Why dog swimming is the new dog walking

shutterstock_230807923-webNational Dog Day is August 26th and brings attention and awareness to the plight of dogs and encouraged dog adoption. Owning and caring for a dog is not only beneficial for the canine; dogs help owners be more active and social, reduce blood pressure and stress, and improve mood.

Walking the dog is a great way for both owner and dog to get good exercise and fresh air.  However, not all people and not all dogs can walk without pain.  Doctors and physical therapists may recommend swimming to ease joint pain, to aid in recovery from an injury or to include variety in aerobic exercise.  For dogs, swimming can offer similar benefits.

In a study performed at Hartpury University Centre in the United Kingdom, researchers found that canine hydrotherapy (essentially dog paddling) helps dog with elbow dysplasia.  Even dogs without elbow dysplasia had improved stride and increased flexibility.  If your dog is not a water-lover, be informed and introduce swimming slowly. It is an important skill for dogs to be able to swim just as it is for humans.   The benefits of swimming far outweigh the possible risks involved for dogs, as it can ease joint pain or cool off the dog on a hot day.

If you plan to swim with your dog at home, consider a low-chlorine pool system. Chlorine can dry out and irritate your dog’s skin, irritate it’s eyes and airways, and, if your dog drinks the water, cause mild gastrointestinal distress.

If you don’t own a pool, many municipal pools offer dog pool days at many pools at the end of the summer after the pool has been closed to the public and the temperatures are a little cooler.  For example, in Clear Comfort’s home town of Boulder there are dog pool days at a city pool from September 19 until October 2.  Look to see if there is a dog day at your local outdoor pool before they close it for the season.  It’s a great way for your pet to have fun, get some low-impact exercise and increase flexibility — and for dog owners it is very fun to watch!

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Claire McDaniel

Claire is a swimming and nutrition expert who loves to educate and motivate others to healthier living. She swam competitively for 18 years, is a five time All-American, a Division I National Champion, was co-captain of Team USA at the 2007 World University Games and was named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. She also has a master’s degree in nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. After swimming, Claire started coaching and has coached all over the US and even in Switzerland! Her experience and expertise about both swimming and health fuel her passion for Clear Comfort’s mission – to make swimming a 100 percent healthy activity for swimmers, coaches, lifeguards and pool staff.