As your dog ages, daily exercise can be a bit more challenging. Older dogs often have a slowing metabolism, lower energy levels and aging joints; therefore many of the daily activities that once kept him fit and trim are now causing him aches and pains. I’ve discovered this first hand, as Tatum was diagnosed with severe arthritis in her right elbow at 10 years old. But older dogs still need their exercise, especially my energetic girl! That’s where lakes, rivers, pools and ponds come into play. 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, as this activity is non-weight bearing. 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.
Many cities have facilities available for pets to paddle. Tatum & I recently checked out a local Pet Rehab facility offering therapy and wading pools, which is a great way to ease your dog into the indoor pool scene. Doggie daycare centers often have pools available for free swim and one-on-one sessions.
Overall, swimming is an excellent all-around exercise, increasing your dog’s heart rate, blood flow, lung capacity, and muscle strength, not to mention calories burned. If you live near a lake or pond or have a pool, take the plunge with your pooch! Great entertainment and exercise for all!