Come On In! The Water’s Fine — And Good For Your Health
Swimming can be a great aerobic exercise. The warmth and buoyancy of the water can provide instant pain relief and support that can help people do exercise. Swimming can help you lose weight, reduce arthritis risk, and strengthen muscles.
Swimming is also a fun exercise to do with your favorite pup. My dog Wheatie hated swimming as a pup. When he turned two years old, he was more interested in the water. And by age three, he was a real fish. While Wheatie loves swimming, my other wheaten has no interest in water sports. Swimming with Wheatie is great — he often gets me to swim a few extra laps because I see how much fun he’s having in the water. And I like knowing we’re both getting a good workout.
Here are some tips for safely swimming with your pooch:
- Don’t let your dog swim alone.
- Make sure your dog knows how to safely get into and out of water. If you have a swimming pool, train your dog to find the exit steps. Even if your dog isn’t likely to go into the pool for a fun swim, he may inadvertently fall in when running by the pool, leaning over, or watching a frog that hopped into the water.
- Monitor everyone in the pool — dogs and people — to make sure no one gets trapped under a bigger body, raft, etc.
- Let your dog get out for frequent breaks. Swimming is great exercise, but tiring and, unlike you who can stand up and rest, your dog will need to keep swimming the entire time unless he’s in very shallow water.
- Make sure your dog gets plenty to drink when swimming. Have a fresh water dish handy outside of the pool for Fluffy and water bottles for you to maintain good hydration while exercising in the heat.