Can Jack Russells Swim?

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In most cases, you will want to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier to give you company when going out for exercise or hunting. However, you might be worried that your Jack Russell Terrier will drown if it tries to join you in swimming. So, can Jack Russells swim?

Can Jack Russells Swim?

Yes, Jack Russells can swim. Jack Russells are naturally good swimmers due to their uniformly distributed body weight and ability to use the legs as paddles. However, you need to introduce your Jack Russell to water and swimming at an early age to prevent the anxiety and over-excitement that can increase the risk of drowning.

The best way to gauge the reaction of a JRT towards water is to throw a ball into the water and then command it to take it. If the dog seems anxious and starts going around the pool instead of jumping in the water, it is not ready to get into the water and might not even enjoy swimming.

Jack Russell terrier carrying a ball while in the water

Although you can expect this behavior from a JRT that has never swum, any JRT can have negative emotions toward the water and be unwilling to swim due for the following reasons:

Bad Past Experiences

Like humans, JRTs have good and bad memories and will be unwilling to get into situations with which they have had previous bad experiences. For instance, a JRT forced into the water and almost drowned might fear water and be unwilling to swim.

Also, if you have not been careful when bathing your JRT, and the shampoo has been entering its eyes and causing eye irritation, the dog might not understand that the pool water is different and won’t cause irritation, so it will be unwilling to swim.

Lack of Proper Training

An adult JRT will be unwilling to swim if it has never been around water since its puppyhood. Usually, swimming will be something completely new for the dog, and it’s not uncommon even for the dog to be troubled seeing you in the water, thinking you are in danger.

Consider introducing your JRT puppy to water-related training even if they are too you to swim independently. Early training will make the dog familiar with water as it matures, eliminating the nervousness that can prevent it from swimming.

Benefits of Swimming in Jack Russell Terriers

Although the main reason you might want to introduce your dog to swimming is to enjoy swimming together in the pool, swimming can also have the following health and behavioral benefits for a JRT.

an image of Jack Russell terrier swimming
  • Relieves joint pains: Considering that JRTs are energetic and hyperactive dogs, they tend to engage in intense exercises that can lead to joint pains. The cold water can help relieve the joint’s discomfort and pain when swimming.
  • It helps to cool the dog during hot weather: JRTs have double coats, and it can be challenging to lose heat during summer. Swimming helps them refresh and cool off.
  • Keeps the dog physically fit: JRTs are energetic dogs and require intense exercises to help them use the excess energy. Usually, swimming requires a lot of energy, making it a good exercise to keep a JRT physically fit.

Jack Russell Terrier Swimming Tips

Although your JRT might be a good swimmer and you’re confident that it can’t drown, it’s advisable to use the following safety tips to ensure the water doesn’t cause health complications to your dog.

  • Clean the dog’s ears after swimming: It is almost unavoidable for water to get into your dog’s ears when swimming. The moisture retained in the ears can cause bad smells and eventually ear infections. You can prevent this by cleaning and drying your dog’s ears after swimming.
  • Check the water temperature and the current strength: Before letting your dog swim in a river or ocean, ensure the water current is not excessively strong to pose drowning risks. You also need to ensure the water is not too cold to cause hypothermia.
  • Get your JRT a doggy life jacket: Even if your JRT is a good swimmer, it can get exhausted and start going under. Get your JRT a doggy life jacket to keep it supported and afloat even if it gets exhausted.

Related Questions

What Can Happen if My JRT Drinks the Salty Pool Water?

When a JRT ingests a lot of salty pool water, the salt draws water from the dog’s blood into the intestines, causing dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also lead to fluid imbalance, causing higher sodium levels and shortened life expectancy.

Jack Russell terrier biting a stick while swimming

Are There Health Benefits of Swimming for JRTs?

Swimming can help strengthen the respiratory system and improve your dog’s heart condition. Usually, swimming involves lots of movement, which requires better breathing and heart rate. As a result, this strengthens the dog’s cardiovascular system and torso muscles.

Final Thoughts

JRTs are naturally good swimmers and can swim with minimal training and supervision. However, it is advisable to wear your dog a doggy life jacket to eliminate the chances of drowning. Remember to clean and dry the dog’s ears after swimming to prevent bad smells and ear infections.