The Benefits of Swimming

Why is Swimming Great for your Dog?

You may be wondering why you might want to take your dog to a pool. After all, dogs know how to swim and we have a lot of natural water around the area, right? The truth is, that while most dogs know how to swim, some don’t swim at all or don’t swim effectively. Pool water is generally cleaner than river or lake water, so your dog will come out smelling like a wet dog instead of a filthy wet dog. Year-round swimming is easier in a pool given the consistent water temperature and lack of rain, snow, and mud.

dog swimSwimming in a pool is a good introduction for dogs who have never swum before. Not all dogs know how to swim. Often the ones who don’t know how to swim will try to climb out of the water, putting them in a more vertical position. Unfortunately, a vertical dog in the water is a dog who is sinking and probably getting upset. If there is a conveniently located human in the water, the dog may try to climb aboard. As a swim coach I introduce your dog gradually to the water to help her become comfortable with the idea of being in the water before beginning to swim. Not every dog will learn to love swimming, but most can be convinced that swimming is at least tolerable and many decide it is great fun.

Bringing in your young puppy for a first swim can be loads of fun. Some take to the water immediately while others are a little more cautious. Swimming can be a great confidence booster for your puppy. You can also think of a good early swim as a positive experience in the bank, should your puppy ever need surgery or injury recovery in the future or become arthritic in her senior years. Swimming is also a great way to use up some of that boundless puppy energy without stressing growing joints.

dog swimming with toyAdult dogs need exercise, too! Swimming is great cross-training for active dogs since water resistance is much higher than air resistance. You can tire out your healthy dog more quickly with swimming than with straight running, and with less stress on the joints. If you have an overweight dog, the buoyancy of the water will help your dog keep those legs moving without the burden of carrying his entire body-weight.

Swimming can be a great recovery aid for dogs who have had an injury. Once your veterinarian has cleared your dog to begin swimming, we can work together to rebuild muscle and fitness, either after surgery or crate rest.

kyah senior dog swimAs your dog ages, swimming may continue to be part of your dog’s life. Older dogs frequently develop arthritis, making movement painful which can lead to reduced activity and muscle mass. Swimming takes the weight off the joints, allowing your dog to move freely in the water. Often we see a brighter attitude as well as improved strength and ease of movement.

Finally, swimming together at the end of life can be a special gift. If your dog has loved water and swimming, sometimes a last swim or two can create lasting memories. Holding your dog in your arms in the nurturing environment of the water can help both of you relax and simply enjoy being together.

Please click to see: Videos of Judi swimming with her clients.

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