Friday, May 31, 2013

FitDog Friday: Swimming!

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?


  1. It's funny, Slimdoggy is a Lab and you'd think he'd love it - but he's indifferent. I just think he was never exposed to it. We're starting to take him to the beach and he's getting into it a little. Big Bear Lake is next. Our Sally, also a lab loved the water and would wade into every puddle she could find.

  2. Its a good day for a swim here...very hot!

  3. We can see they love the water. Pity they can't go all Summer. Have a fabulous fit Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Oh, the lake looks so good right about now! It's hot in Atlanta! I know Rocco likes the beach but he hasn't been swimming yet. Hope to take him soon!
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco

  5. Love the pics! Nola will swim if we're at the beach and it's super hot, but it's not her favorite thing by any means!
    Nola's Mom

  6. Max is just now starting to be ok about going in the water but its a real hit or miss. Glad you said that about throwing a pup in and fear! I witnessed that at the bark park recently and was shocked as I couldn't imagine that being ok

  7. Look like fun. No swimming here in South Africa, getting a bit cold fore the doggies.

  8. Swimming is such great exercise! I wish Rita would swim, but she'll only go out that deep if I go out too. She LOVES to get wet, but hates to swim. She literally goes for a dip - runs in, dips down in to the water, then stands up again. She's so funny.

  9. We just found out swimming is one of our favorite things too! Tired dogs are happy dogs!

  10. Hi Y'all!

    Oh I love to swim and starting in March or April practice retrieving bumpers from the water. For the last month the gators have been active (mating) and I'm not allowed to swim...only wade where my Human can clearly see the bottom to be sure nothing evil is lurking.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  11. Great advice about introducing dogs to swimming! The only place we would have for swimming anywhere near us is the river in the valley below. Since Wrigs doesn't seem to be a fan of water, I've never pursued it, but it sounds like it would be a great form of exercise--especially now that he's entering his senior years.

    Susan and Wrigs

  12. Thank you, once again, for your loving and sentimental and profound writing – it always gives my heart a jolt and makes me run to my sweet Lucy dog for hugs. In tears again!


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