Why Swim your Dog
An indoor swim center for dogs? This idea may sound crazy to some people but there are so many great reasons for you to swim your dog in this type of environment. But don’t just take our word for it. Dr. Marylisa Reynders from the McClelland Small Animal Hospital in Buffalo is a supporter of Canine Splash’s philosophy that swimming is great recreation for our dogs while also providing tremendous health benefits. Dr. Reynders obtained her undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her DVM from the New York State College of Veterinary at Cornell University (2003). Dr. Reynders was fortunate to have been mentored by some of the veterinary world’s leading clinicians while at Cornell. She also currently serves as a Board Member of the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. Below, Dr. Reynder’s outlines some of the many health, fitness, and physical and mental benefits of indoor swimming for your dog.
Why Indoor Pools?
- Swimming pools provide the ability to perform routine water quality testing and water quality control. The ability to better control water pH levels helps promote dog skin health.
- Indoor swimming pools are more hygienically sound than outdoor lakes by far. Natural lakes and ponds have bacteria, giardia and other contaminants, and can spread zoonotic diseases such as leptospirosis, giardia, salmonellosis, etc.
- Indoor pools do not have the mosquito population that outdoor bodies of water attract thereby limiting the risk of contracting heartworm disease.
Health Benefits with Swimming
- The ability to provide minimal to no weight bearing exercise for post-op and geriatric dogs to promote the maintenance of muscle mass and overall physical conditioning. Swimming provides an excellent source of cardio- conditioning post-op to fight lack of exercise in those who otherwise may not be able to exercise.
- Swimming is an excellent way to provide an energy outlet and conditioning for dogs with ligamentous injuries or to combat over-exertions. The buoyancy of water can provide temporary reduction in stress to joints though basic physics mechanisms.
- For those with high energy dogs, swimming is a terrific outlet for hyperactivity in post-operative patients who otherwise need oversight in their motions.
- Exercise gets endorphins going, and may be therapeutic for many behavioral disorders, such as separation anxieties, etc.
- Warm water can help the tension in muscles relax from a physiological standpoint, microscopically and grossly in the muscle.
- Just like in humans, swimming is a great weight control exercise for obese dogs and does not put undue stress on their joints.
- Controlled exercise helps to maintain muscle health and reduce inflammation.
- Aerobic exercise helps to combat depression in the severely arthritic dog. Obviously, if your dog has arthritis pain, swimming should never be done without proper pain protocols done beforehand, and set up with DVM, prior to swim.
An All Around Good Time!!!
- Play periods and water sports are terrific for those who are genetically streamlined to innately need to do those things (water dogs, retrievers, spaniels, poodles, etc.) though all breeds can enjoy the water.
- Swimming is a great opportunity to work on controlled retrieving.
- Swimming is a wonderful way to strengthen the “human-animal bond”. This is what we work for as veterinarians and guidance folks every day. A controlled indoor swim environment is a great way to spend time with your dog without distractions. It is even great in groups as dogs can play together and gain water confidence from other dogs.