All Things Dog

Why Swimming Is Good For Older Dogs

As your dog ages, giving him the exercise he needs can be a challenge. His slowing metabolism, lower energy levels and aging joints may mean that many of the daily activities that once kept him fit and trim are now causing him aches and pains. But even older dogs need their exercise. That's where swimming comes in. Exercise alternative Swimming is a great substitute for long walks, ball chasing and runs that your dog may not be up to anymore. A brisk dog paddle provides painless exercise for older dogs, largely because the activity is non-weight bearing; the water supports the dog's body and relieves his joints and tendons from the stress of jarring impacts. This is particularly important for dogs that suffer from any joint disorders, such as arthritis or dysplasia. Swimming is also excellent all-around exercise, helping your dog: Increase his heart rate Increase blood flow Improve lung capacity Increase muscle strength Burn calories Take the plunge If you live near a lake or pond or have a pool, swimming can be a source of free entertainment and exercise, and if you live in the right climate, a year-round activity. Even if you are without an outdoor swimming spot, many cities have facilities exclusively available for pets to go swimming. Keep it safe Whether your dog is a life-long swimmer or new to the activity, you should always take precautions to keep him safe. Always keep an eye on your dog when he is in the water. Never lose sight of him. Never force your dog into the water, and do not let him enter deep water. Do not let your dog swim into currents. Make sure there's an easy way for your dog to get out of the water. Without an accessible ramp, a dog may not be able to get out of a swimming pool or back onto a dock. Remember: dogs cannot climb ladders. If your dog cannot get out of the water, he will soon tire and drown. Do not assume he will automatically know where the steps are and how to get himself out. You need to teach him. Consider getting him a canine life vest. Swimming is especially enjoyable for your dog if you join him in the water. So why not add it to your routine and dive right in? That way you can both enjoy a new fun and healthy activity.

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