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How swimming can benefit your dog

- Posted by in Pet Care
How swimming can benefit your dog

Now the weather has improved, it’s time to start getting active! And what could be a more refreshing way than going for a swim? Besides being a lot of fun for your dog, it’s also beneficial to health and fitness, which goes towards improving quality of life and life expectancy.

It’s no myth that dogs have a natural affinity with water and enjoy making waves wherever there happens to be some! Just like horses, most dogs have the ability to swim, so long as they have the confidence to try. We mustn't forget the term “doggy paddle” came from somewhere.

That said there are some dogs that are dangerously unsuited to aquatic sport and can encounter difficulties. Not every dog has the same enthusiasm for water as the Labrador retriever and Newfoundland, and water safety should never be overlooked.

Bulldogs, Dachshunds and small dogs like Chihuahuas may not have the strength to keep themselves afloat and their heads above water, so it is important to be more cautious with them. The Hurtta Outdoor Life Jacket is suitable for all dogs and is ideal for swimming, water rescue, rehabilitation, boating and hunting.

If your dog happens to love swimming - great! Try to encourage this love as much as possible with regular visits to the beach, the lake at the local park and the pool in the back garden. When the weather starts hotting up and long walks are uncomfortable, a quick dip can really help your dog stay cool and active. It’s also a great way of socialising your dog and building confidence.

If your dog swims regularly, its skin and ears can start to suffer a little. But don't worry, this is easily managed. The pH of the ear canal can alter after getting wet which leaves room for infection, so it is important to keep the ears as clean and dry as possible – something which isn’t always easy if your dog has long drop-ears or ears that are particularly bushy. Using a regular ear cleanser can help with the problem and RestAural is a gentle everyday solution for the maintenance of healthy ears.

Aside from the fun factor of swimming, it is also great for healing as dogs are weightless in the water and their muscles, joints and bones aren’t put under any strain. Obesity issues and degenerative joint conditions can really benefit from hydrotherapy, which is directed at easing chronic ailments, aiding post-operative recovery, and generally promoting better fitness in dogs, whatever their age.

For elderly dogs that are struggling to stay active because of tired joints and decreased energy, swimming is just what the doctor ordered. Forget long, arduous walks and high-impact games of fetch that younger dogs might enjoy, swimming can really help elderly dogs burn calories, improve muscle tone and strengthen joints, without being too taxing on an ageing body. Water also helps relieve arthritic pain so is remedial as well as fun.

For dogs that love life, joint degeneration can have a huge impact on their physical and mental well-being. While not all joint problems are preventable, involving joint aid supplements is a sensible investment for the future, as these contain the key ingredients needed for joint tissue repair and renewal. In fact, many people now include joint supplements as a staple part of their dog’s diet, whether or not there is an existing problem to treat.

Extending VioVet’s service of care to pets everywhere, we have developed Joint Force, our own branded joint care supplement. Joint Force offers high quality daily nutrition that is cost-effective and uniquely packaged to fit through your letterbox. We also have RestAural, a gentle, everyday ear cleanser designed for healthy ears. The formulation cleans, dries and acidifies, making it ideal for use after swimming or bathing.

While long sunny strolls are great for your dogs, this summer why not give swimming a try and see how their fitness improves :) If you have any comments or experiences, please share them with us! Feel free to contact me directly with any further questions: [email protected]

Written by:


15th Jun 2015
Customer Since: September 2010
From: Northamptonshire, United Kingdom

My two king Charles spaniels swim at a hydrotherapy unit every Sunday morning. They just love it and being in a controlled environment with a instructor suits my small dogs perfectly. I urge owners who gave elderly or overweight dogs to give it a try. The change in my girls us just amazing

16th Jun 2015

Our Dobermann TJ has been swimming since he was 6 months. He is now 8 1/2 years old and still screams with delight when we approach the kennels. Mind you our bitch's are not as keen. Great for big dogs.

16th Jun 2015

Where is our nearest Hydro pool please. DE13 9QW post code. We have a 7year old Labradoodle, very fit and healthy and he would love this exercise!!!

17th Jun 2015
Customer Since: June 2012
From: Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

Can anyone tell me where in the herts/beds area is the nearest pool. I have three labs ready and waiting with their towels!

29th Jun 2015

Thanks for your comments :)

MK9 Hydropool is a great option, situated in Milton Keynes. It is easily accessible via all major routes and offers a great workout for dogs with joint conditions/arthritis, weight management issues, post-operative conditions etc.

Ashbourne Canine Hydrotherapy Centre is located a bit further afield in Derbyshire but has great reviews :)

Hope this helps!

9th Jul 2017

This sounds like a great idea for our 3 rescue dogs, two oldies and an 18 month mad pup! Do you know of any pools in north east England, Durham area? We often go to the beach but are wary of crowds and small children especially.

2nd Jul 2018
Customer Since: February 2018
From: Hampshire, United Kingdom

Some years ago my then GSD was 8 years old and regularly swam in rivers and ponds on the New Forest. She developed CDRM and arthritis but kept going with her swimming in a proper dog pool until sadly we lost her at the age of 10 years. When swimming in the Forest she would dive into the water from a river bank if no walk in access available, our vet did think that this diving in may have aggravated her CDRM so this was avoided for her last two years. Swimming was her joy.

3rd Jul 2018
Customer Since: September 2011
From: Cheshire, United Kingdom

When my first rescue dog reached 14 she started to wobble on her back legs when she was tired so we didn't walk as much as we had been . She put weight on so I started looking for alternative forms of exercise - we found Cheshire Hydrotherapy Pool near Knutsford. Katie had always loved water so we began weekly workouts. She lost a stone in weight and had an extra year of life as a result. She could barely walk when the vet came to put her to sleep for the final time but she had been swimming that morning and was happy and relaxed. My current rescue dogs also go there weekly - Millie the Pets As Therapy Jack Russell is a very good swimmer and is always very relaxed after her dip , Sam prefers to potter both are very fit and happythough. Thoroughly recommend swimming!

31st Jul 2018
Customer Since: September 2010
From: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Danny my Labradoodle who is now 11yrs old and has elbow Arthritis has benefitted so much by going to Hydrotherapy. This I am sure along with Acupunture is such a great help to him. Loves to play with a ball now!!!!!

31st Jul 2018
Customer Since: February 2017
From: West Midlands, United Kingdom

We Have three very active English Springer Spaniels who love water and swimming. We go to North Wales every month and they all swim in the rivers and lakes but our five year old always seems to pick up a stomach bug. He does have a sensitive stomach at the best of times but it is impossible to keep him out of the water. He has Yudigest twice a day, every day which keeps his stomach good most of the time. Can you suggest any help.

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