Now that summer is in full swing, many dog owners are including their furry friends in their fun in the sun, and this may include water activities. If you're like many people, you'll be spending time in the great outdoors this summer. Perhaps you'll be camping at your favorite spot on the lake or going on picnics at a local riverbank, and you naturally want to take your dog along for the fun.

If you're a new dog owner, however, there may be some things about water safety for dogs that you need to know. Plenty of people believe that dogs were born with an innate knowledge of how to swim, and while this is true to some extent, it's not quite as simple as that. Here's what you need to know about keeping your canine companion safe in the water:  

Short-Nosed Breeds Should Stay Out of the Water

Because short-nosed breeds such as bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs are at increased risk of drowning due to their short nasal passages and are far better off being left on dry land. Furthermore, these breeds simply aren't built for swimming — they've got short, stocky legs attached to short, stocky bodies, which is not a good combination for swimming. Breeds best suited for water activities include retrievers and other types of dogs used for hunting waterfowl.

Get Lifejackets for Dogs

Just like you wouldn't want your small children frolicking in or near the water without wearing a personal flotation device, your dog should be wearing a lifejacket as well — especially if its a puppy or a short-noses breed. Your adult retriever will probably be fine without a lifejacket if you're picnicking on the banks of a small creek, but if you go out on a boat, everyone on board should be wearing a flotation device — including your four-legged passengers. 

Never Just Toss Your Dog Into the Water

Many people believe that any dog will swim if you simply toss it into the water. Although most mammals have some sort of swimming instinct, this approach often has negative results. The dog may develop a lifelong aversion to water after this, or worse, it may panic and become injured while trying to get out. It's best to introduce your pet to water slowly and allow it to enter the water on their own terms.   

For more information about water and pet safety, contact vets through websites like