Are you thinking about taking a short vacation near a pond? If so, then you’re probably wondering — do dogs like playing in ponds at all?
The answer is a solid YES. Most dog breeds love water, no matter what kind and they love swimming, splashing around, and generally cooling off on a sunny day.
However, just because they love it doesn’t mean we ought to indulge them. As it turns out, ponds can be full of various bacteria that can not only harm the dog but potentially kill it. The worst type is cyanobacteria, which is also known as blue-green algae. This kind of bacteria releases cyanotoxins, which can poison both dogs and humans.
Do Dogs Like Playing in Ponds?
Our furry friends do love their playtime, especially if it consists of learning more about the world around them and doing stuff they rarely get to take part in. One of those activities is swimming, of course. But do dogs like playing in ponds, or are they more partial to oceans and pools? Let’s find out!
Now, I won’t go on and claim that all dogs definitely like playing in ponds. I can tell you right now that my six-year-old mix hates it! He actually fell into a small pond in my friend’s backyard by mistaking that tiny body of still water for the grass. To this day, !
However, I cannot judge all dogs by how mine acts. So, I dug deep to see whether dogs have a particular fascination with ponds. Let’s see the results of my research, shall we?
Do Dogs Like Playing in Ponds?
Unfortunately, what I’m about to tell you may disappoint you a bit, but it is all I could uncover about this topic. Namely, dogs don’t have much of a preference when it comes to bodies of water. If they like to swim and splash around, they’ll go into the ocean, the pool, the pond, and yes, even puddles. If they don’t, however, they might feel like my dog did when he lost the ground beneath his feet — shell-shocked!
Now, you might be wondering — how come that most dogs like water and don’t mind bathtime or swimming, but cats absolutely hate it? The truth is that not all dogs or cats love or hate water. It all depends on their characters, and usually, on the breeds.
Which Breeds Prefer Playing in Water?
Some dogs have been specifically bred as working water dogs, with the Portuguese Water Dog and the Irish Water Spaniel serving as the prime examples. These breeds don’t just love swimming — they know that working near or in water is their job.
On the other hand, there are breeds that aren’t actually good at swimming (and thus at playing in ponds, oceans, etc.) and should be kept away from all bodies of water. Since most of them usually have a short snout or tiny legs, they simply aren’t able to swim very far or for too long. Such breeds include but are not limited to:
- Dachshund (short legs)
- Boxer (shorter muzzle and flat face)
- Bulldog (short muzzle and legs, large head and barrel chest)
- Maltese (sensitive breed that doesn’t do well in dramatically different environments)
- Pug (tiny snout, flat face)
- Chow Chow (despite its size, the Chow Chow has shorter legs and a deeper chest)
- Basset Hound (large head and short legs)
- Shih Tzu (tiny muzzle and short legs)
- Corgi (short legs and dense body)
If you have any of these breeds, I’d tread carefully around ponds. Though they are rather peaceful in comparison to oceans or rivers, their depth might be an issue for your furry friend. And since there’s always an exception to the rule, it’s likely that some of these breeds may decide to play in a pond at some point. Unfortunately, drowning isn’t the only danger lurking there.
Should We Let Our Dogs Play in Ponds?
Now, the answer to the question of Do dogs like playing in ponds? is pretty clear now. The trouble is — your furry friend really shouldn’t be swimming around in a pond, and here’s why.
Algae, whether it’s dangerous or not, can bloom in all sorts of bodies of water outside. You can find it in oceans, ponds, lakes, and streams without much hassle. In fact, it can even bloom in your dog’s water bowl if you keep it outside.
The problem? Some algae won’t harm your pooch at all, but if the pond contains blue-green algae, the danger is but a few minutes away. Not only is this type of algae harmful overall, but it can cause death in dogs.
What Is Blue-Green Algae?
Though it is known as algae, this type of organism is actually a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria. It gets its name from the greenish-bluish shade it has when it forms clusters on top of a pond or lake. It mostly prefers still, freshwater and hot weather, though it’s possible to notice it throughout the year.
The keyword here is “notice” — unfortunately, unless the bacteria form clusters, they’re invisible to the naked eye. As such, if we let dogs swim a lap or two in a lake or pond, we don’t actually know if they’ll come out healthy.
So, where’s the danger, you may ask? Well, cyanobacteria emit toxins called cyanotoxins, which can be harmful to both humans and animals. It’s the concentration of these toxins that are worrisome, as the higher it is, the more poisonous it can be.
And unfortunately, dogs can easily succumb to these toxins since they don’t know they shouldn’t drink the pond water. On top of that, the algae may end up on their fur, which they’ll try to clean off later on and thus accidentally ingest the toxins.
The most common signs of blue-green algae poisoning are:
- Extreme thirst
- Mucous membrane or skin irritation
- Diarrhea and vomiting“>vomiting
- Muscular or respiratory system paralysis
- Motor weakness and difficulty walking
But we’re not done yet! Even if your dog’s favorite time of day is when you take a walk next to that pond near your house, the blue-green algae aren’t the only dangerous bacteria in it. The pond may also contain:
- Coccidia (transmitted through feces)
- Giardia (found in contaminated feces)
- Leptospira (spreads through infected urine or other animal fluids).
Do Dogs Like Playing in Ponds? YES! The Ponds May Suffer Because of That Love, Though
Do know that dogs can harm these bodies of water as much as they can harm dogs. There are precious flora and fauna in ponds that ought to be preserved since some of it is extremely rare and internationally important. Unintentionally, dogs can contribute to the disappearance of some of the wildlife with their antics. They can dramatically change the vegetation composition, as well as water quality.
In the end, with a paddling pool in your backyard, you can keep an eye on your pooch and still let it entertain itself and cool off on a hot day. Is taking it to a pond to get the same results really worth the risk? To me, it definitely isn’t — the consequences could be dire!
So do dogs like playing in ponds? Of course — most dog breeds enjoy swimming and would love nothing more than to splash around in a pond for a bit. However, since ponds tend to develop algae, it’s best not to let Fido play in them. Any sort of algae may be a potential toxin, and you cannot really tell at a glance if it will harm your pup or not. In the end, safety comes first. Though tempting, ponds can be dangerous — I suggest opting for a backyard pool instead.