Can Chihuahuas Swim? (Everything You Need To Know)

Can Chihuahuas Swim? (Everything You Need To Know)

Summer is on its way, there will be plenty of time to spend it by the pool, at the beach, or a riverbank, and you've been wondering can Chihuahuas swim?

There's this belief that Chihuahuas can't swim very well, and that they don't like water at all. What is exactly the truth?

can chihuahuas swim

Though the latter can be true, every Chihuahua is different, and even if your friend Susan's Chi doesn't like water, that doesn't prevent your pooch from adoring it.

To make one thing clear, yes, Chihuahuas can swim, almost every dog can. Still, Chis need some training.

But, before you take your Chi to the pool, beach, or any watery place for some bonding family time, there are things you should be aware of. In this blog post, we bring you the answers to one of the most common questions.

If you want to know 

  • The benefits of swimming for a Chihuahua
  • Can Chihuahuas swim in chlorinated, salty or fresh water
  • Harms you can expect
  • How to prepare for a Chihuahua swimming lesson or
  • How to teach your Chihuahua to swim

Keep reading.
chihuahua read

What are the benefits of swimming for a Chihuahua?

Besides it being a great way to bond with your Chihuahua, swimming is an excellent form of exercise that involves different muscle groups, compared to just walking or running activities.

Since obesity is one of the most common Chihuahua health problems, swimming can be a great way to burn more calories. Not sure if you knew this, but Chihuahua burns more calories just by being in cool water.

As toy breeds, Chis are small doggos with great spirits, but despite that, they tend to be anxious and fret very often. Swimming can build their confidence and help them overcome their fears.

If you are a proud parent of an older Chihuahua, taking them swimming is easier on their joints than running or walking.

And last but not least – it will make them happier. Swimming can be a great outdoor exercise for both you and your pooch, thus creating a more diverse and fulfilled doggo life.

What to know before you take your Chi swimming?

Now that we have solidified that yes, Chihuahuas can swim, and no, it's not true that all Chihuahuas hate water, let's dive into the things you should know before you take your Chi swimming.

Taking your Chi swimming does not come without risk, and when you decide it's the right time to do it, make sure you know these things.

Chihuahuas can suffer from water intoxication. How?

One of the characteristics of this breed is that if they drink too much water, it can cause some damage. Water intoxication can be fatal for Chihuahuas. Aside from brain damage, it can cause heart problems and many other health complications. Keep an eye on your doggo's behavior around water. Train them not to lick or drink it.

Their tiny bodies, short legs, and small paws certainly put some challenges on their swimming experience. Compared to bigger dogs, Chi's paws are smaller and it is harder for them to paddle.

Due to their small leggos, they find it difficult getting in and out of pools, rivers, docks, etc.

And because their bodies are so tiny and their hair short, Chihuahuas tend to lose body heat quite fast. Cool water drains them out easily, so they can become tired not long after getting into the water. It's best to keep your swimming lessons sweet and short.

By now, we have learned that Chis are big spirits in tiny bodies and that sometimes can pose a problem. Watch out for your Chi when she's around the body of water, she may think she can do more than she actually can, and we want to avoid any mishaps happening.

Can Chihuahuas swim in the pool?

chihuahua in the pool

Summer is coming, and there's no better way to cool off than to swim in the pool. Especially if there's no beach near you. But before you decide to take your family to the pool, the question is: can Chihuahuas swim in chlorinated water?

The answer is yes, it is completely safe. But what should you watch out for?

Chlorine tablets are super effective. They kill all the germs and bacteria in the water, such as Ecoli or Salmonella, and most of them are completely safe for dogs.

However, make sure chlorine tablets are out of your doggo's reach, as ingesting them can be quite dangerous for their health.

Also, be watchful of your pooch's activities when they are around or in the pool. Ensure they don't lick or drink chlorinated water, as it can result in health complications.

Make sure you rinse your doggo with clean fresh water as soon as they get out of the pool, and keep them hydrated.

After all of it is done, take a towel and dab the rest of the water off their fur and ears.

Keep these in mind and you're good to go. 

Can Chihuahuas swim in the sea?

can chihuahua swim

Another best thing about summer is going to the beach, right? Especially when you have a dog. It can be such a nice bonding experience.

If you're thinking about taking your Chihuahua to the beach, here's what you should know beforehand.

Can Chihuahuas swim in the sea?

Yes, they can, but it is not advisable.

Besides being too lightweight and prone to getting caught up in the waves and currents, salty water is not the best option when it comes to Chis.

Ingesting large quantities of salt can be really harmful to a Chihuahua and can cause some really harsh health problems. This condition is similar to water intoxication.

Large quantities of salt in their tiny bodies can lead to seizures, dehydration, loss of brain cells, kidney failure, and if not treated medically it can lead to death.

If you have been to the beach and you notice your Chihuahua to be confused and behaving strangely, having diarrhea, weakness, trembling, it's the right time to take them to the vet.

If you suspect your Chi of drinking saltwater, immediately upon getting out of the water you should give them fresh water and place them in a shade and wait for any signs of water poisoning.

So, if taking your prince or princess to the beach is still among your plans, you want to be precautious. Make sure to take breaks after every 15 minutes spent in the water.

Also, don't forget to rinse them off with fresh water and give them some to drink.

Can Chihuahuas swim in rivers or lakes?

When it comes to swimming, freshwater is the best for a Chihuahua. Still, it doesn't come without its toll.

While rivers and lakes can be safer for your Chi's health, some things are lurking behind the bush.

Before you take your Chi to a river or a lake, make sure to do proper research on the place.

Lakes are stagnant and there is a great risk of various bacteria habituating non-flowing hot waters. Also, beware of blue-green algae that can be found in slow-flowing and stagnant waters, which are extremely damaging and poisonous to dogs. Some of the symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, disorientation, fainting, seizures as well as breathing difficulties.

Keep an eye out for water animals, such as water snakes that can be found around rivers.

How to prepare for a Chihuahua swimming lesson?

Teaching your Chi to swim is without a doubt a super-fun family activity, but before you start let's see what you need to take care of.


Choose a suitable place for the swimming session. Make sure the water is not too cool as Chihuahuas tend to lose their body heath easily. A hot tub or just a tub would be perfectly fine as you can control the water temperature. If you're going for a river, lake, or pool, make sure the place is familiar and pet-friendly.

Bring fresh water in a portable water bottle. Your Chi needs to stay hydrated at all times.

portable water bottle

Bring the first-aid kit. You want to be prepared in case your Chi steps on a piece of glass, sharp stone, or any accident really.

Rinse off your doggo's fur every time they get out of the water. That way you can prevent developing any skin reactions such as irritation, rash, or inflammation. Rinsing will remove all the chemicals if your pet swims in the pool or any residue if they swam in a river or lake.

How to teach Chihuahua to swim?

  • Start teaching your Chihuahua to swim when they are just a puppy. Familiarizing your pup with the water from early days will give you some advantage, so your puppy might end up loving water after all.

  • Under no circumstances toss your Chi into the water. You want to develop love, not trauma. Any sort of trauma-causing behavior will end up in a disaster. Be gentle. Hold your pooch under their belly and slowly place them in the water. If you use treats, even better. The first impression is all about associating water with a positive experience.

  • Beside treats you can take your Chi's favorite toy with you.

  • Wear a life jacket. If you notice that your Chihuahua feels uncomfortable wearing it, that is also fine. Again, use treats to reinforce positive feelings when wearing one.

  • Just before you put them into the water, you'll notice how your Chi instinctively starts paddling. Still, hold their belly, slowly place them into the water and help them navigate through.

  • Set some milestones. After every milestone, reward your Chi with a treat.

  • Keep your swimming sessions short, as Chis tend to tire easily. You don't want them caught in panic when they lose all the strength that's needed to keep them floating.

  • Teach your Chi how to get out of the water. Be it a pool or a beach, your Chi should know where to head to when they're finished swimming

Where to find a good life jacket?

chihuahua life jacket

Life jackets are essential if you are teaching a Chihuahua to swim. Though all dogs instinctively can swim (Chihuahua included) when it comes to toy breeds, they still need a bit of training and reinforcement.

So, what features are you looking for in a life jacket?

  • First and foremost, they need to be safe. A life jacket you're looking for should be made of durable waterproof materials such as nylon. Once you buy it, you bought it, and use it for many years to come.
  • Foam panels should be spread evenly, but still, be safe and keep your Chi afloat. A water jacket shouldn't be too buoyant, as this will make your Chihuahua uncomfortable and prevent them from enjoying the swimming session.

  • Besides keeping your Chi afloat, a good life jacket should allow your Chi to keep their head above the surface of the water and avoid the risk of water poisoning.

  • It should be easily wearable. Which means it shouldn't take too much of your time to put in on and off. If it takes too much time to put in on, your Chihuahua might develop a negative feeling towards it.

  • Also, life jackets should be bright-colored. You want your Chi to be easily visible in case they wander on their own.

  • Having handles and a D-ring is a plus, as you want to catch your Chi if needed. Also, you may attach a leash, which can come in handy during a swimming lesson.

In case you're looking for a high-quality life jacket with all the above features, Chihuahua We Love has the one your Chihuahua will just love.

At the end of the day, it's all about having fun, but also be safe. Hope this article helped you find your answers to the main question: can Chihuahuas swim, and provided you with valuable information of everything you need to know before you take your Chi to the beach. 

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