that come with letting your schnauzer swim as well as 5 essential tips to ensure your schnauzer is safe & enjoys swimming.

Tip #2 & #4 are the most important for their safety.

Let’s dive right in.

6 Truths About Schnauzers And Water

1) Not Natural Lovers Of Swimming

Schnauzers aren’t known for being lovers of water.

However, this doesn’t mean they can’t learn to enjoy swimming.

After all, schnauzers were bred to be hunting dogs and would have to retrieve both on land as well as in water.

So they aren’t water averse, but it may take some getting used to for them to really enjoy being in the water.

Many schnauzer owners find that their pup seems to dislike being in water.

This is likely largely to do with their limited experience with swimming. If you really want to enjoy water activities with your pup it’s best to get them used to the water as early as possible.

Oftentimes it’s not that they dislike water, it’s just that they’re unfamiliar with it!

2) Temperature Matters

Just like you’re less likely to jump in a pool or go to the beach when the water is cold, so will your schnauzer.

The temperature of the water is important when it comes to a schnauzer wanting to swim as well as enjoy swimming.

If you’re attempting to get your pup in the water for a swim lesson when it’s on the cooler side, they may outright refuse.

The best time to introduce your schnauzer to water is when it’s a hot day outside.

The refreshing feeling of being in water in the middle of summer will increase their chances of associating swimming with having a good time.

3) Three Ways To Learn

There are really only three ways for your schnauzer to learn how to swim.

One is through them observing other dogs swimming.

The second is through you guiding them in the water. And the third is letting them paddle on their own with you closely watching.

If your pup sees another dog or a few other dogs in the water swimming around having a blast, they’ll likely want to join in.

And when they’re able to see a furry brother or sister swim, it’s showing them how to do something they’re unfamiliar with.

It also shows them that it’s not as dangerous as their nerves are probably making them feel it is.

The second way would be you jumping in the water with them and holding up their belly with your hand/arm.

Letting them paddle on their own and slowly providing less help as they get more used to being in the water.

Your pup could get comfortable swimming on their own with this type of training in one session or need multiple. It’s really dependent on your specific doggo.

And the last way is to let them figure it out on their own but closely watch.

This might be the more frowned upon method of the three, but totally depends on your parenting style.

Of course if anything goes wrong you’re there to pull them out to ensure they’re safe.

4) The Earlier The Start The Better

The earlier you introduce your schnauzer to water the more likely they will be to enjoy swimming.

Anything that’s unfamiliar can feel scary when first experiencing it.

So if you introduce your schnauzer to water early on in their life, they’ll be more comfortable in water and understand they can swim.

If they become an adult without going in water outside of bath time, they’ll be more resistant to learning how to swim.

It’s very similar to socializating your pup. 

The earlier you introduce your dog to water, the more likely they will enjoy being in water and swimming.

As well as become a better swimmer increasing their safety when in water.

5) Some Will Do Anything Not To Swim

Some dogs naturally love the water, and other dogs naturally would do anything not to ever go in water.

If you’ve tried a couple times to get your schnauzer to swim and they rush immediately to get out, they may simply be uninterested in swimming.

It’s best to not force this.

They may not be interested in going in the water and you should respect this.

If you don’t live close to a body of water where it would be unsafe for them not to know how to swim, there’s no need to force them.

Their idea of a fun day by the water may be watching everyone else swim while they play lifeguard.

6) Can Improve Their Overall Health

If your schnauzer is getting into their senior years or is a little overweight, swimming can be great for their health.

Just like people benefit physically from swimming, so will your pup.

Swimming is great because it has a very low impact on their bones and joints. 

Not to mention it’s also great for strengthening their joints and muscles.

Whereas running has one of the highest impacts on joints and bones.

A study was done looking at swimming’s effects on a dog’s hip joints and found after 8 weeks of swimming 2 days per week, it improved the function of their hip joints.

So with hip dysplasia being a more common condition when dog’s age, swimming can help keep their hip joints and muscles intact.

Also, because there’s more resistance moving through water than when moving on land, they don’t need as much time in the water to get a good amount of exercise.

So by teaching your schnauzer to swim you’d be setting them up to age gracefully and lose some weight while having fun in the water.

5 Dangers To Watch Out For When Letting Your Schnauzer Swim

1) Keep An Eye On Fatigue

You may have experienced this when playing outside on a hot summer’s day.

You’re playing fetch with your schnauzer and you can tell they’re getting tired, but they still go 100%.

Then when you get home they’re absolutely exhausted for the next few hours.

Dog’s aren’t the best at knowing their limits and staying within them when they’re having fun.

So when it comes to swimming, the same thing may happen.

Except it’s much more dangerous in water because they could drown from fatigue.

It’s important for you to keep an eye on how much time they’ve spent in the water to decide if it’s time to call it for the day.

If they’re left to decide on their own, they may go past their limits which could be dangerous for them.

2) Pool Chemicals Could Cause Skin Irritation

Your schnauzer’s skin is much more sensitive than yours.

This is why dogs have their own special dog shampoo.

If you were to use human shampoo on them too often they’d likely get some skin irritations because human shampoo is much more acidic.

Similarly, if they spend too much time in your pool which uses lots of chemicals to keep it clean, it may irritate their skin.

Not to mention if they swallow too much of the water while they’re swimming.

While swim time can be great during hot summer months it’s important to monitor how much they’re allowed in your pool if you use chemicals to keep it clean.

3) Without Supervision They Could Drown

Just like with children, supervision is extremely important whenever your schnauzer is going for a swim.

Whether it’s at the beach and they unknowingly swim too far out, or in your pool and they can’t find their way out.

If they aren’t being watched it could result in them drowning which of course is the last thing you’d want.

4) May Not Able To Find Their Way Out

As previously mentioned, they may not be able to find their way out of the water which could result in fatigue and ultimately drowning.

It could be they’re unable to find the stairs in your pool or unsure how to get back on the dock while at a cottage.

If they’re unfamiliar with the place they’re swimming they may not be able to find their way out.

And if they’re stuck in the water for too long they will eventually become exhausted which will result in the worst possible scenario.

5) Choppy Water Increases Their Risk

When at the beach or swimming in a lake, choppy waters increase their risk of drowning.

Just like with people. A strong tide can be extremely dangerous.

If there are big waves or the water is particularly choppy one day, it’s best to keep them out of the water.

There’s always another day to go for a swim when the waters are more calm and safer.

5 Tips To Help Your Schnauzer Enjoy Swimming

1) Swim With Them

Odds are your pup will enjoy any activity that you choose to do with them. Simply because they want to be with you and spend quality time with their family.

If you and a few of your family members are in the water and your schnauzer is left out, they’ll be more likely to want to join in.

They’ll see you in the water and nervously stand as close to the edge as possible.

Eventually, they likely will build up the courage to jump in and paddle toward you.

If you lead the way into the water and encourage them to come in by calling their name and showing yourself having fun, they’ll likely want to enjoy it with you.

Swimming with your pup is one of the best ways to get them to enjoy swimming.

Be careful what you wish for though! 

You may not be able to get them out of the water once they realize how much they enjoy it.

As soon as my pup found out she liked swimming in our pool she would jump in almost every summer day. The little rascal.

2) Start With a Vest

One of the safest ways for your schnauzer to swim on their own while they’re getting the hang of swimming is to get them a vest.

Vests are great because they help keep your pup at the surface of the water while they learn their doggy paddle.

Whether it’s going for a swim in your pool or at the beach, a vest is never a bad idea to ensure they’re safe swimming off on their own.

The most important thing is that it’s the right size for your pup.

Too small and it will restrict their movement making it uncomfortable/difficult to swim.

Too big and it won’t work in keeping their head and body above water and could even become a choking hazard.

So before they go in the water with a vest make sure that it’s sized appropriately for them.

Here’s a great swimming vest: Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket (make sure to get the right size!)

3) Play Fetch In The Water

Playing games in the water is a surefire way to help your schnauzer enjoy swimming.

Odds are your schnauzer loves a good game of fetch because of their hunting instincts.

So when it comes to getting them in the water, throwing their favorite toy to retrieve should get them to enjoy swimming.

This also helps your pup focus on getting their toy instead of swimming.

Swimming just becomes a part of what’s necessary for them to get their toy back.

Related Reading: How to Teach a Dog to Fetch a Toy In 6 Steps

4) Ensure Getting Out Is Easy For Them

Wherever you’re taking your schnauzer to swim, always make sure they know how to get out when they’ve had enough.

This can best be done by showing them yourself.

Whether it’s how to climb back on to a dock at a cottage or showing them exactly where the stairs are in a pool and getting them to follow you out.

When you show them by example, and get them to follow you out they’ll have a better idea how to get out when they want out.

Also standing by the exit and calling them can help guide them to where they need to go if they forget.

5) Take Them To The Water/Pool On a Hot Day

One of the easiest ways to get your schnauzer to enjoy going for a swim is taking them to a body of water on a hot day.

Since your schnauzer can only sweat through their nose and mouth (and a little through their paws), they’ll get warmer easier on hot days.

So if you take them to the beach or to a pool on a hot day, they’ll be much more likely to want to go in the water.

A splash or two of the cool water should be enough to get them interested in going for a dip.

Once they’re in it might be hard to get them out!

Other posts you might find interesting:

Why Do Schnauzers Sniff So Much? 21 Things You Should Know

Do Schnauzers Like To Cuddle? 16 Things You Should Know

9 Reasons Why Schnauzers Smell Bad + 5 Ways To Stop It


Standard Schnauzer

How Hydrotherapy and Swimming Can Benefit Dogs

Effect of Swimming on Clinical Functional Parameters and Serum Biomarkers in Healthy and Osteoarthritic Dogs


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