Can all dogs swim

Dogs have natural abilities and instincts to do many things, not limited to barking, licking etc. etc., but what about swimming. Well you might be interested to know that swimming doesn’t come naturally to all dogs.

There are the obvious ones - Labradors, English Setters, Golden Retrievers and Spaniels to name a few- these usually love water, this is a mixture of physical attributes and genetic predisposition.

Let’s break it down, those that are excellent swimmers have strong limbs which of course help, and this talent may stem from their genes as many would have been bred to perform tasks that involved swimming, such as retrieval of waterfowl.

Then there are dogs that are not suited to swimming, this doesn’t mean they don’t like water, they are just not designed for swimming well. Breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Dachshunds and Boxers would all fall into this category. This can come from a mixture of smaller legs that don’t have the power to keep them afloat along with shorter faces that get tired very quickly.

Then there are the dogs that have a complete fear of the water and can panic in deep or shallow water - this is not a good combination. This is not breed specific as I own 2 lovely Labradors- one (Oscar) who loves swimming and the other (Hooch) that won’t venture out of the shallows, this stems from Hooch jumping into a pond as an exuberant pup and very quickly needing to be retrieved, caution around water followed!

Of course it goes without saying that taking your dog for a swim should be approached with the same care as taking a child for a swim, particularly if it’s the first time. There are lots of products that make good buoyancy aids for dogs and always be aware of yours and your dog’s limits! 

7 tips for dog health in the summer..

Summer dog

1.       Groom your dog removing undercoat hair but don’t shave down!

A common mistake in the hot weather is to shave your dog right down, thinking this will help maintain some level of coolness when in fact it can have the opposite effect. Shaving can affect yours dogs ability to maintain the right temperature. It is also very important for dogs with short hair (particularly short white fur) to consider sun screen ensuring you use sunscreen that is recommended for your dog.

2.       When really hot avoid walking dogs on tarmac

This may not be feasible but tarmac can get extremely hot so if you can avoid it by walking on the verge instead this will help avoid any pain on the paws, to be sure it is always wise to check your dog’s paws for heat damage, especially if they spend a lot of time outside on tarmac or a similar surface.

3.       Have plenty of water available

This is obvious but important to remember that once a dog overheats drinking copious amounts of water quickly can lead to bloat (an interesting article on this here). This is of particular risk in large breed dogs. How to handle overheating is covered under point 4.

4.       Know the signs of heatstroke..

There are many different signs but we have just covered a few off here: panting a lot is one of the obvious ones, lethargy or any sign of weakness, dogs may become more irritable than normal and potential my even start vomiting.  Redness around the eyes and finally they may collapse.

To help cool your dog down- plenty of water available (but not too cold as this may make the dog sick). A wet sponge or mist spray on the coat- do not hose down or throw lots of cold water over the dog- ice water will close the capillaries and prevent heat loss further. A fan can also be used to help cool your dog down.

Of course in extreme cases you should call a vet.

5.       Watch out for grass seed

Grass seed is very common and can get embedded in your dog’s paws, once in the paw it can lead to soreness and even acute lameness- if left untreated the grass seed can burrow further into the foot and even the leg, there have even been cases where grass seed can reach the chest cavity. If caught early the seed can be removed easily with tweezers, if not caught early then it will need to be removed by a vet.

6.        Understand how hot your car can become even when  windows are open

Even when you leave the window open just a crack your dog can still overheat. It is very worthwhile leaving your car with the window open at different amounts to see how hot it does get. Of course it goes without saying the leaving the windows shut can be fatal.

7.       Know your dog’s exercise limits

Like us dogs get hot and subsequently tired particularly when their bodies are put through their paces so a normal walk in the cold will have a very different impact in the heat. Common sense but worth remembering when the sun is out and it seems like the perfect day for a long walk..


 *These are our tips for summer- of course none of our tips replace advice from your vet

Five amazing Easter hunt ideas for your dog

Easter is just around the corner, which means the whole family will soon be on the hunt for eggs in the home and garden. In addition to young children, this activity can also be a lot of fun for the family dog. With this in mind, we have five amazing Easter hunt ideas which you can use this coming weekend.

easter- dog

Outdoor tennis ball treat hunt

On Easter weekend, hide some treat filled tennis balls in and around the garden. Simply take some old tennis balls, cut a small slice into the centre, before placing your dog’s favourite treat inside. Once everything is set up, let the fun begin. Sniffing out the tennis balls and working out how to get to the treats will keep your dog happy for an afternoon.

Indoor Easter egg hunt

Some pet stores do sell chocolate eggs made especially for dogs, which are perfect for creating an indoor Easter egg hunt. Hide three or four throughout the house, before prompting your dog to locate them. This can be made even more enjoyable by scattering your dog’s favourite toys close to the eggs, which they’ll love stumbling upon.

Digging for treasure

Burying these pet chocolate eggs in the back garden is another fun way for dogs to hunt down some Easter treats. Digging is an activity dogs love to do, as it’s part of their natural instinct. Hiding treats under soil makes the hunt a little more challenging, which burns extra energy and calories.  

Egg obstacle course

Transform a typical obstacle course in an Easter extravaganza, simply by placing pet chocolate eggs at the end of particular sections. This is a great alternative to a traditional Easter egg hunt, as it will teach your dog obedience, while giving them a vigorous workout.

Bobbing for eggs

If it’s a particularly hot day, filling a paddling pool with water can give a typical Easter egg hunt an unusual twist. Place waterproof toys in the water, along with some peeled boiled eggs. Most dogs love splashing around in the water, and the fact they’ll be surrounded by treats makes the experience even more enjoyable.

For further information about Oscar & Hooch products, please call +44 (0)1934 713667, or email