Every year, an estimated 10,000 dogs drown in the United States. Most of these tragedies occurred when dogs found their way into a pool, but couldn’t get out. Just like people, once an animal is in the water, they quickly tire splashing about. So, it is crucial they learn how to stay afloat or get out of the water.
Many places around the country teach dogs to swim, and there are benefits besides safety. Swimming can be a safe aerobic exercise for dogs with arthritis, those recovering from surgery, or dogs that are overweight. In these situations, water takes pressure off the joints while allowing them to burn calories.
Actually, there’s an easy way to tell if swimming is one of your dog’s inborn skills. A pup that only his front legs to paddle and brings his paws clear out of the water, slapping at it, needs some help learning to swim. With a little support from you under his belly.