If you have ever watched kids playing with a dog in the swimming pool, you must have thought it was delightful. While most people believe that swimming is just fun for dogs, there are plenty of health benefits that a dog can derive from swimming a couple of times a week. Swimming is an excellent way for the dog to exercise in order to strengthen and tone those muscles and joints. While the dog can also get that by walking, running or playing catch, here are five reasons why swimming is the best exercise for dogs.
1. Overall Health Benefits
Though walking and running will help the dog stay fit and strengthen their muscles, swimming offers an array of other health benefits besides fitness. Swimming provides resistance and buoyancy needed to strengthen not only muscles but also the dog’s heart and lungs. Swimming also helps to improve blood circulation especially if the water is warm hence decreasing the chances of inflammation and many diseases as well as keeping the skin healthy and beautiful. The dog will also enjoy improved metabolism, balance and bone health so that the dog can stay happy and strong.
2. Swimming is Comfortable on the Joints
Unlike walking and running in pavements, swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that is joint-friendly and non-weight bearing. This means that the dog gets to enjoy the cardiovascular and aerobic workouts without putting any pressure on their paws and joints. In fact, one minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of running on the ground so the dog can get the benefits of exercise faster and rest. Apart from the few people who have bought walking shoes for their dog, most dogs have to endure walking barefoot on hot and rough pavements, and they end up with severe bruises at the end of the day. With swimming, the dog will exercise and move in many different ways improving its range of motion and not hurt any part of their body.
Like humans, dogs suffer from joint diseases such as arthritis, dysplasia and other orthopedic injuries that require physiotherapy to improve. Since walking and running will cause the dog more pain, swimming is the best form of therapy recommended by veterinarians. Water is an excellent pain-reliever and helps the dog to strengthen joints and improve circulation when recovering. Swimming is a perfect weightless form of exercise that will help the dog build supporting muscles, improve their motion and recover quickly after surgery or through therapy.
Since water improves blood circulation, swimming is a great way to help a dog relax after a long day of work. Most working dogs that do rescue, police work and drug recovery enjoy a swimming session in warm water so they can relax and be in good spirits. A short time of swimming will make the dog very tired but also extremely relaxed, so they will sleep like a baby throughout the night and wake up the following day ready for anything. Water also helps the dog to release the pent-up tension and stress so you can have a happy dog full of energy. Walking the dog may strengthen and tone the muscles, but it cannot relax or calm the dog.
5. Promote Weight Loss
For people whose dogs are obese, it can be frustrating to help them lose weight because the dog can barely run to save its life. A fat dog finds it difficult to be active because the weight puts too much stress on the joints and muscles leading to pain and even injuries. However, swimming allows the dog to exercise without pain because the water will bear the dogs weight instead of the weak legs. If the overweight dog swims every day, it can burn enough calories and increase its metabolic rate to a healthy level where it will be able to be active and happy again.
Swimming is an amazing way for the dog to stay healthy, strong and happy. However, the owner should still incorporate other forms of exercise such as walking and play time with the kids on the park because swimming cannot be done all the time. If your dog is not very fond of water, try to get it a warm pool and join him for the swim so it can be a bonding exercise too.