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Frequently referred to as Yorkie, the Yorkshire terrier is a famous companion dog. The Yorkies are known as hyperactive pets — extraordinarily energetic and jolly dogs that love to seek your affection or attention. When playing with them, one of the most common questions is, can Yorkies swim?
Yorkshire Terriers can swim, and most Yorkies are relatively good swimmers that can become excellent in particular conditions. However, not all Yorkies like to go swimming as some are nervous around water while others don’t like such activity.
While planning some fun or relaxing activities with Yorkies, such as swimming. You may have several concerns which require addressing in one way or another.
Read on to find out things to do before and during the swimming activity of Yorkies.
Can Yorkies Swim, And Are They Good Swimmers?
Almost all dogs have the ability to be relatively good swimmers, and Yorkies are not an exception. The degree of their swimming skill varies according to their breed. Needless to say, “larger breeds are going to be the stronger swimmers.
However, some of them can experience trouble when it comes to their coats and their breathing.” (2)
Yorkshire terriers, on the other hand, are generally tiny and lightweight. In addition to being energetic, Yorkies have a coat that is pretty befitting to the water. They also have a single-layered coat that is moderately thin.
It repels water rather than soaking it up, which doesn’t weigh the Yorkies down too much when it gets wet.
As described by the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, a Yorkie’s coat is “glossy, fine, and silky in texture.”
This fine and silky coat is suitable for swimming because it is aerodynamic. Those breeds with a thick undercoat insulating them when working outside during the winter are not entirely appropriate for getting wet.
Several dog breeds are not apt for swimming as they suffer from breathing problems. “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome” is the medical term for these upper airway problems found in short-nosed breeds such as the Boxer, Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pug. Thus, these breeds hate to go for a swim and are not good in the water. (2)
As for the Yorkshire terriers, they usually don’t have any breathing problems, even though some might encounter a narrowed trachea condition known as “collapsed trachea.”
It is a genetic condition that occurs when there is a weakness in the trachea rings that can prompt difficulty in breathing. Hence, as the pet owner, it is your responsibility to learn about your Yorkie’s swimming capabilities.
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The Yorkie has a few more things going for him that make him a satisfactorily good swimmer. This dog breed has a somewhat sleek body and light-boned build, which certainly aids this breed in swimming.
While short and barrel-chested breeds such as the Pug or bulldogs will have problems making themselves afloat, this is not the case for the Yorkshire terrier.
Consider as well the tenacity of these high-energy, playful Yorkies. They can be comparatively adventurous and pertinacious despite their cute, small size.
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Although most of today’s Yorkies are indoor lap dogs, most of them are very much willing to undertake challenges as long as their owners are within reach and things are executed gradually. (3)
Although many Yorkshire terriers love to explore the waters by taking an adventuresome swimming session, some are not quite candidly excited about it because of their intrinsic sensitive nature.
The pet owner is expected to be near him at all times when he goes swimming; as Yorkies love to have their owners around them at all times. Also, you should never leave your dog unattended in water as accidents can happen.
Therefore, it is crucial to be mindful and observe swim-care tips for the Yorkies to enjoy their fullest potentials.
How Can I Make My Yorkie Swim?
A significant thing to remember every time you’re taking your Yorkie for a swim, whether in a swimming pool or a nearby lake, is that you must always accompany your Yorkie.
Be sure to stay with your dog as close as possible and supervise it as much as needed. Taking your dog close to the waters will let you perceive its specific characteristics, making you decide what is best for your Yorkie.
Never throw your Yorkie or push him directly into the water because it can frighten your dog and it will dislike water forever or if this is the first time it may not be able to swim and potentially drown.
A good rule of thumb is to let your Yorkie investigate the water on its own. Your dog can decide on its own if it thinks the water may be fun.
If your Yorkie decides that it will venture into the water, you should go in first and have your dog follow you at its own pace. (4)
When taking your Yorkie swimming for the first time, you must test his swimming skills in shallow waters. It will make him come out easily when he feels uncomfortable; otherwise, you can gradually move him to the deeper parts.
As this is something new for your Yorkie, you don’t want to startle him by going immediately into deep waters.
If you’re worried that your Yorkie may get tired soon after it commences swimming, you can put a life vest on him. He will not have any difficulty staying over the water and come back to you wherever you are waiting for him.
Should A Yorkie Wear A Life Vest
Most Yorkie owners who take their dog swimming will insist their Yorkie wear a life vest all the time to prevent him from drowning or from having unnecessary fear. (5)
It is a good idea to put a life vest on your yorkie to prevent any accidents. They may be good swimmers, however, accidents can happen and it is better to be safe than sorry.
When the Yorkshire terrier first gets in the water, he will be initially affected by the water temperature. Consequently, the temperature of the water should be a minimum of 25.5°C or 78°F, with comfortable levels ranging from 26-29°C or 80-85°F.
With lovely, refreshing, and not too cold water temperature, your Yorkie will highly likely start his swimming adventure and you may find your Yorkie is a Sea lover!
The Top 3 Frequently Asked Questions About Yorkies’ Swimming Activity
Should I apply sunscreen to my Yorkie?
Just like us humans, Yorkshire terriers can get sunburn as well. While swimming, it’s so common to get too many ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure to UV rays is among the causes of “squamous cell carcinoma,” a type of skin cancer that can spread on dogs, with the nose being a typical site for tumors. (3)
Yorkies can be easily affected by sunburn, particularly if they have a very short haircut. Thus, don’t forget to take the correct sun cream and apply some to your Yorkie. The best ones for dogs are those in spray bottles as they are easy to put on, and they smell great, too.
More sunscreen info
For Yorkies, the recommended sunscreen is the “Epi-Pet Sun Protector Spray for Pets,” as it is the only FDA-compliant sun cream for dogs. It is waterproof, with an SPF of 35 and the consistency of a good leave-in conditioner. It’s better to put this on your Yorkie at least 20 minutes ahead of the swimming time. (3)
What are other important swimming safety issues?
When taking a Yorkie for a swim in the lake, ensure to keep him away from algae. One specific kind of algae that is toxic to the dogs is the “cyanobacteria” or blue-green algae, which can make a Yorkie sick or even die after swimming in a lake or pond.
Keep the Yorkies away from stagnant lakes. Lakes are generally moving bodies filled with freshwater; so, if they’re stagnant, the water in them can contain many bacteria and diseases. (5)
As Yorkies will be thirsty at some point, make sure to bring lots of fresh water for your dog to drink. You don’t want your dog to drink water from the lake as this can cause him to be very sick.
What are some post-swimming routines?
After a swimming session, ensure to rinse your Yorkie with his favorite shampoo and conditioner. Yorkshire terriers are a bit prone to infections, allergies, and other ailments. Give your Yorkie a bath to clean and to get rid of all the water chemicals from their bodies. (5)