Can Maltese Swim?

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Maltese dogs have many unique characteristics that set them apart from other breeds, from their hypoallergenic white coat to their playful and affectionate nature. But do these small companions also enjoy spending time in the water as well? And can Maltese swim?

Let’s dive in to find out!

maltese swim

Do Maltese dogs like to swim?

Maltese dogs aren’t naturally strong swimmers.

Due to their small size and short legs, they may find it quite challenging to stay afloat in water and can easily get tired.

Also, if you ever tried to bathe a Maltese, you may have noticed that most of them aren’t particularly fond of getting wet. That said, some dogs can overcome their natural hesitancy and learn to enjoy swimming with proper training.

Benefits and risks

Swimming offers numerous health benefits for dogs. First of all, it provides an excellent low-impact workout that gets their heart pumping without putting stress on their joints.

This is especially beneficial for older dogs or those with arthritis.

In addition to cardiovascular health, swimming promotes weight loss and provides mental stimulation and stress relief for dogs. This can be a great way to alleviate anxiety or pent-up energy, reducing the likelihood of destructive behavior at home.

RELATED: How to Deal With Maltese Separation Anxiety

Besides, swimming is a great way to cool off in hot weather and can be a bonding activity for you and your dog!

Yet, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential risks involved, too.

One of the main risks associated with swimming is drowning in case your dog gets too tired or panics in the water. Additionally, you need to be cautious of strong currents or sharp rocks that could pose a danger to your pup.

You should also consider the temperature of the water. Cold water can lead to hypothermia, especially for small dogs with thin coats like Maltese, so always check this before letting them take a dip.

Lastly, keep in mind that Maltese dogs can easily develop ear infections and skin irritations after swimming, so don’t forget to rinse them and dry their ears thoroughly to prevent any moisture buildup that could lead to an infection.

Introducing your dog to swimming

This is where you’ll want to take things slow.

Begin by familiarizing your Maltese with the sights and sounds of the swimming area from a safe distance. You can even allow them to observe other dogs enjoying the water, as this can help build their curiosity and confidence.

Then, expose them to shallow water, such as a kiddie pool or a calm lake with a gentle slope, and let them explore it at their own pace.

If you can, invest in a properly fitting life jacket designed for small dogs. Maltese don’t have a good buoyancy due to their low body fat so a life jacket can provide an extra layer of safety (and visibility), especially if you’re swimming in deep or open water.

Outward Hound Granby Splash Orange Dog Life Jacket, Small

However, let them wear it around the house or during short walks near water bodies before proceeding to actual swimming sessions.

Positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise can also work wonders in associating swimming with fun and rewards. For example, you can try tossing their favorite toy into the water and encouraging them to retrieve it.

As they become more comfortable, gradually increase the water depth, always keeping a close eye on their body language and comfort level, and scheduling frequent breaks to rest and hydrate.

Of course, you should never leave your Maltese unattended or force them into situations where they feel stressed or overwhelmed. On the other hand, remember to celebrate their progress and achievements, no matter how small!

How often can Maltese swim?

Swimming can be a great form of exercise for Maltese dogs, but it’s important not to overdo it.

A couple of 10-15-minute swims per week (with a break now and then) should be enough to provide your Maltese with the physical activity and mental stimulation they need.

If your dog shows symptoms of distress or discomfort after swimming, such as excessive coughing (or panting), difficulty breathing, or any signs of weakness, seek immediate veterinary attention.

In summary

Maltese dogs can swim, but they may not be strong swimmers due to their physical characteristics. Patience and positive reinforcement, however, are key in helping them build confidence in the water.

Just make sure to have the appropriate safety gear such as a dog life jacket and always supervise them closely while in the water.

About the author

Li-ran Bukovza

Li-ran believes that our dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He's fascinated by the dog-human bond and loves researching and writing about new pet trends. With the help of Richie (his trusty Maltese sidekick), he hopes to help as many people as possible understand the beautiful, complex world of canine companionship.