Swimming for dogs is a wholesome activity. This is because, as well as helping them to cool down during the hot season, it is also a very effective form of exercise.
This type of exercise has many benefits for your pet. However, it is important to remember that not all dogs are willing to enter the water.
So it should be a gradual process in which your pet associates the activity with a pleasant experience. Here are some benefits to swimming:
1. Swimming for dogs and weight loss
Like any other physical activity, swimming can help your dog lose weight. In addition, thanks to the buoyancy of most living organisms in water, swimming does not affect your pet’s skeletal and articular systems.
The bones and joints do not support your pet’s weight as they do on land, so they are free from any strain or overexertion.
2. Increased muscle tension
Water has more resistance than air and forces the animal to exert more muscular effort to perform the same movement.
This increases muscle tension. For this reason, high-intensity swimming is one of the five forms of exercise that produce the greatest energy expenditure and overall muscularity.
3. Swimming improves the dog’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems
Your pet can do this form of exercise at low to moderate intensity. It will improve their respiratory and circulatory capacity over time. Continuous exercise strengthens the lung capacity of living creatures. In addition, it teaches them to control their respiratory rhythm more effectively.
4. Swimming for dogs and therapeutic benefits
This form of exercise is also recommended for the alleviation of certain musculoskeletal disorders and the post-operative treatment of various conditions, such as:
- Muscle degeneration
- Cruciate ligament rupture
- Hip dysplasia
What is hydrotherapy?
It is a treatment performed through passive, assisted or active movements while the animal is underwater.
Passive movements require the assistance of a therapist to help the animal create some resistance to strengthen the muscles.
Active movements seem obvious; the dog performs them independently.
Dogs perform hydrotherapy exercises in a special bath that gradually fills with water. The flow and amount of water are regulated according to the individual needs of each patient. An underwater belt may also be used to facilitate movement.
In addition, some tubs can regulate the temperature of the water and others even release air or jets of water. In this way, the health benefits of thermotherapy and hydromassage (other techniques used in rehabilitation) can be added to the exercises already being performed.
Swimming accessories for dogs
Dogs can exercise both in pools and natural bodies of water if you have one nearby that allows dogs to swim (check local regulations).
Of course, you must watch your pet at all times. There are several accessories on the market, such as dog slippers, that make swimming easier for dogs.
Firstly, life jackets increase your pet’s buoyancy and make swimming easier. In addition, they increase the animal’s visibility in the water.
Swimming has many benefits for dogs and many breeds love it. As you can see, it is a great way to keep them entertained and strengthen the bond with your pet.
Remember that you need to let them gradually get used to it if they are afraid of water. Always use positive reinforcement until they decide to enter the water and stay in it.
Finally, remember that this type of activity has some contraindications. Therefore, consult your vet to find out if your pet has any disease for which swimming or hydrotherapy is not a good idea.