Go To Canine Companion: The Pool, Swimming Is Great Exercise For Dogs

Hey, guys. With the last bit of summer ending, I wanted to write this week’s article about swimming. I know, it’s a bit late in the season but it’s still a good read and you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who bring their dogs to the pool to go swimming during the cold months.

Whether your dog needs to get healthy and fit, build strength after an injury, or just can’t seem to stay away from the water, swimming is an excellent idea for you and your dog.

Swimming is so beneficial, it’s highly recommended by many canine behaviorists and veterinarians to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and frustration.

There’s a common myth that you can just throw your dog in the water, his natural instincts will kick in, and he’ll immediately be able to swim. Don’t do this. Not all dogs know how to swim and need some help learning. Your dog could drown if you don’t properly introduce her to the water.

Since you’re reading this, you’re clearly a dog lover like us. And, dog lovers across the country are now starting to offer dog swimming pools along with dog swim classes.

Swimming Lessons

There isn’t really a requirements list when it comes to training your dog how to swim. All dogs can benefit from swimming lessons from a professional.

Swimming is nearly impact-free which helps dogs with joint problems to exercise without causing additional harm. Swimming, as you can imagine from swimming yourself, benefits all muscle groups, and it wears your dog out. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog. Always give her something to do.

Body Style

Your dog may not have the body style that’s encouraged for regular swimming, like a Lab, but even dogs (like Corgi, Pomeranian, etc) can benefit from swimming. But, they usually need a life jacket.

If you have a ‘squished-face’ dog (brachycephalic), you probably understand why swimming would be a concern. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I am talking about pugs, boxers, mastiffs, and other dogs who don’t have a long snout.

In these cases, your dog is generally still able to swim, but he will get tired much faster than other dogs.

See POOL, Page A7

Be sure to watch for signs of fatigue. You know your dog best so be certain to keep a close watch.

Hydrotherapy

That’s a great point to bring up. There are many dog lovers like you who are worried about their dog swimming because they’re in chronic pain. Here’s the thing, hydrotherapy is known to be the preferred method of treating chronic pain.

The temperature of the water contributes to the relief your dog will feel, too. The temperature of the water helps to soothe your dog’s aching body.

Must Like Dogs

Dogs are known to be social animals, but there are just some dogs who plain out can’t stand being around other dogs.

They’re kind of like people in this sense, they pick and choose who they want to be around and who they don’t.

If your dog is one who doesn’t play well with other dogs, instead of going to the dog park, you can take him to swimming lessons for a bit of mental and physical stimulation.

Swim Tips

¯ Invest in a life jacket. Doggy life jackets can make your dog feel more at ease and many have a handle so you’re able to grab on if necessary.

Teach her early. As with most training routines, it’s best to teach your dog as early as possible. She’s less likely to be fearful of water if she learns what it is at a young age.

¯ Stay patient. Some dogs learn faster than others. Your dog might jump right in happily, or may have to warm up to the idea of swimming.

¯ Be supportive. Your dog will need you to be supportive during this time. Your dog can sense your emotions. She’s going to feel how you’re feeling. Try to be happy rather than nervous to put your dog at ease.

¯ Swim with him. Grab your swimsuit and be part of the process. Your dog is more likely to feel comfortable if you’re there to show him all is okay.

¯ Bring nummies. Your dog will have more of an incentive to get in the water willingly if she sees her favorite snack.

The bottom line is to be patient, have fun, and stay safe.

Until next time.

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