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swimming for dogs

Top 4 benefits of swimming for dogs

Summer is here so it’s time for warmer weather and longer days enjoying the sunshine. Who doesn't love a cool swim in a pool or the sea? It's not just humans who love the water—many dog breeds are natural swimmers and eagerly join in the fun! Especially if you have a breed like Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, or Portuguese Water Dog.

It's always important to consider your dog’s comfort, swimming ability, and safety when engaging in water activities with them. Not all dogs are natural swimmers, so you should introduce them to water gradually and provide proper supervision.

Once they are comfortable in the water, swimming for dogs is a great form of exercise and has many health benefits. Did you know that 1 minute of swimming is equivalent to 4 minutes of running for your pooch? It’s true. This makes swimming one of the best forms of exercise for dogs.

In this article, we share the top 4 benefits of swimming for dogs. We also recommend dog products to bring along when going for a splash with your furry pal.

Dog jumping into swimming pool
Murilo Viviani via Unsplash

1. Swimming for dogs is fun

First and foremost, swimming for dogs is a fun activity (if they love water of course!) It can also be very enjoyable for us humans too. So, bring your fur babies along for a sea or pool adventure and enjoy a splash together!

Although, swimming for dogs may not be as fun if they lack confidence with water. If your dog is the nervous type, introduce them to swimming in a slow and comforting way.

If you need to teach your puppy to swim, a small inflatable pool in the garden may be your best bet. A larger dog would need a bigger pool, or bath! You can create a fun playtime for your dog by filling your bathtub with a few inches of water and adding their favourite toys for a splash-filled experience. They will soon see there is nothing to be afraid of!

If you are taking your dog to the beach, start off in shallow and warm water where they can stand comfortably. From there, you can venture further but only if your dog knows basic obedience and you share a trusting bond, as this will ensure their safety.

You can amp up the fun by bringing some dog toys along on the adventure – just make sure that they float! The Durable Rubber Frisbee by SodaPup is an excellent choice to play fetch with your dog in the water. Similarly, the Rob The Microbe Dog Toy floats and has an erratic bounce that will entertain your pooch for long hours.

2. Swimming improves dogs overall health

Swimming for dogs is one of the best, complete forms of exercise. It provides several health benefits such as strengthening the heart and lungs, increasing metabolism, improving circulation, and decreasing inflammation. All of which help to keep your pup’s skin and fur healthy.

Having a swim is a gentle exercise for dogs that is kind to their joints and tendons, providing a stress-free workout.

It is particularly great for dogs with arthritis or dysplasia because swimming offers body support and relieves them from the impacts that occur when running on land.

Swimming also serves as a great rehabilitation for dogs who are recovering from orthopaedic or neurological injuries. The full list of health benefits that swimming provides for your dog are as follows:

  • Low Impact Exercise: Swimming for dogs puts minimal stress on their joints. Water's buoyancy supports your dog's weight, which reduces strain on their muscles and joints. Additionally, it offers a full body workout.

  • Cardiovascular fitness: Swimming is an excellent way to improve a canine’s cardiovascular health. The water's resistance challenges the muscles, making the heart work harder to circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body.

  • Weight management: Swimming for dogs is an effective form of exercise for weight management. The water resistance increases calorie burning, helping dogs burn excess fat and maintain a healthy weight. Swimming is great for overweight dogs because it eases strain on their joints while providing a calorie-burning activity.

  • Muscle strengthening: Swimming for dogs engages all their muscles including the core, limbs, and back. Swimming regularly can help your dog build muscle, improve their overall health, and boost their agility and balance.

  • Rehabilitation and Injury recovery: Many people use swimming as a form of hydrotherapy to rehabilitate dogs. The water's buoyancy lessens the weight on injured or healing limbs, enabling gentle movement and exercise.

Swimming for dogs
Marcia Soligo via Unsplash

3. Swimming for dogs is a stress buster!

Swimming sessions for dogs is a fantastic stress reliever. It benefits both their physical health and mental wellbeing. Unlike going for walks where your dog will often feel restricted on a lead, swimming provides more freedom. While swimming and splashing around, your pup will release any pent-up energy they may have.

Whether it be swimming in a dog-friendly pool, or splashing and running through water at the seaside, your pooch will love the off-leash adventure that being by the water brings to their life.

4. Swimming for dogs provides mental stimulation

Mental stimulation is crucial for dogs as it keeps their minds active, engaged, and fulfilled. It also helps prevent boredom and potential behaviour problems that may result from a lack of mental stimulation.

Swimming for dogs is a new and sensory experience. When your dog is in the water, adjusting to a new environment and coordinating their movements helps to keep them mentally sharp. So, it's a good idea to introduce your dog to water and help them build on their mental stimulation.

Just look at how utterly thrilled the French Bulldog looks below!

Swimming for dogs mental stimulation
Cristina Glebova via Unsplash

Dog swimming safety tips from WOOOF

Make sure swimming is a stimulating and fun activity for your dog with our top safety tips:

  • Introduce your dog to the water slowly, sticking to the shallow water first. Make sure to let your dog go at their own pace they are comfortable with.

  • As your dog’s confidence grows, encourage them to go further into the water and learn to paddle.

  • Use positive reinforcement like toys and treats to show your furry friend that splashing around in water is fun!

  • Never leave your dog alone in water and always supervise them.

  • Ensure the safety of your dog by getting them a life jacket! If your dog has difficulty staying afloat or feels anxious around water, investing in a life jacket ensures their safety.

  • Stay clear of Blue-Green Algae, a harmful bacteria commonly found in still waters such as ponds and lakes. The toxins it produces can be dangerous to humans and pets. For dogs, contact or consumption of water contaminated by blue-green algae can be fatal. It's crucial to keep your dog away from the water and its shoreline to ensure their safety.

Swimming for Dogs
McKayla Crump via Unsplash

Swimming for dogs is a great way to keep cool during the warm summer months. It can also do wonders for their physical and mental health, ensuring they stay healthy and stimulated. See below for some fantastic products we love to take swimming with our fur babies!

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