Do Chihuahuas Like the Water? (Swimming Guide)

Do Chihuahuas like the water? Can Chihuahuas even swim?

Does your Chihuahua dream of afternoon dips in the water or would it rather spend its life as dry as a plain muffin?

These may seem like silly questions, but the answer is not always so clear. 

Some Chihuahuas love swimming and playing in the water, while others are scared of it.

The idea of getting wet can be quite intimidating for a tiny Chihuahua, but with some patience and training, they can learn to enjoy swimming and bathing.

Stay tuned as we discuss the benefits and risks of swimming, as well as some tips for getting your Chihuahua to like the water.

Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, at no extra cost to you.

A light haired chihuahua swimming and liking the water

Do Chihuahuas Like the Water?

Some love water, while others are petrified by it.

It really depends on the individual dog and if they were exposed to swimming and taking baths as a puppy.

Some Chihuahua puppies like to tip over their water bowls and play in the water.

When it comes to swimming, Chihuahuas either love it or hate it. 

Some will take to the water right away and start swimming like a pro.

Others may be scared at first, but with some patience, they can learn to enjoy it.

Can Chihuahuas Swim?

Yes, Chihuahuas can swim.

They might not be natural swimmers, but it is possible for them to learn. There are many Chihuahuas that have a blast swimming. 

Make sure to always supervise your Chihuahua when swimming.

With such little rudders, it’s best to give them breaks since they can tire easily.

Can Chihuahuas Swim in Rivers and Lakes? (Fresh Water)

Yes, Chihuahuas can swim in lakes and rivers with fresh water.

These water bodies can be safer options for smaller dogs like Chihuahuas since they are typically more shallow and tranquil, with minimal waves and currents compared to open oceans.

The shallower depths of lakes and rivers are advantageous for Chihuahuas, allowing them to touch the ground and feel more secure while swimming.

There are several possible drawbacks though.

Some lakes and rivers may suffer from pollution, which can lead to the presence of harmful bacteria, parasites, or toxins. 

Certain bodies of water may experience algae blooms, releasing toxins that can be harmful to both humans and animals. 

Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, and seizures.

Hidden hazards beneath the water’s surface, such as sharp rocks or debris, can pose a risk of injuries while swimming.

Encounters with wildlife, like snakes or aggressive animals, are possible in natural water bodies, potentially leading to dangerous situations.

Some solutions to these drawbacks are to check the water quality, avoid areas with visible signs of pollution or algae blooms, and supervise your Chihuahua closely.


  • Shallow shores
  • No big waves like the ocean
  • Safety from chemicals like chlorine
  • Natural environment
  • No salt that will dry skin out


  • Bacteria, parasites, or toxins could be present
  • Hazards like sharp rocks or glass
  • Risk of algae blooms that release toxins
  • Wildlife encounters like water snakes
  • Stagnant or murky water is hard to see through

Can Chihuahuas Swim in the Ocean? (Salt Water)

Yes, Chihuahuas can swim in the ocean, but it’s essential to take some precautions and considerations before letting them take the plunge.

Swimming in the ocean is more difficult than in the pool or lake.

Before allowing your Chihuahua to swim in the ocean, assess their swimming skills in a controlled environment like a pool or calm lake.

Not all dogs are strong swimmers, so it’s crucial to know if your Chihuahua is comfortable and capable of swimming in open water.

Be cautious of waves and currents in the ocean, as they can be stronger and more unpredictable than in freshwater bodies.

Keep your Chihuahua close to you, never let them swim too far from the shore, and make sure they wear a life jacket.

Drinking excessive amounts of salt water can lead to dehydration and saltwater poisoning since it contains higher concentrations of salt compared to fresh water. 

To protect your dog from these risks, it’s crucial to monitor their water intake while at the beach and prevent them from drinking saltwater.

Ensure that fresh, clean water is available for your dog to drink, and take regular breaks to let them cool off.

The beach environment may expose dogs to sea creatures, such as jellyfish, or hidden hazards like sharp rocks, potentially leading to injuries.

Scope out and inspect your swimming spot before letting your dog in.

After swimming in saltwater, make sure to rinse your Chihuahua with fresh water to remove any salt and prevent skin irritation.


  • Can play with their toys on the beach
  • Can be off-leash at certain dog beaches
  • Saltwater can have healing properties
  • Strengthen your Chihuahua’s swimming skills
  • Cooling sea breeze


  • Need to rinse the salt water and sand off afterward
  • Possible rip currents
  • Strong waves can knock your dog over or carry them away
  • Sea creatures like jellyfish
  • Saltwater ingestion can lead to dehydration and poisoning 
  • Exposure to pollutants or fecal runoff

Can Chihuahuas Swim in Pools?

Yes, Chihuahuas can swim in pools, including those with chlorine or salt water. 

If your Chihuahua is new to swimming or unsure about the pool, introduce them to the water gradually in a controlled environment.

Start with a kiddie pool where it’s shallow and they can touch the bottom if they need to. 

Consider using a dog life jacket, especially if your Chihuahua is not a confident swimmer or if the pool has deep areas.

Pools offer a serene and controlled water environment without waves or strong currents, making it easier for dogs to swim and feel more at ease in the water.

Monitor your pool’s chlorine levels and pH to ensure they are within the appropriate range because high levels can irritate your Chihuahua’s skin, eyes, and ears.

After swimming in a chlorinated pool, rinse your Chihuahua with fresh water to remove any chlorine residue from their fur and skin. This will help prevent skin irritation and dryness.

Also, make sure your Chihuahua doesn’t drink too much chlorine water as it can lead to vomiting and esophagus erosion.


  • Calm water: no waves or currents
  • No risks of sea creatures
  • Controlled environment
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Great for dogs who are new to swimming


  • Chlorine can irritate eyes, ears, and skin
  • Difficulty finding an exit point to get out of the pool
  • Risks of ingesting chlorine water
  • Slippery surfaces

Benefits of Swimming

There are many reasons why you should let your Chihuahua swim.

It’s an excellent form of exercise, it’s easy on the joints, and offers therapeutic remedies for all ages.


Swimming is a great exercise for dogs and is a low-impact way to help keep them healthy and fit.

Swimming has many benefits such as improving their cardiovascular system and strengthening their muscles.

It also helps increase your dog’s metabolism, which promotes weight loss.


For medical conditions like dogs who have arthritis or after surgery, hydrotherapy is a great way to help them recover.

Hydrotherapy can help reduce pain and inflammation and even promote healing.

Because of the natural resistance of water, swimming can be as effective as exercising on land in a fraction of the time.

Cool Down

Swimming is also a great way to cool off on hot days.

Since dogs mainly sweat through glands in their paws and use panting to regulate their temperature, it can be hard for them to cool off during the summer.

Swimming offers a great option for exercising when it’s too hot for a walk!

Easy on the Joints

Swimming can be helpful for dogs with joint problems or arthritis because it is a low-impact form of exercise.

The buoyancy of water supports a dog’s weight, which leads to less impact on the joints. 

It is also good for overweight dogs, as swimming burns calories without putting stress on the joints. 

Improves Sleep

Since swimming is a great form of exercise, your Chihuahua will probably wear themself out.

This will lead to a better night’s sleep for your dog.

A tan chihuahua squinting standing on a rock with the ocean behind him

Risks of Swimming with Your Chihuahua

While swimming has many benefits, there are also some risks you should be aware of.

Pool safety

Be aware of the dangers of leaving your dog unsupervised in a pool.

Make sure there is a doggie ramp or stairs for them to get out and that they know how to use them.


Even if your dog knows how to swim, they can still drown.

Despite their hyper disposition, Chihuahuas can tire easily and become exhausted when left to swim for too long.

It is always a good idea to have them wear a life jacket.

Chihuahuas are very small and can easily be swept away by a swift current so make sure you keep a close eye on them.

Swimmer’s Ear

Just like humans, dogs can also get swimmer’s ear.

Be sure to clean their ears with a vet-approved ear cleaner after swimming, especially if they have floppy ears, and make sure to dry them.

Teach your Chihuahua to Swim

If you have a pool, it is easy to teach your Chihuahua how to swim.

Start by putting them in a life jacket and slowly introduce them to the water.

If you don’t have a pool, there are still ways to get your Chihuahua in the water.

Take them to a lake or river and let them play in the shallow areas.

If you’d like to get your hands on a pool, they make dog swimming pools that use thicker materials so their nails don’t rip or cut open the pool. 

Tips to Get your Chihuahua to Like the Water

A tan chihuahua shaking the water off him

Start Young

If you want your Chihuahua to like the water quicker, it’s best to introduce them to it when they’re a puppy.

It’s important to teach a puppy to like water at a young age because it will make swimming and playing in the water easier when they’re older.

There is less chance they will be afraid of water if you can create positive experiences when they’re little.

Start Small

The easiest way to get your Chihuahua comfortable with swimming is to use a kiddie pool.

You could also take them to a lake or river and let them play in the shallow area.

If you have a pool at home, you can hold onto your Chihuahua while you introduce him to the water.

Start by putting them in a life jacket and slowly introduce them to the water.

A bathtub can work just as well for training purposes but be cautious of them hastily leaving the tub.

A chihuahua is being placed into a small kiddie pool

Gradually Increase

Start with short intervals and gradually increase the time your Chihuahua spends in the water.

This will ensure you don’t overwhelm them and that they have plenty of time to get used to the water.

Make it Fun

Play with your Chihuahua in the water and make a game out of it.

This will help keep them entertained and relaxed.

Get one of your Chihuahua’s favorite toys and bring it in the water.

Chances are, he will come after it or add a variation to fetch at the very least.

Don’t Force Them

If your Chihuahua is scared of swimming, don’t force them into the water.

If they are terrified of the water, don’t make them swim.

They may need more time to get used to it or it could be possible that they might never like it.

Reward Them

Reward your Chihuahua with treats and praise for going into the water and swimming.

This will help them associate treats with swimming and they might enjoy it more.

Go Kayaking or Canoeing

If your Chihuahua doesn’t want to be in the water, try being on top of the water in a boat or kayak.

This will give them a different perspective of the water and they might enjoy it more.

Most Chihuahuas don’t like being wet, so this could be a great option.

Take Them to the Beach

If you live near the beach, take your Chihuahua for a walk on the sand.

This way, they can be near the water but don’t have to go in it.

If your Chihuahua is feeling brave, they could dip their toes in the water when a wave comes up to shore.

Best Life Jacket For Chihuahuas

This Outward Hound Dog Life Jacket is a well-designed and durable life jacket.

It comes in several vibrant colors, ensuring high visibility in the water and making it easier to keep an eye on our dogs during aquatic adventures. 

The jacket is equipped with adjustable straps and buckles, allowing for a secure and comfortable fit for dogs of various sizes. 

It has a front neck float to ensure their head stays above water.

Its sturdy lift handle on the back enables effortless and swift rescue, making it ideal for emergencies or offering assistance to our dogs in the water.

With this life jacket, you can feel confident that your dog is safe and supported while enjoying their time in the water.

Life Jacket Buying Guide

To find the best life jacket for your Chihuahua, measure your Chihuahua’s chest girth and neck circumference to find the right size that fits snugly without restricting movement. 

Here are some key points to consider during your selection process:

Size and Fit: Ensure the life jacket is the right size for your Chihuahua, with adjustable straps and buckles for a snug and secure fit.

Visibility: Bright colors and reflective strips enhance visibility, making it easier to spot your Chihuahua in the water.

Lift Handle: A sturdy lift handle on the back is crucial for easy retrieval and assisting your Chihuahua in and out of the water.

Comfort: Choose a life jacket with padded panels and a breathable mesh lining to ensure your Chihuahua’s comfort and mobility.

Durability: Select a life jacket made from high-quality and durable materials that can withstand wear and tear.

After selecting a suitable life jacket, test and adjust it on your dog for a secure fit before enjoying water adventures together.


So, do Chihuahuas like the water and can Chihuahuas swim?

It turns out some do and some don’t, it depends on your dog’s personality and how their first experience with water went.

If it was positive, they might love swimming, but if it was negative, they might have developed a fear of water.

Chihuahuas can be taught to swim and most do enjoy spending time in the water.

Use our tips to gradually introduce them to the water if they’ve never been swimming.

Don’t forget that swimming is a great form of exercise for Chihuahuas.

It can help burn calories without putting stress on their joints, so it’s worth the struggle to teach your dog to swim.


Do Chihuahuas Like Baths?

Chihuahuas typically don’t enjoy bath time. Since they have short hair and a small body, they lose body heat quicker. This means they get cold very easily which causes them to start shaking. Being bred in a warm and dry climate has made them susceptible to the cold.

Some Chihuahuas don’t mind the water, but if your Chihuahua is anything like ours, they hide from baths and need plenty of convincing to clean up. 

Read our post on how to bathe your chihuahua to learn some tricks to make bath time less stressful and more fun!

Do Chihuahuas Like Rain?

Chihuahuas typically don’t like the rain. It can be too cold and wet for them. However, there are some Chihuahuas who do enjoy the rain. It all depends on their personality.

We put a rain jacket on our Chihuahua and he doesn’t mind going out in the rain. However, some dogs see that it’s raining and won’t even step one foot out the door.

Can Dogs See Underwater?

Dogs can see some things underwater but they typically cannot focus on anything more than a few inches in front of them. This is why it is important to always have a life jacket on your Chihuahua when swimming, so you can keep an eye on them at all times.

Should I Throw My Dog in the Water?

No, you should not throw your dog into the water to see if it can swim. This can traumatize them and make them scared of the water. They also might not be able to find their way out of the water. Instead, try gradually introducing your dog to the water by playing in a shallow area. If they are still afraid, don’t force them into the water. Swimming is not for every dog!

Why Do Chihuahuas Not Like the Water?

Some Chihuahuas don’t like the water because they are afraid due to a traumatic experience. They could have been forced to swim when they didn’t want to or they may have had bad experiences with baths. Another reason is most dogs don’t like getting their paws and fur wet.

Why Is My Chihuahua Scared of Water?

If your Chihuahua’s only experience with water has been a traumatic or unpleasant bath, it could indeed contribute to their fear and anxiety towards water-related activities. Bath time can be stressful for some dogs. 

Some Chihuahuas may not have been exposed to water or swimming at a young age, leading to a lack of familiarity and apprehension. For dogs that have not encountered water before, it can be a new and unfamiliar element.

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