Rat terriers are considered a small breed, and most small breeds are not good swimmers, and prefer to stay out of the water, for some breeds even a bath can be very unpleasant.
Surprisingly, rat terriers like water and enjoy swimming and water games, they can swim and are relatively good swimmers despite being a small breed, it’s their long legs that makes it easier for them to paddle their way in pools, lakes and even at the sea.
Usually it’s the short-legged, deep-chested built, and dogs with flat faces and extremely short snouts that have a hard time swimming, dogs with long double coats can also have some difficulties.
Rat terriers are none of the above, their bodies are perfectly suited for swimming and they do love to swim.
Are rat terriers good swimmers?
Rat terriers physically have no disadvantages and are well suited for swimming, they are indeed good swimmers, certainly not the best swimmers but they do enjoy it.
It’s usually larger breeds that are better swimmers but considering their small size rat terriers are impressively good swimmers.
Rat terriers can swim in pools, lakes and even in the sea, supervision is of course needed at all times to make sure there are no unfortunate accidents.
How long can rat terriers stay in water?
How long can a dog spend in water will depend on the breed how much it works out on land the kind of water it’s swimming in.
Rat terriers are very energetic dogs, they’re part of the working dogs group, so they have enough stamina for long exhausting activities.
However, it depends on how much exercise and activities your dog is used to do on land, the longer they spend playing and exercising the more they can spend swimming.
Generally rat terriers can spend up to an hour of swimming without showing any signs of exhaustion, and they probably can do much longer.
Swimming in a pool is much easier and far less energy consuming than fighting waves or current in the sea, so it depends on where your rat terrier is swimming.
Rat terriers that are used to swimming perform even better, owners that live near lakes tend to take their dogs for a swim more frequently.
Do rat terriers like water games?
Rat terriers adore water games, they are intrepid swimmers and would perform really well in water activities.
Rat terriers are by nature working dogs, they need a job to thrive, activities that are energy consuming and fun are their favorite.
Rat terriers are independent thinkers and like a mental challenge, water games can be really enjoyable for them but also very helpful on the training level.
Fulfilling the rat terrier’s physical needs for activities makes it a lot more cooperative and easier to train, which can be very helpful considering that terriers are a bit suborn and not the easiest breed to train.
Water games for rat terriers
There are plenty of water games your rat terrier can enjoy depending on where you are.
Make sure your dog has a life-vest on especially in the lake and in the sea, they are cheap and available online for all sizes, we use EMUST Dog Life Vest ( check on Amazon).
In the backyard
Sprinkles : dogs in general love to play with sprinkles, it’s usually entertaining, mobile ones and those that rotate are a lot of fun.
If you don’t have sprinkles a hose spray nozzle can do the job it just requires you to be part of the action, and be ready for some jumping.
Baby pool : you can fill a small plastic (hard) pool for your rat terrier to splash in, he’ll simply enjoy it and would not stop jumping in and out of it.
Your rat terrier will also enjoy lying in the pool to cool down when tiered of playing, although it’s hard to imagine knowing how energetic rat terriers can be.
At the pool
Swimming and diving : rat terriers enjoy swimming in the pool and they will certainly enjoy your company.
Good swimmers can play dive and retrieve, you can if of course your dog is used to swimming toss a toy and have your rat terrier get it back.
Play catch : dogs in general like to play catch add water to that and it’s even more fun, you can use a ball or a Frisbee and your rat terrier will happily try to catch it.
At the Lake or River
Dock jumping : as simple as it is, it never fails to entertain and dogs that love to swim sure love to jump and make a splash every time.
Water retrieval : fetch is a great educational and enjoyable game for dogs, add water and it’s even better, you can have your rat terrier retrieve a ball going in and out of the water with a nice dock jump everytime.
Paddle boarding : In lakes the calm water and the absence of currents makes it the perfect spot for paddle boarding, and taking your rat terrier for a tour is also fun, they can relax on the board and go for a quick swim.
At the Beach
Walk along the beach : a simple walk along the beach is always great you can get your feet wet a bit and let your rat terrier enjoy the water.
Off leash walk : for a reliable dog, you can let your rat terrier roam free and enjoy the tidal pools along the beach.
Wave attack : under your close supervision, your rat terrier can enjoy battling waves and diving with a life-vest of course, wave can be too hard on dogs.
Surfing : If you are a surfer, a dog will also enjoy riding the waves with you, it’s fun and enjoyable for both of you.
Can rat terriers drown?
All dogs no matter how good swimmers they are can drown, and it happens unfortunately, that’s why it’s always safer to put a life-vest on your rat terrier.
Generally, dogs are good swimmers, but they have limited energy levels no matter how long they can keep it, at some point they need to go back on land.
If the dog is tired and doesn’t have a way out of the water he will drown, that’s why backyard pools should always have accessible exits for dogs.
Do rat terriers use their tail to swim?
Rat terriers don’t use their tails for swimming, and most dogs don’t, some breeds have learned this skill like Labradors.
For most breeds they just use their legs to paddle their way through the water, even dogs with small tails can still swim.
Is it safe for a rat terrier to swim in the sea?
Swimming in the sea is surely fun for us and dogs, fighting waves diving and just letting go is great but is it safe for dogs especially small breeds.
In general dogs that are used to swimming can handle swimming in the sea, but a life-vest is always a relief for the dog parent.
The current and waves can be too hard on a small dog like the rat terrier, but under supervision, they can swim while safe.
Can a rat terrier get water Intoxication?
Water sports and activities for dogs are great and have a very positive impact on their body fitness, however, the refreshing water could be hiding trouble.
Water intoxication known as “hyponatremia” is a serious condition a dog can suffer from if he drinks too much water while playing.
The lack of salt in the blood encourages the flow of water into the body cells, including brain cells. The extra water in the cells causes swelling.
Water intoxication is the lack of salt in the blood encourages the flow of water into the body cells, including brain cells, the extra water in the cells causes swelling.
As explained by Dr. Karen Becker, this inflow of water into the brain and other cells causes “staggering/loss of coordination, lethargy, nausea, bloating, vomiting, dilated pupils, glazed eyes, light gum color, and excessive salivation. In severe cases, there can also be difficulty breathing, collapse, loss of consciousness, seizures, coma, and death.” thePetmd.com
You can prevent such a condition by taking breaks from water activities every 10 to 15 minutes for some land action and go back for another tour later.