Swimming and treading water more than recreational fun?
Most four-legged friends love it when it’s warm: swimming and romping through the cool water. And finally the summer is here. At least calendrical! And it brings (a little 😉 ) warmer temperatures and sunshine! We are outdoors a lot with our four-legged friends and enjoy nature.
What could be more natural than to use the cool water to do something good for our dogs?
For dogs with musculoskeletal disorders such as ARTHROSE, neurological disorders such as Ligament Disease, but also for healthy dogs, swimming or treading water in natural waters is a very good exercise. You train with it the musculature, strength and it is great for his body feeling. Joint mobility and coordination are also trained. When treading water, you are also training a normal and healthy range of motion.
Due to the water resistance, the effort is much higher and the muscles are trained more than when running on land. On the positive side, the deeper you go in the water, the less body weight your dog has to carry. And it’s also great exercise for the cardiovascular system.
A few things you should definitely consider for the training fun in the cool water!
- Swimming and treading water is very strenuous for your dog. For both, you should start with short sessions of a few minutes and slowly increase it minute by minute. Even for a healthy dog, the movements are much more strenuous and should be built up slowly.
- You should always base your training sessions on how your dog is feeling on a daily basis. Like us humans, our dogs are not equally capable every day.
- Dogs often do not know their own limits and continue to run or swim even though they are already tired. Optimally, your dog should not get into this state of exhaustion at all. Observe him very closely for this. If your dog slows down and the movements seem more strained, this should definitely be the end. However, try to get a feeling that it will not come to that.
But these points are also important:
- The water should not be too cold. Then your dog’s muscles contract and tense up. If your dog is shivering, he won’t enjoy training in the water either.
- For young dogs and older dogs, I would always recommend treading water on the shore.
- You should never force your dog to swim. Some dogs just don’t like or panic when they can’t feel the ground under their paws. Then wading through the water is the better choice.
- It is optimal if your dog can go into the water on a shallow shore.
- You should avoid uncontrolled jumps into the water.
- By the way, eating is taboo before treading water or swimming. Just like any other sporting activity. Not only that it is not good to train with a full stomach. It can even be hazardous to health.
- When your dog goes swimming, you should secure him with either a life jacket, or a harness and a long leash.
- If you go into the water with them, you can control your dog’s movements while swimming and also regulate the pace.
- You should avoid waters with currents. A dog can’t gauge if it can handle the current, and then may swim too far out and not make it against the current.
- If you have elbow or knee injuries, as well as some back conditions, your dog should not swim. Then you can switch to treading water.
When treading water:
- When treading water, you’ll start with the water reaching your ankle and then progress through knee-deep water to hip-deep water.
- While treading water, lead your dog on a harness and leash so that you can set the pace and his movements are fluid – this is the only way you will have a training effect!
When is swimming or treading water off limits for your dog?
In case of fever and infectious diseases, open wounds, inflammations and severe heart diseases, your dog should refrain from swimming and treading water.
Now you are ready to go! I wish you and your dog a lot of fun training in the cool water!