Can a Maltese Dog Swim? | Yes, No or Maybe?

Maltese and water

While many people think dogs know instinctively how to swim, especially since the doggy paddle is named after them, it should be noted that there are several breeds which do not like to swim and do not know how to swim. The Maltese dog can swim if they are taught but they will not instinctively know what to do when they first enter the water. If you have a swimming pool, pond or outdoor water area near your home, such as a lake, then it is very important that you teach your Maltese to swim. This article focuses on answering all of your questions around Maltese swimming and the pros and cons of teaching a Maltese to swim.

Can a Maltese Swim ?

Can Maltese swim is actually a complex question. Technically, Yes. A Maltese Puppy can swim if they are taught. But a Maltese will not instinctively know what to do when they fall in the water as they are a dog breed which does not usually like to be in or around water. The reason for this is that they were historically bred and raised in Malta for royalty and they were rarely around natural bodies of water. Also naturally a Maltese has very long fur and dogs with long fur tend to avoid the water as it makes them a lot heavier as they soak up the water. It should also be obvious that long hair would make it much harder to swim as well.

Can I teach my Maltese to Swim?

Yes, if you have water in your backyard or nearby that the Maltese has access to unsupervised them you want to teach your Maltese to swim. It should be noted that it will be far easier to teach a Maltese with shorter hair to swim than a Maltese with long fur. If you are going to teach your Maltese to swim then maybe trim down the fur to a manageable level that is easier to swim in.

Why would I teach my Maltese to Swim ?

Each year there are many cases of the sad situation where people have found their dog drowned in the backyard pool or backyard pond. While your Maltese might despise the water, there is always the chance of an accident occurring where they fall into some water. It is just good parenting to teach your children to swim and its exactly the same with your Maltese. Teaching your Maltese to swim may save its life one day.

How do I teach my Maltese to Swim ?

Teaching a Maltese to swim can take a bit of time and perseverance. Most of them will hate the water but they should be able to work out how to do a doggie paddle and get out of the water. The easiest place to teach them is in a swimming pool. There are a few points which will help you with training your Maltese to swim.

  • Avoid Loud noises and a lot of splashing: Your Maltese may be scared of the water already so if you add in a lot of people and loud sounds then your Maltese’s senses will go into overdrive and raise your Maltese anxiety levels. Loud noises and lots of movement can quickly distract and confuse a Maltese puppy which is in flight or fight mode. The best way to introduce your Maltese to the water is calmly in a quiet area with no other people in the pool splashing around. The objective is to calm your Maltese and keep it focused on you and its swimming.
  • Slowly entice your Maltese puppy into the water: Some Maltese will enter the water with a bit of encouragement and enticing with dog toys and treats. If you don’t think that your Maltese will voluntarily enter the water even with the enticement then you can slowly dip your Maltese into the pool. Keep an eye on the fear in your dog and ensure they are OK. To start with only touch the water with their paws and take them out if they are too frightened. Give them a treat for tolerating your teaching them how to swim and slowly progress over time putting more of your dogs body into the water until they are floating.
  • Encouragement with praise and treats: Remember lots of encouragement and prizes such as dog treats for your Maltese will allow them to associate positive thoughts with swimming. You want to teachyour dog to save themselves in case they fall in the water but they will likely have an in built fear of the water. This is OK as if they stay away from the water there is even less chance of them coming to harm from it. But while you are training do your best to keep your dog in a positive, calm focused temperament.
  • Never throw your Maltese into the pool: This will just further scare, alarm and distress your Maltese. You also can not be sure that they would be able to instinctively know to swim and they may swallow water or become in a dangerous situation. As per the early advice you should go slow and put them in the water calmly.
  • Support their body weight: When you finally get your dog into the water you should support their body weight until they get the doggie paddle working. This will allow the Maltese dog to feel safe because they are still in contact with you. They should start to paddle and support themselves as they instinctively kick out their legs. if they do not start swimming you can slowly decrease how much you support them till they take up their won weight by paddling forward.
  • Start with a doggie vest: There are specially designed doggy vests which can be used in water to ensure that your Maltese stays afloat if they fall into the water. These are OK to start with to teach your Maltese to swim but they can provide a false sense of security for your Maltese. its best to use them at the beginning when teaching your Dog and slowly graduate out of them. They are also a great idea if you take your dog on a boat or near open water bodies as a precaution.
  • Teach your Maltese how to get out of the pool: Your Maltese will need directions to the edge of the pool where they can get out. This is usually some steps or lower edge where they can climb onto. Its important to put your Maltese in different parts of the pool and make sure they can find the exit. That way if they ever fall in without you around they will know where to go in order to get themselves out of the water.
  • Finally Keep an eye on them: Dogs can be like children and jump into the water or swim off in unknown directions. You want to make sure that near water you are always watching your Maltese. If they are in or near the water you want to be in close proximity with an eye on them at all times so that you can quickly come to their assistance if needed. Dogs can start swimming in open bodies of water and lose their bearings. Ensure you don’t let them swim out too far and you call them back if you feel they are getting into any dangerous areas like rips on the beach.
  • Have fun: Dogs will pick up on your emotions in the water. if you are calm and happy they will sense that feeling and also emulate you. Have fun with your dog but always keep an eye on them as water can be dangerous even to adults.
Maltese naturally hate water

Do Maltese Dogs like Water ?

Maltese generally do not like water and will avoid it if they can. This does lessen the chance they will fall into water such as swimming pools but it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Also some Maltese have been known to love swimming in the pool but this is generally the exception and not the normal attitude from Maltese to water.

Why Maltese and water do not mix !

Maltese tend to hate water naturally and this is one of the best reasons to keep them clear of water. Other big reasons on why Maltese and water do not mix is due to conditions which are known to occur in this breed which are made worse with water. These conditions in arthritis, rheumatism and the chills. Water can promote these conditions to flare up worse especially in areas where the temperature is cool or cold. But these problems are less likely to be inflamed during the summer months and in warmer climates. If you live in a cooler environment and do not have open bodies of water such as ponds near you then swimming may be a good activity to avoid.

Another condition that can occur with Maltese who get around water is ear infections. their ears tend to be naturally developed so that water gets trapped inside the ear canal. As this moisture heats up from the body temperature it becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria which then turns into ear infections. If your dog does like to swim then make sure you look after its ears and ensure they are clean and clear or moisture and infections.

Can my Maltese dog swim in my pool ?

Yes it is possibly that your Maltese can jump into the pool with you but be careful of ear infections and don’t let them do it if the weather is too cold. If you do have a pool then you are probably located in a warmer climate and the pool is seen as a way to cool off your Maltese. Keep in mind that most Maltese hate water so they may not want to get in the pool but there are some Maltese who love it. Its best that your Maltese at least knows how to get out of the pool if they fall in as a minimum so you should ensure they can swim adequately just in case.

Can my Maltese dog swim in Chlorine?

Yes the amount of chlorine in your pool is so small that it is not toxic to dogs. If your dog is a show dog then it would be best to avoid the chlorine as it can affect their coats. If your dog does jump into a chlorinated pool there is no concern. After a swim in the pool just give them a rinse with fresh water to ensure that the chemicals from the pool are not on your Maltese puppy.

The main concern with chlorine pools is actually the chlorine tablets that are used for the pool. Ensure that any chemicals are locked away where your Maltese can not access them. If your dog was to eat a chlorine tablet or any other chemical seek emergency vet advice. Extract of Ipecac may be a quick solution to getting the dog to throw up anything they have eaten but your Vet could advise this over the phone very quickly. It is worth having Ipecac at home locked away just in case you need to induce vomiting in your dog.

Can my Maltese puppy swim at the beach ?

Maltese and the beach don’t go well together when it comes to water. As the Maltese is a small breed and sizable waves will be a major concern to them near the water. They will not have the power to resist any sort of current or wash back from the waves so if you do take them to the beach ensure that you keep a very close eye on them. Keep them well away from any waves especially if you go walking on the rocks near the end of the beach. Your Maltese will have a great time playing in the sand and walking with you along the waters edge so the beach doesn’t have to be missed. When they return home from a beach you should be rinsing them with clean fresh water to ensure that the salt is removed from the fur and so that any mites or fleas are washed clear. The beach is known as a place where mites, fleas and bacteria can latch onto a dog, especially one which has a longer coat such as a Maltese dog.

Can my Maltese swim in a lake ?

Maltese can swim in a lake but keep a very close eye on them as there can be currents and underwater objects which are not obvious to the naked eye on the surface of the water. Your Maltese should not swim too far from shore. You should ensure that you give your Maltese a rinse in fresh clean water after a trip to the lake even if they do not go in the water. You need to rinse your Maltese puppy to ensure that it does not pick up any mites, fleas or bacteria from the lake water.

Did you enjoy our article on Maltese Dogs and Water?

Hopefully this article has answered many of the questions you had around your Maltese puppy and swimming. If you think we missed anything or you want any more information leave us a comment. We would also be interested to know if you had any more tips on teaching a Maltese puppy to swim and whether your Maltese liked swimming ? Leave us a comment with the answers.


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