Can French Bulldogs swim?
It’s easy to see why someone might think Frenchies can swim. After all, they overheat easily, especially in the summer and the water is a great place to cool down.
So while it might be tempting to let your Frenchie cool off in the pool it’s important to know that they absolutely cannot swim. Due to their compact size, short legs, and lack of snout, these dogs were just not made for the water.
Most will sink like a rock if left unattended. Even if your French bulldog can swim a little bit, they won’t be able to sustain it for long. Unlike other dog breeds such as Labradors, Frenchies are unable to swim to the surface once they start going under.
With that being said, and while you should never let your French bulldog swim unattended, here are a few ways they can still enjoy the water and cool off while having fun!
Tiny Life Jackets
If you want to let your Frenchie frolic and play with the family in the pool during those hot summer months, you’re in luck! There are life jackets that have been specially made to fit your little dog and give them enough extra buoyancy to keep their head above water.
If you’re buying a life jacket for your Frenchie, be sure to get one that is tight fitting to avoid the risk of it slipping off or not keeping your dog afloat. In many ways, these life jackets serve as inflatable flotation sleeves do for small children. The extra flotation can help keep them above the water, but in both cases, it’s important to still closely observe your little one to make sure they are doing OK.
Even with a life jacket, a French bulldog’s nose is still barely above the waterline due to the compact nature of their faces. It’s important to supervise your dog at all times while they’re in the water, and don’t take them in any water with a current. The ocean with its many waves and unpredictable tides is not a good place for a Frenchie.
Teach Your Frenchie to Swim
Even with strapped-on flotation, it’s still important to teach your dog how to swim, and especially how to safely exit the water.
This can save their life if they accidentally fall into water above their head when you’re not around to help them get out.
PetMD suggests using the “buddy system”; a method where you swim alongside your dog and help them get the hang of paddling with a life vest on and keeping their head above the water.
Treats are always a great training tool and are especially useful when it comes to the prescribed post-swimming ritual. This is when you should rinse and dry your dog off ensuring they know the proper way to exit the pool on their own.
A great, safer option to help your Frenchie cool off in the summer is to fill a kiddie pool with chest-deep water.
While your dog should still be supervised, this will allow them to stay cool while making it much easier for their heads to stay above water. There are even collapsible kiddie pools for traveling!
French bulldogs absolutely cannot swim, and should never be allowed in the water unaided and unsupervised.
Having said that, your little dog can still enjoy pool days with the family through the use of special life jackets and proper training. You can even get them a little pool of their own where they can safely splash around and stay cool.
Will is the proud co-owner of Frankie, a Female Brindle French Bulldog, with his wife Michelle. We share our Frenchie experiences with the world to help health-conscious French Bulldog owners who want a happy, healthy, and long-living dog.