The hot summer days are just around the corner, and what else could be better than spending time splashing in the pool with your Yorkie? Your first question may be, “Are Yorkies water dogs, and can they swim?
As a Yorkie owner, you need to know a few things about their swimming capabilities. Swimming is a good skill for your Yorkie to learn because they might encounter water one day, and they must know their way around it.
So, back to the question– can Yorkies swim? Yes, they can. Read on to learn how to teach Yorkies to swim, follow safe swimming practices, and conduct post-swimming care for your Yorkie.
Can Yorkies Swim?
You bet they can! Basically, most dogs and water dogs would doggy paddle automatically when put in the water. Most terrier breeds are fierce swimmers even though they are small in stature. Unlike the larger breeds like poodles and Labradors, it is not in the terrier’s nature to gravitate toward the water. However, since it is a Yorkie terrier breed, your Yorkie can learn to swim effortlessly and be good at it.
Yorkies have the advantage of having a sleek body and a light-boned build, and a silky coat of hair that helps them in water. Dogs like the Pug or bulldogs often have trouble keeping afloat with their short, barrel-chested build. The thick, double coats of fur in other breeds usually weigh them down in the water.
Do Yorkies like water? Sure, they do. Yorkies are adventurous and determined. Despite their small size, they are willing to take on challenges. However, Yorkies should be supervised when in or near water. They will feel more comfortable if you are close by.
Keep Your Yorkie Safe While Swimming
Your pet is finally going swimming. Here are some safety tips to keep your dog safe and comfortable getting into the water.
1. Start in shallow water
For your Yorkie’s first swimming lesson, you might think about finding a shallow pool close by to test his skills in the water. Or, if there’s none, you may consider purchasing a kiddie pool, the kind that you inflate and fill, starting up with a few inches of water. As the Yorkie gets used to the water, you can start raising the water level so they can practice floating and swimming.
You don’t want to toss your Yorkie straight into a deep pool at the start because that will scare or traumatize your pet, and they might develop a fear of the water.
Having the introductory swimming lessons in shallow water will give your Yorkie a sense of security that he can always come out of the water if he feels uncomfortable.
2. Stay close to your Yorkie
One thing you must never do is push or toss your Yorkie into the water on his own. This method will work with larger breeds born with natural swimming abilities. It’s a different thing with Yorkies. Although dogs have survival instincts and will start doggie paddling if tossed in the water, this is not the way to start swimming sessions for your Yorkie.
In shallow water, your Yorkie will be assured that he can stand on his feet when needed. With you close by, your pet will feel your moral support. You can keep a hand on their back at all times, so your Yorkie will think that you are there to help prevent possible slipping.
Never ever leave your Yorkie alone, even if he is wearing a dog life vest. Yorkies are too tiny and more prone to drowning compared to other dogs.
One best method of teaching your Yorkie to build confidence is to get into the water yourself. If you are out in the pool or lake, make your dog swim gently in your direction. This will make your Yorkie feel assured that you are there for him.
3. Keep the water temperature right
The impact of the water temperature is the first thing that will hit your Yorkie the second he gets into the pool. Your Yorkie needs to feel that the water is not too cold or warm. Keep the water temperature at about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 29 degrees Celsius).
Lower temperatures might be refreshing and cooling for bigger dogs but not for a small Yorkie. If you feel the water temperature is too low, you might want to wait until the water gets a little warmer.
4. Put a life vest on your Yorkie if he gets tired
If you feel that your Yorkie is getting tired after being in the water for a few minutes, you might put a dog life vest on him. A dog life vest will give your Yorkie more security, develop confidence and help them stay in the water longer if they want to.
In addition, a dog life vest can free you, the dog owner, from unnecessary stress. There are several options for life vests for Yorkies on the market. Over time, when your Yorkie finally starts to feel confident being in the water, you can start weaning them from the dog life vest.
6. Put sunscreen on your Yorkie when necessary
If you are at the beach or pool, especially in the summer, don’t forget to bring sunscreen for your Yorkie. Yes, you read that right. Dogs can get sunburned like humans, especially if your dog has a very short haircut. Sunscreens in spray bottles are the easiest to apply to dogs.
7. Always bring plenty of freshwater
Yorkies can easily get tired after swimming, and they need to drink fresh water. Always carry enough water with you. Don’t let your Yorkie drink water from the pool or lakes because the chemicals and contaminants in the water may cause diarrhea and other digestive problems.
Your dog needs to stay hydrated. Every time you set out for a swimming session with your Yorkie, bring disposable bowls so you can easily set out fresh water when the Yorkie wants to drink.
8. Don’t let your Yorkie swim in stagnant lakes
If a swimming pool or a kiddie pool is unavailable, find something else but never let your Yorkie swim into a stagnant lake. Stagnant waters can contain many bacteria, diseases, and blue-green algae that make your dog sick.
Post-Swimming Care for Your Yorkie
Your Yorkie just finished a swimming session. That’s not the end of it. You should know that your Yorkie could be prone to allergies, infections, and other ailments. Water in the swimming pool is chlorinated; therefore, you must rinse off your dog after his swimming routine.
You don’t want those chemicals to dry off your dog’s skin. Give your Yorkie a nice bath and dry his ears and nose thoroughly with a towel. There are many options for good dog shampoo and conditioner to clean your Yorkie and remove all the water chemicals from his body.
If you took your Yorkie to swim in the sea, you have to rinse off the saltwater from his skin and coat. Sand and salt water can make his skin itchy and irritated.
Dog swimming is a good exercise, but the goal is to make your Yorkie happy, clean, and comfortable after a swimming trip.
In answer to the question, yes, Yorkies can swim, but you need to supervise them. You will already have learned that Yorkies like water, but if yours does not, don’t force him. Take your time to make your Yorkie comfortable first, and eventually, he will learn to enjoy swimming.
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