Can Shih Tzus Swim? Shih Tzu Swimming!

Can Shih Tzus Swim? When it comes to swimming, unfortunately, not every dog is cut out for it! In fact, Some breeds are actually prone to being unable to swim due to their body shape and size.

Luckily, however, this isn’t true for Shih Tzus – they absolutely love water! But, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re planning on taking your Shih Tzus for a dip.

How To Tell If Your Shih Tzu Can Swim?

The best way to tell if your Shih Tzu can swim is by taking them to a nearby lake or pond and seeing how they react. If they seem to be enjoying themselves and are paddling around with no problem, then congrats! Your Shih Tzu can swim!

However, if they seem to be struggling or look like they’re having trouble staying above the water, it’s best to get in the water with them or put a life jacket on your dog.

Signs That A Shih Tzu Can Swim:

  • Can Keep Their Head Above Water
  • Can Change Direction Without Problems
  • Dog Is Showing No Signs Of Distress

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Should You Let Them Swim Underwater?

Seeing your dog swim underwater can be nerve-racking, especially if you are not sure whether or not they can swim!

In some cases, Shih Tzus have been seen to dive under the water when jumping in a pool or fetching a ball but, only for a couple of seconds.

Most dogs that do this are quite happy to do it and will come back up to the surface naturally without any problems.

However, if your Shih Tzus jumps into a lake or swimming pool and is not a good swimmer they might not be able to swim back up to the surface and could end up drowning.

If this sort of thing worries you your best option would be to use a “dog life jacket” that will stop your dog from going under the water.

When To Avoid Swimming With Your Shih Tzu?

Although swimming with your dog can be a ton of fun, there are a few instances when it’s best to avoid it. Even if your Shih Tzu is a good swimmer, there are times when you should avoid taking them swimming.

If The Water Is Too Cold

If the water is too cold, it can be dangerous for your Shih Tzu. Dogs can get hypothermia just like humans, so it’s important to make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature for them before letting them swim.

Important: If you let your dog swim in water that is too cold it can cause “limber tail syndrome” which is a restriction of the blood supply to the tail muscles that can occur (within 24 hours) after swimming!


If The Water Is Too Rough

Another time you should avoid taking your Shih Tzu swimming is when the water is too rough. Big waves and strong currents can be very dangerous for dogs, even if they’re good swimmers.

So, it’s best to stick to calm waters when taking your Shih Tzu for a swim.

Objects Floating In The Water:

You should also avoid taking your Shih Tzu swimming if there are any dangerous objects in the water. Things like floating tree branches or logs can injure your dog if they step on them.

It’s always best to check the area for any hazards before letting your Shih Tzu swim.

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How Do You Know If Shih Tzus Like To Swim?

One of the most important things to think about before you take your Shih Tzu swimming is whether they will enjoy it. Most dogs love going for a swim and the same can be said for Shih Tzus “but” there are some that don’t!

Most dogs will naturally enjoy being in the water if they’re introduced gradually and have a chance to get used to it.

This is especially true for Shih Tzus since they’re such intelligent dogs. However, even if your dog is a natural swimmer, they may not always enjoy it.

Signs That Your Shih Tzus Doesn’t Like Swimming:

  • Trying To Get Out Of The Water
  • Looking Anxious Or Scared
  • Paddling Frantically
  • Not Moving Forward
  • Whimpering

It’s always important to make sure that your dog is actually enjoying themselves. If they seem stressed or uncomfortable, it’s best to take them out of the water.

You should also be aware of the temperature of the water you’re going to be swimming in. Dogs can get hypothermia just like humans, so it’s important to make sure the water isn’t too cold for them.

Top Tip: Shih Tzus do not like being pushed beyond their limits when swimming so make sure they get plenty of rest if needed!

Shih Tzus swimming

How Long Can Shih Tzus Swim For?

This really depends on the individual dog and how much experience they have with swimming. Generally speaking, however, most Shih Tzus can swim for a while without any problems.

Of course, if your dog is not used to swimming then they will probably get tired a lot quicker than a dog that swims regularly.

It’s important to remember even if they love playing in the pool or around water, it doesn’t mean they will be willing and able to go for a full-on swim.

If for some reason you do decide to take your Shih Tzu for a long-distance swim, then it’s important that your dog wears a life jacket.

Not only, will a life jacket helps keep your dog above water but, they are also more likely to be able to swim back to land if they get tired.

Should You Let Them Swim Alone?

No! Never let your Shih Tzu swim alone, even if they’re a strong swimmer! Dogs can get tired, and they can also get cramps.

If you’re not there to help them, they could easily drown. It’s always best to be safe and swim with your dog or at least have someone else there with them.

It’s always best to play it safe, Especially if your Shih Tzu is swimming in the ocean! All it takes is for them to get caught up by the current then things can quickly turn bad and your dog could end up drifting out to sea and drown

The same goes if your dog is swimming in a lake! Even if the water appears to be calm bad things can still happen unexpectedly so be on the lookout.

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Should You Let Them Swim With Other Dogs?

This is really up to you and what you feel comfortable with. If your Shih Tzu is a good swimmer and you’re happy for them to swim with other dogs then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.

However, if you’re not sure or if your dog is not a strong swimmer then it’s probably best to avoid letting them swim with other dogs.

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Teaching Your Shih Tzu To Swim

It’s recommended that you start teaching your Shih Tzu how to swim when they are still a puppy. Puppies have the ability to learn very quickly which means they will be able to pick up on swimming techniques in no time!

Teaching older dogs can sometimes prove difficult, and if their past experiences with water haven’t been positive then of course this may make it harder for them to get used to it.

If you want to teach your Shih Tzu to swim then here are some basic tips you can follow!

1. Introduce Your Shih Tzu To The Water Slowly

The first thing you need to do is introduce them into a shallow area that they are comfortable with. Your best option would be to use a Dogs Pool or kiddies pool where your pup will feel more comfortable.

Alternatively, you can also place your Shih Tzu in your bath at home, and slowly get them used to the water!

2. Let Them Build Their Confidence

Once they have become familiar with the water, you can then start taking things a little bit further by wading in up to your waist.

Try and avoid going into deeper waters unless it’s something that they are comfortable with as this will help them feel more confident about being around deeper water.

3. Teach Them To Swim

Now that your dog is familiar with being in the water, you can try teaching them some basic swimming techniques. If they have been learning from a young age then this shouldn’t be too difficult as it will be something that comes naturally for dogs – just like walking!

However, if they’ve never had any experience around water before and are a little older it may take more time and patience so going slow at first is always best!

4. Use A Life Jacket

If your dog is still having trouble swimming then using a life jacket is the best way to go. This will help them feel more confident in being able to float on top of the water and it’s also great for helping keep their head above water if they are struggling!

Now you can enjoy taking your dog out into open waters without having to worry about anything bad happening

Swimming Safety Tips For Your Shih Tzu

Before teaching your Shih Tzu to swim they are some things you need to check beforehand so your dog is safe. So below are some safety precautions for you to consider before taking your pup swimming.

Pick A Safe Location To Swim

Pick a location that isn’t too crowded and has plenty of shallow areas would be the perfect setting to teach your dog to swim. The last thing you need is some curious dogs coming over and scaring your pooch.

Check The Water Temperature

Depending on where you live in the world some lakes can be extremely cold which can cause all kinds of problems for your dog! and as mentioned before it can also cause “limber tail syndrome”.

Make Sure They Are Within Arms Reach

Make sure that you are always within arms reach of your dog during this process not only will this make your dog feel safe but also give them convenience when trying to swim.

If they start to panic then it’s important that your dog knows you are there ready to come to their aid when they need it. Your be surprised how well this works when teaching your dog to swim!

Never Force Your Dog Into The Water

As a dog owner, it can be tough to determine if your pup might have a negative reaction towards the water so never force your dog. Just remember, there is no time limit on how long it takes for your dog to learn to swim.

It’s also important to be patient as some dogs can take longer than others to swim so always take things slow and never force them into deep waters!

Make Sure You Supervise Them At All Times

As part of these safety precautions, it’s also important to make sure that the Shih Tzu is always supervised when swimming. Never leave them alone in the water as this could lead to accidents where they are unable to get back on dry land!.

Remember to keep all these safety precautions in mind when teaching your Shih Tzu how to swim so that everyone stays safe!

If they are still having trouble then using a life jacket may also help them feel more confident about being able to float on top of the water which will make things easier for both yourself and them throughout this process.

Remember it’s better not to force your Shih Tzu into anything as forcing animals or children into situations where they don’t want to be can cause distress and lead to behavioral issues.


So, can Shih Tzus swim? The answer is yes! but it’s important to be aware of the risks before you let your dog take the plunge. Make sure you introduce them to water gradually and always supervise them when they’re swimming.

As long as you are taking things slow and being vigilant about your dog’s safety, then everything will be fine.

If your dog does start acting strange or gets scared then you can always take a break for a while before trying again so that they don’t feel overwhelmed! Remember, safety first!

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