From the game to rehabilitation, from muscle strengthening to slimming. The many benefits of swimming don’t only affect us but also our four-legged friends. For dogs, water activities are a blessing. It’s no coincidence that in the last few months “swimming dogs” have multiplied in the city pools, offering courses and exercises to improve the mental and physical well-being of our dogs.
The activities that dogs and humans can perform in the water are virtually the same, ranging from recreational swimming to educational swimming for dogs, even swimming courses for the rehabilitation of the elderly. In fact, the exercises shorten the time of treatment: ten minutes of movement in water is equivalent to about 30 minutes of running outdoors. Without overlooking water aerobics, suitable for dogs of any age and size, it is probably the most recommended aerobic exercise for both growing puppies and older dogs, including those with bone and joint problems. But don’t worry about the safety of the dogs, there are appropriate flotation jackets and specialised personnel ready to help.
Improvement of muscle tone and elasticity, strength development, stretching of the muscles. Even thanks to swimming courses, you can improve the dog’s well-being and behaviour, building mutual understanding with the owner. Particularly useful for the rehabilitation of our friends, the water relieves the weight of gravity and allows joint motion with less effort.
While regarding obesity, exercising in water helps to remove fatty tissue and transforms excess energy into muscle mass. There are some activities that are not right for everyone: in fact, some breeds, such as Bulldogs and Basset hounds, are structurally unfit for swimming because of their broad chest and short legs. It is better not to subject them to too much exertion and stress, but instead let them have fun in the water with the simplest exercises with short durations.
In recent years, many centres have been equipped with covered and heated swimming pools that allow you to do water activities all year with your dog, with surfaces designed specifically for a gradual and secure entrance and spaces for washing and drying dogs. Especially popular are the summer outdoor swimming pools, a dream for many dog owners who cannot leave the city for vacation or do not have nearby beaches equipped for animal access.
There are even real water parks, with slides, showers and beds. Many associations were also created to promote sports for water-loving dogs.
And because the pools for dogs are becoming popular, it is normal that over time a new profession role has been created, that of “Swimming Technician and Assistant in Pool Activities“. Among other roles requested, dog lover educators, experienced instructors, bath attendants and hydrotherapy operators also stand out. Finally, it seems that the pool doors are opening even for our best friends.
And which popular activities do you like to do with your four-legged friends? Would you like to improve their aquatic performances?
Let us know what you think!