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Doing The Dog Paddle

Updated on July 8, 2011

If you have a dog, you understand there are dogs that love to swim and those that do not. Many adore splashing around and will swim in any type of water in any weather. Labradors, goldens and various hunting dogs fall into this category. It is hard to keep them out of the water. Yet, some dogs seem to have trouble. They walk like a snotty cat through even the smallest puddles. Some pitbulls are like that. They don’t want to ruin their coiffeur. Yet swimming can be very beneficial no matter what your dog’s preference.

Why Take Your Dog Swimming?

Swimming offers a variety of benefits for your favourite canine. It is above all FUN. It is a time for your dog to play, act silly - chasing waves, balls, sticks and other objects – including his or her own tail or leash. Yet swimming is also a healthy form of exercise. Paddling in the water provides a dog and his or her owner with several health benefits:

1. Develops your dog’s stamina

2. Improves fitness

3. Improves muscle tone

Swimming utilizes all the muscles in your dog that other types of exercises fail to use. At the same time, swimming places less stress on your canine’s joints and bones. This is one reason why hydrotherapy has become part of an injured or arthritic dog’s therapy. Swimming can be useful for

· Overweight dogs

· Dogs recuperating from an injury

· Following an operation

· Any instance where muscles have begun to atrophy


If your dog enjoys water do take him or her swimming. It is always wise, however, to consider a few useful guidelines:

· Never leave your dog alone in the water. Even if you only stand on the shore be there

· Watch your dog does not stray into over deep water

· Make sure your dog does not tire him or her out

· Since dogs tend to drink the water, make sure it is safe for them to drink

· Never throw their toys, stick or ball out to far or into unknown waters

· Never toss a puppy into the water to teach it how to swim. This is cruelty to animals

· Rinse off your dog after it has been in the water – particularly around the eyes and ears.

· Rinse the hair and skin thoroughly specifically if your dog has problems with allergies


Not all dogs enjoy or are suitable for water. While labs, shepherds, collies, pointers and goldens love to splash around, others, such as pugs and bulldogs, may paddle in the water but are not built for swimming. Know what your dog likes to do and let it go at that. Forcing him or her to swim doesn’t work. It may result in the opposite effect. For those who love it, let them. Just take the right precautions, sit back and watch them take pleasure what, for some of them, comes perfectly naturally.


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