Can French Bulldogs Swim? A Guide To What You Need to Know

french bulldog swimming

What do you do on hot summer days with your French Bulldog? Going for walks and taking them to the park are great activities for these little pups, but just like humans, it’s easy for them to become overheated. So, have you thought about taking your French Bulldog swimming? Can French Bulldogs swim?

It sounds like a ton of fun, and it certainly can be! But French Bulldogs aren’t built to swim. If you want to try taking your pup to a local swimming pool, then you’ll need to know the basics of how to keep your pup safe and make sure they have a great time.

Can French Bulldogs Swim Safely?

French Bulldogs, of all colors including the Lilac French Bulldog, aren’t natural swimmers. With their short legs, short snouts, and flat faces, swimming can be a difficult and dangerous activity. The flat face and extra skin folds natural to brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs or Puggles can create a dangerous situation.

It’s tough for them to keep their heads up, leading to inhaling water and creating a severe drowning risk.

Your French Bulldog also has a bulky torso, heavy bones, and thick muscles, which prevent them from floating comfortably without assistance and makes them more likely to sink. Since French Bulldogs can’t swim without some help, it’s up to Frenchie owners to keep them safe.

cute french bulldog

How Can French Bulldogs Swim With Help?

Think of your French Bulldog like a small child. You wouldn’t throw your kid right into the deep end without proper equipment and supervision, right? The same level of caution should apply when taking your Frenchie out for a dip.

Don’t be discouraged – these French dogs can swim with a bit of help! We have plenty of useful tips that will teach you how to give your Frenchies the assistance needed to stay afloat and enjoy swimming.

Tip #1 Get a Dog Life Vest

The first thing you should do is look at dog life jackets. There are a ton on the market, but you can narrow it down by looking for something that’s specifically designed for a brachycephalic breed and is the proper size for your French Bulldog. We love this dog swimming jacket for Frenchies.

Getting a life jacket will give you and your Frenchies a sense of safety when they’re out on the water. A proper life jacket should help your Frenchie stay afloat, keep their head out of the water, and allow them to paddle along using their cute little legs.

There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when looking for a dog life jacket. We already mentioned making sure the life jacket is the right fit for your breed, but it’s equally important to make sure your dog is comfortable in it.

Let your French Bulldog wear the life vest around the house and while going for walks. Give them a chance to get used to the life vest before you put it to the test. If you buy multiple life jackets, make sure you introduce your Frenchie to them one at a time.

Once they’re comfortable wearing their life jacket, you can move on to introducing them to water.

Tip #2 Start Small

When you’re ready to take your French Bulldogs swimming, you’ll want to start small.

When you’re teaching your French Bulldog to swim, it’s helpful to introduce them to shallow water first. Get a kiddie pool and only fill it a few inches. Let your pup explore the water and build up their courage. The water will keep your Frenchie cool and become a source of fun!

Introduce some toys while your pup is in the children’s pool. Rubber or plastic squeaky toys that float will work wonders to entice your pup into water play. Grab your Frenchie’s favorite cute toy and show them how much fun playing in the water can be!

Tip #3 Encourage The Doggie Paddle

Regardless of whether dog breeds have webbed feet or are naturally bad swimmers, they still need help learning the basics. Once your Frenchie has graduated from their little pool and you’re ready to try leading them into slightly deeper water, you’ll need to help encourage them to do the doggie paddle.

Only move to this step once you’re sure your French Bulldog has a life jacket that fits properly and allows them to keep their head up so they get enough air. Most Frenchies will love to splash around in the shallow end, but moving into deeper areas of the pool might be a source of anxiety for them.

Stick by your best friend and have a little patience. Go at their pace and encourage them to move forward without pushing them. Lead your Frenchie past the shallow end where they need to start treading water.

Place your hand on their tummy when they start treading water. This will help with weight distribution and provide your Frenchie with a little comforter. Once they start instinctively moving their legs, you can remove your hand, but stick close by.

Tip #4 Have Fun!

Once you and your French Bulldog have the safety and mechanics of swimming down, it’s time to have fun! Bring your Frenchie out on a hot day and bring along their floatation device, toys, and plenty of treats for the ride home.

Most French Bulldogs love swimming and being on the water with their owners after they’ve been properly introduced and trained. If your Frenchie loves going for a swim with you, then it it can become an amazing summer activity the two of you can share!

Some dogs are naturally anxious, so if your pup doesn’t take to the water, don’t be discouraged! They might not like the life jacket they’re wearing or the temperature of the water. There are plenty of things you can try to get your French Bulldogs swimming.

can french bulldogs swim

Can Young French Bulldogs Swim?

It’s great to introduce French Bulldogs to activities when they’re young, as puppies tend to pick up training more eagerly and enthusiastically than older dogs. French Bulldog owners should definitely start introducing their pup to the water at a young age, but you want to make sure your pup is free of any health issues that could get in the way of their swimming.

When French Bulldogs swim, they need a lot of help. They need constant supervision and a proper flotation device to keep them safe. This dog breed has short legs and a short snout that makes swimming difficult, but not physically impossible. With a little help, patience, and training, Frenchies can learn to love water!

Extra Advice for Successfully Helping French Bulldogs Swim

The way French Bulldogs are built and their compact size makes it easy for this breed to sink rather than float. Using a life vest is crucial to provide extra buoyancy and keep your pups head out of the water. Frenchies will love trips to the lake during warm summer days with the right tools and training.

Try watching some videos on how other Frenchie owners taught their pet how to love water. Make sure you bring plenty of drinking water to keep your French Bulldog cool during training and swimming days.

Remember to start small in a shallow area before heading to a large lake. Frenchies should never be left unattended in the water, even if your pet becomes a pro at swimming.

If you’re struggling with teaching your Frenchie to enjoy swimming on your own, you can always contact a dog trainer for extra help. They’ll have even more resources, tips, and advice to keep your Frenchie happy and get them swimming in no time!

So- Can French Bulldogs Swim Safely?

In short, yes, French Bulldogs swim safely all the time! But, there’s a lot of training and tools involved. Make sure to follow the tips we outlined above, and contact a professional trainer if you need a little extra help.

Your French Bulldog may not do laps around you in the swimming pool like most dogs, but your Frenchie can certainly learn to stay cool in the pool by your side!