I know I have already been sharing photos of my guys enjoying the neighborhood lake. But the topic is also a good one for FitDog Friday so I thought I would join the hop.....
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for dogs of all ages. It's also a great one for hot weather when long walks and games of fetch may cause your dog to overheat. It works a lot of different muscle groups and provides an excellent aerobic workout. My dogs are much more tired after thirty minutes of swimming than after a two hour walk!
Things to consider if you want to let your dog swim.....
If they have never done it before, don't just toss them in the water and hope for the best. I've seen a lot of people do this and it's a good way to cause your dog to fear the water, not enjoy it! Let them wade a few times in the shallow water at the edge. Toss a floating toy out a short distance and encourage them to go get it. Some dogs take to swimming fairly naturally and some just never learn to like it. Don't force them to swim, it's supposed to be fun! I have never had to coax Wilson and Jimmy. Quite the opposite, I have to work at keeping them out when I don't have time for dirty dogs.
Remember, this is vigorous exercise, so start with very short sessions, building to longer ones as your dog becomes more accustomed to the rigors of swimming. Don't toss the toy or stick way out to the middle of the lake. Keep it closer to shore so it is easier for the dog to get back, especially as they begin to tire.
Another very important consideration is the water itself. You want to be sure it is a flowing source, not a stagnant pond. You want it to be clear and free from algae. Some varieties of algae are quite toxic to dogs, so if in doubt, do not let your dog swim in green soupy water!
The other hazard of standing water is the possibility of contracting Leptospirosis . This is not something you want your dog to have to go through so it is something to be familiar with. The bacteria for this is usually found in puddles and stagnant water, so once again be sure your dog swims in clear, flowing water.
Finally, when the swimming is all done, whether in a lake or stream, or for those of you lucky enough to have a swimming pool, be sure to thoroughly rinse your dog's coat. It will go a long way to eliminating a nasty wet dog smell, or in the case of a swimming pool, it will remove the pool chemicals that will be very harsh on the dog's fur.
Wilson and Jimmy LOVE swimming. It is probably their favorite activity. I wish I had a pool so they could keep swimming all summer. The lake near us becomes too shallow and soupy as the summer wears on and I don't let them go in it anymore.
Here are a couple more pictures from the lake this week......
How about your dogs? Do they like to swim or is it the worst thing you could ever ask them to do?