Do you love spending the day on the water? Whether you love the ocean or the local pool, there is a good chance that you want to take your pup with you. Some dogs naturally love the water, while others are a bit more opposed to it. Where do Cavapoos fall on this continuum? Do they like to swim?
Cavapoos come from two breeds who both love the water and are strong swimmers. As a result, Cavapoos also tend to love the water when exposed to it from an early age. Make sure to implement safety when introducing your dog to the water, and they will love it for years to come.
If you want to know more about how your Cavapoo relates to water, here is everything you need to know about the breed and its relationship to swimming.
Do Cavapoos Like Water?
A first-generation Cavapoo is half Poodle and half Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Both breeds tend to be very interested in the water. Poodles first became famous because of their ability to swim for duck hunting. Meanwhile, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels may be couch potatoes and lap dogs, but their Spaniel nature still leaves them interested in the water.
Because of what they are bred for, most of these Cavapoos do indeed love the water and are happy to dive right in. However, each dog is unique, and not all dogs of this breed will relish the idea of spending an afternoon diving off the dock or wading in the ocean.
Are Cavapoos Good Swimmers?
Cavapoos who love the water are known to be excellent swimmers. Introducing them to the water at an early age often yields the best results for teaching them to swim. Most dogs pick it up instinctually, but others will need to be persuaded to try.
They do tend to be strong swimmers, but they tire relatively quickly due to their small size. Keep this in mind if you plan to spend a long day on the water with your pup. They may need more frequent breaks than you realize.
How to Introduce Them to the Water
Introducing your Cavapoo to the water early is your best shot at cultivating a lifelong love of the water. By setting them up for positive experiences as early as possible, you can play a huge role in whether your dog loves or hates the water. Here are a few tips for introducing them to the water safely and quickly.
Get a Life Vest
Cavapoos may have a good instinct for swimming, but they might not get the hang of it their first time on the water. Always make sure you can keep your dog safe by purchasing them a life vest. This flotation device allows them to get a break when they need it and helps keep your little dog afloat in deep waters.
Start Off in the Ocean or Pond
The best way to introduce your dog to the water is to ensure that they can dip their toes in at first. A swimming pool often gets too deep too fast for this relatively short breed. Instead, a lot of owners recommend starting in the ocean or a local pond. Your dog can wade in the water around the shore where they can still touch the bottom. As they get braver, they can inch deeper into the water until it is time to swim.
Play Games in Shallow Water
Your Cavapoo loves to play games, so why not do it in the water? While they play on the shore, toss their favorite toy out slightly so that they have to splash around to get to it. Don’t throw it too far into the water too fast, or you might spook your dog. Stick mainly to the areas where they can touch the bottom at first.
Once they adjust, you can gradually start throwing it farther out into the water. You might have to wade out in the water with them the first few times to give them the idea.
Invite a Friend
Sometimes, your dog might need to see swimming modeled to get the idea of how fun it can be for them. Invite along a friend with a dog who loves to dive right in. Your dog will quickly get the idea and start enjoying himself right alongside the other dog.
When it comes to water toys, you want something that will catch your pup’s attention and float on the surface of the water. Especially at first, it might take your dog a bit of time to swim out to retrieve it. You don’t want something that is going to sink to the bottom right away.
These floating fish from Ruff Dawg are a cute way for your dog to get used to playing fetch in the ocean or the pool. They are made of durable rubber and are the perfect size for your Cavapoo to dive after and play with.
If your dog prefers a frisbee to a novelty toy, you can get him one of these frisbees from Hyper Pet. They are made out of rubber and multilayer nylon so that they can float. With these durable materials, this is one toy that will last a while, even if your pup loves to play with it often.
Dogs who are already familiar with the Kong ball might want to try this floating toy. It is specifically designed with a foam core to teach your dog how to retrieve more efficiently from the water. The rope attached makes it easier for you to throw longer distances.
Ear Care and Infections
Much like humans who develop a case of swimmer’s ear, your Cavapoo is also at risk for the same condition. Bacteria from the water go down into the dark depths of your dog’s ear canal and set up shop. The result is pain, itchiness, and discharge coming from the ear. Most dogs will exhibit symptoms like shaking the head or scratching at the ears.
The best way to avoid developing ear infections is to thoroughly clean your Cavapoo’s ears when you leave the pool, park, or beach. This can be done with a few simple steps. All you will need is a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaner and some cotton balls.
Remember that you should never use a cotton swab or Q-tip on your dog’s ears, as this can push bacteria even farther into the ear canal.
Begin by holding the ear upright to straighten out the ear canal as much as possible. Fill the ear canal with your solution and massage the base of the ear to work it in. Once you have done this, allow your dog to shake his head and free the remaining liquid. Last but not least, remove anything that comes loose with cotton balls.
Water Safety for Your Cavapoo
Before you can set your dog free on the water, you need to implement a few safety tips. This ensures that your dog will continue to have a positive experience every time you are on the water.
First and foremost, they should always be wearing a life vest. This helps teach them to float and also gives them the option to take a break if they get too tired or overwhelmed by waves. Make sure you buy an adjustable life vest made of durable, waterproof material.
Always teach your dog where the exit is. This should be something you practice when you first get to the pool. It is easier for your dog to see the shore and understand how to get back out of the water at the beach. The pool is a much different experience. You will have to show your dog where the exit points are. To help them out, you may even need to climb in the water with them the first few times.
Provide clean drinking water for your dog so that he isn’t tempted to drink the swimming water. Too much salt water or chlorine can upset his stomach and make him sick.
Last but not least, always be on the lookout for danger. If you are swimming at a popular fishing spot, you need to make sure your dog doesn’t eat someone’s bait right off their hook. Keep an eye out for danger that your dog may not be aware of. If he eats something, he shouldn’t (like a fish hook) immediately seek veterinary care.
Swimming at the Beach or Ocean vs. the Pool
Should you take your dog swimming at the beach or a local dog-friendly pool? There are unique advantages to each one.
The beach is the easiest place to introduce your dog to the water. The waves meet the shoreline and allow your dog to splash around at first without being overwhelmed. However, some dogs might be afraid of the moving water. You also have to be concerned about safety hazards like fishing hooks.
Pools are a bit more complicated for dogs who are just learning to swim. Unless you have a pool that your dog can walk into, they will likely feel overwhelmed at first. You will have to take the time to get in the water with your dog to help support him and teach him where the exits are located. The main benefit to swimming at the pool is that there are often fewer hazards as you don’t go to the pool to fish.
Are Salt Water and Chlorine Bad for Dogs?
You should always make sure that your dog has access to clean fresh water when you are out swimming. However, a few gulps of water while they play aren’t likely to harm your pup.
Chlorine in the amounts found in many pools isn’t that much more harmful than the water you give them from the tap. As long as it is not their only source of hydration, a little chlorine in the water isn’t likely to hurt them. Make sure that they never drink the water after shocking the pool or when you use algaecide and other chemicals, though.
Saltwater can be pretty bad for your dog if they gulp it down. Too much salt will lead to digestive upset like diarrhea. It can also dehydrate your dog.
Life Vests Buying Guide
The best thing you can do to ensure your Cavapoo’s safety while swimming is to get them a properly fitted life vest. Most pet owners prefer to purchase an adjustable vest to get the perfect fit. However, there are a few measurements you will need to help you determine the correct size.
You will need to know the length of the dog’s body from the back of the neck to the base of the tail. Their circumference (the widest part of their rib cage) should also be measured. It should be relatively form-fitting, just like your own life jacket should be. The life jacket should cover most of the circumference of the dog to help keep them afloat.
Last but not least, you need to measure around their neck. A life jacket should fit snugly around the neck, but it should not impede their ability to breathe. Never make it too tight around the neck.
When choosing the right jacket, you should look for one in a bright color or one that has reflective tape. This will make it easier to spot your dog while they are out on the waves, mainly if you swim with them after sunset.
Final Thoughts – Getting Your Cavapoo Swimming
Swimming is almost instinctual in the Cavapoo breed, mainly because both parents are strong swimmers. If you introduce them to the water early enough, they will likely dive right in over the years ahead. Ensure that you pay attention to water safety, supply them with fresh water, and outfit them with the right life jacket. These things can help you create a happy and positive experience around the water for your Cavapoo!
More on Cavapoos
If you’re simply in love with Cavapoos and can’t get enough, then check out our other posts below:
- Do Cavapoos Bark A Lot? [What Owners Need To Know]
- Are Cavapoos Hypoallergenic? (An Allergy Sufferers Guide)