Benefits of swimming for dogs

By October 23, 2013 Fitness 10 Comments

How many of you have dogs that LOVE the water? Kate the Kelpie loves to swim any chance she gets! Swimming is a healthy, low impact and fun activity for you and your dog! With summer right round the corner, take a look at all the benefits of swimming for your dog and ready them for a splash adventure!

1. Cardio vascular benefits

Swimming helps your dog build their cardio vascular fitness through aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise essentially means doing an activity that requires more oxygen intake than normal and as a result strengthens the heart and lungs. A healthy heart and lung capacity means your dog can play, run and swim for longer with less risk of injury!

2. Low impact all over body workout

Swimming provides an all over body workout for your dog as nearly every muscle is used. The more your dog swims, the more muscle tone and strength they will build! Pet obesity is a growing issue, swimming helps shed that ‘puppy fat’ and get your dog lean and slim ready for any adventure to come!

It is also a low impact activity. When submerged the water takes most of the dogs weight, this provides a weightless experience which takes away impact to the skeletal system when exercising. For older dogs or dogs with arthritis or sore stiff muscles this is an ideal setting in which to strengthen muscles and exercise in a gentle setting.

3. Keep cool in summer

Sounds obvious but Australia has some of the hottest summer temperatures found anywhere! When the temp outside gets a bit too hot for long walks, hit the beach, river or lake instead and go for a swim to cool off. You both get some exercise and as an added bonus – cool off too!

4. Sleep better

Have you noticed how well you sleep after a good swim? Swimming involves moving through water which is denser than air. For your dog to swim a distance they are working every muscle against the water, this means every doggie paddle becomes a resistance exercise. So makes sense your dog is tired after a good swim session!

A well exercised dog is content and more than likely looking forward to the moment they get to flop at home and sleep!

5. It’s fun!

Swimming is fun and it is an activity you can do together! Take a tennis ball down to the water and watch the games with your dog unfurl! A sea change (or lake or river!) really can do wonders for your dog. Changing up their routine, environment and exercises keeps them challenged and mentally stimulated and as a result you will have a very happy dog on your hands!

There you have it! Just some of the benefits for your dog swimming. Swimming truly is a fantastic activity to keep your dog fit and healthy and can round out your dog’s wellbeing nicely, ensuring you have a happy and healthy dog!


  • Avatar SlimDoggy says:

    Swimming is great for you and your dog. Best if you can do it together!

    We also tell people that by simply walking through water, your dog can get a decent strength workout as well.

    Funny to hear you say “with summer right around the corner”, when here in the US it is quite the opposite!

    • Totally agree! Love getting down to the beach and having a morning swim with Kate! That’s a great tip for added resistance to your workout – for both people and pups – wade through water! Summer is supposed to be coming, but we had a cold snap the past two weeks here so we are still waiting! Hurry up summer!

  • Avatar Nailah Bone says:

    I wish Nailah was a swimmer 🙁 She will only swim if I am in with her and with all the gators in our area that is out of the question, for either of us really.

    • It’s a bit hard getting swim practise in with predators in the water! We have the same situation in the top end here in Australia with the crocs. Definitely advised to stick to your backyard pools rather than chance it! Much better to be safe 🙂

  • Avatar GizmoGeodog says:

    I wish I could get Gizmo to really enjoy the water, but so far not a whole lot of luck…He’s been better since I got him his life jacket, but I can tell he’s never gonna be a Lab

    • Maybe one hot day Gizmo will just not be able to stay away from the water, until then keep us posted on your progress. Love to hear how he goes 🙂 Kate used to not like the water so unsure if this was best practise but we kept bringing her out with us into the deeper water and letting her ‘swim’ while still supporting her until she got over her nervousness. Now we can’t keep her away from the water! Let us know if Gizmo starts to like the water more!

  • Avatar BoingyDog says:

    This is a great post! Kayo is a BIG swimmer. Today we walked around our local lake and she almost jumped in. If she sees water, she wants IN! Glad to know she’s gaining a lot from all the swimming she does!

    • Thanks BoingyDog! Swimming really is great exercise for dogs! Kate is the same as Kayo – if there is water she is in it! This applies to beach, river, dam and EVERY muddy puddle we come across haha!

  • Hi
    My name is KoKo and I am a fluffy very cute Maltese Shitzu. My mum calls me an “arm pit swimmer” as I love racing down the hot sand at Cottesloe beach, coming to a halt at the water’s edge then lowering my little hot body into the cool sea.

    Despite being a food fanatic even the tempt of a BBQ sausage will not get me to take that extra step that would make my body float.

    Hence the term “arm pit swimmer”!

    • Love your swim name ‘arm pit swimmer’ KoKo! I used to have a foster dog that would do the exact same thing! Maybe one day you might feel confident enough to take that next step and feel the wonderful weightlessness of floating in the water! Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

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