If you follow me on social media you’ll notice I take my dogs swimming a lot over the summer. I take them any chance I can get! Not only do they love it but swimming is also really good for them, especially for my wise seniors and three-legged dogs.
Here’s why I love swimming for all dogs but especially seniors or three-legged dogs:
1. It’s a low-impact exercise, meaning that it doesn’t require jumping or running which can be hard on some dogs and weaken joints over time.
2. Swimming builds muscles and overall strength. Because it’s a low-impact exercise, dogs are able to build more muscle without getting as sore as they might from running, sprinting or jumping. Dog’s muscles can recover quicker from a swim because it’s not as strenuous on the body.
3. Swimming helps with proprioception (the awareness of the position and movement of the body, limbs, feeling, etc.). So for aging dogs or amputees like Jayne or Meatball, swimming can help them get a sense of where the body is in relation to other body parts.
My favorite life jacket for dog’s is the RuffWear Float Coat. It is SO durable. We’ve bought other cheap ones that break and are really flimsy. This one is worth the investment, trust me.
If your dog isn’t super into swimming freely in a lake you can try a local doggie swim or rehabilitation facility with underwater treadmills to break in your dog’s nerves about swimming and hopefully over time he/she will love it! Dogs should always wear life jackets – they can love to swim so much they can exhaust themselves easily and need a supportive way to float. Not to mention it’s just the safest way to enjoy being at a lake or pool!
Be aware of blue-green algae in your area if you are swimming your dog’s in a lake. You can check with your local department of resources to make sure there are no complaints or issues. I always check to make sure there are no beach closures at our lake or algae issues!