Come On In! The Water’s Fine — And Good For Your Health

Swimming is a fun exercise you can do with your dog

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.
Wonder if your dog might enjoy some pool exercise? Here’s a list of water-loving breeds:

  • American water spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay retriever
  • English setter
  • Golden retriever
  • Irish setter
  • Irish water spaniel
  • Labrador retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Portuguese water dog
  • Standard poodle

Even if your Fido’s not a typical water-loving breed, he may learn to enjoy a good swim with you

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  2. I am currently looking at Isle of Palms real estate and one of my requirements is an in ground pool. My dog Panic loves to swim but every time she gets in our above ground pool that I have now I am afraid she is going to rip the liner. That is why I need an in ground pool. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The first thing we did with both of my dogs was teach them to find the pool steps so they could safely exit if they accidentally fell into the pool or if they were swimming with us. First, I kept them very close to and facing the steps and lured them out with treats. As they recognized this was the exit, I moved them farther from the steps and turned them to the back or sides of the pool. They learned that the steps are the “exit” and learned to go there instead of the sides of the pool where they could scratch the liner and drown if unable to get out.

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