Health Benefits of Taking Your Dog Out for a Swim, Plus Safety Tips

If you haven’t observed it yet, dogs are avid swimmers. Have you ever witnessed the pure joy of a Labrador chasing a tennis ball into a lake or a border collie cooling off in the ocean on a hot day? Taking your dog out for a swim is both an enjoyable and beneficial activity. Aside from the fact that most dogs love to swim, swimming is also an excellent form of exercise for them. 

Here’s why you should take your dog swimming.

Why Taking Your Dog Out for a Swim Is Beneficial for Them

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Improves overall health

An excellent form of exercise, swimming does wonders for your dog’s overall health. It has numerous advantages over running and walking as the muscles work hard against the resistance of water, toning and strengthening your dog’s muscles in the process. The natural buoyancy of the body in the water also supports the animal’s weight, so the joints are not under the same stress as they are when running. Because of the cardiovascular benefits that swimming offers, it decreases inflammation, increases metabolism, and improves circulation, keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

Relieves stress

Just like humans, dogs need mental stimulation in the form of play, fun, and varied activities. Dogs that are usually restricted to exercising on a leash tend to find swimming liberating as they relieve themselves of their pent-up energy without feeling restrained. Plus, a happily worn-out dog is more likely to look forward to going home and sleeping, allowing them to reap the restorative benefits of a good night’s sleep.

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Keeps dogs stimulated

Even dogs can get bored and restless. Dogs often have excess energy to burn, which needs to be channeled into activities that keep them active and healthy, and keeps them from being destructive out of boredom. Exercise and play time help stimulate their minds, so take advantage of the chance you can get to take your dog out for a swim and give them the fun and stimulation they need and deserve.

Cools dogs down on hot days

Some dogs are more prone to developing heat exhaustion, especially dogs who are older, overweight, or brachycephalic (breeds with a wide head and are short in stature). Dogs with thick fur, short noses, or those suffering from medical conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and obesity are also susceptible to heat stroke. Because dogs overheat quickly when given normal exercise on hot summer days, taking your dog out swimming is your best exercise alternative. When they are immersed in cold water, this body heat naturally dissipates, and they can carry on exercising comfortably for longer.

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Maintains strength of joints

Because arthritis affects many dogs, especially in certain breeds, muscular exercise is crucial to maintain the strength of the structures surrounding and supporting the joints. However, running and walking may be too strenuous to dogs with damaged joints. Swimming, on the other hand, provides a good mix of strenuous muscle toning with minimal weight bearing on the joints. Swimming is low-impact, non-concussive, and non-weight bearing, meaning it allows your dog to enjoy all the benefits without putting stress on their joints and tendons.

Safety Tips to Remember When Taking Your Dog Out for a Swim

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Don’t forget that water can be dangerous if you’re not careful enough. Never let swimming dogs out of your sight. Your dog may also be too tired from swimming and find it difficult to get out of the pool, so you’ll have to assist them. It’s best to take them to beaches for this reason. 

For dogs that can’t swim, buy a life jacket so they can join in the fun. Make sure you get the right size for your dog, though. 

Lastly, clean your dog’s ears as soon as possible after swimming to prevent ear infections.