Q. My dog has never been swimming and we are going to the beach. Can she swim by herself or do I need to stay by her side?
A. It depends on the breed. Some breeds are not meant for swimming; breeds that are brachycephalic like Pugs, Bulldogs, etc., and breeds with short legs like Dachshunds, Corgis, etc. Other breeds need serious help while swimming. On the other hand, some breeds take to the water naturally, like Labs, Goldens, Portuguese Water Dogs, Newfoundlands, etc.
What I suggest you do either way is to purchase a swimming vest. You want to make sure your dog is safe while swimming for their first time, and a life jacket will ensure this. You should also take it very slowly at first. Coax your dog into the water using treats, feed the treats slowly, use encouragement and happy tones. Do not force your dog into the water, just take it very slowly.
Finally, keep in mind that the ocean can be a dangerous place for a dog to swim, since strong undercurrents and big waves can make it tough. Therefore, it could be a defeating first swim for your dog.