Exercise is very important to the health of every dog. Unfortunately, in our climate there are many days of the year that are too cold, icy or hot to take long walks with a dog. The average puppy and adult dog really should have an opportunity for some running time; the faster the better. Unless you own your own securely fenced park that is not an option. But swimming is the same as running, just with no impact on the legs and joints.
There are so many ways that pretty much any dog can benefit from swimming in a clean, comfortable and safe environment.
First and foremost, swimming is a zero impact form of exercise. It is hands-down the absolute best way for an overweight dog to burn calories and build muscle. Even if the dog is wearing a life jacket it is still getting lots of exercise. Every minute of swim time equals a one mile run; except the dog is cooler, and less likely to be stiff and sore afterwards.
The older dog will appreciate a swim to loosen up those achy old joints. Almost every owner of an older dog tells us that for days after the swim their dog is ‘bouncier’ and much less stiff. To date, our oldest swim dog was a 19 year old Chihuahua who could not walk, but loved the freedom the water and a life jacket gave him. A dog is never too old to try something new!
A gentle introduction to swimming is ideal for almost every puppy. Yes, most dogs would be able to swim if they fell off the boat or the pier, but they could also become fearful of the forced experience. In our pool your puppy will have a swim coach next to them at all times, giving reassurance and encouragement. Many puppies (especially the hunting breeds) are retrieving toys during their very first swim.
A dog recovering from a surgery will often be given instructions by their vet to do some swimming to help rebuild strength and muscle. Twice a week short swims are usually ideal for the first couple of weeks after the veterinarian decides the dog is ready. Thereafter, the dog can usually progress to the usual 30 minute swims.
What about fun? Yes, your dog needs fun just as much as he needs nourishment, love and exercise. You do not need any other reason than swimming just for fun!