Paddle Paw Power
Some friends of ours have a mother who grew up in the 1950s. As a typical teen of that era, she spent a great deal of time on roller skates. When she was in her 60’s, her granddaughter brought home a pair of roller blades. In no time at all, Granny laced them up and was soon out-skating most of the kids on the block.
Granny was active her entire life. She skated, she waterskied, she biked. As she aged, however, her mobility decreased, and the aches and infirmities of old age slowed her down.
Then she discovered her community pool.
Several times a week, Granny heads to the pool and spends a half hour or so paddling lazy breaststrokes. She joins her girlfriends for games of pool volleyball or grabs her noodles for pool yoga. This exercise has lessened her joint pain, helped her keep her weight in check, and even lowered her blood pressure.
So, why not your pooch?
Taking to the water is a great low-impact exercise for any animal – human or canine. While just about any dog enjoys a good romp, a swim can provide the same release and exercise without the worry of injury, and it’s especially helpful for larger breed dogs.
Much like with Granny, just a minute in the water can improve your dog’s circulation, promote heart and lung health, build muscle strength, and decrease inflammation. Dogs are genetically predisposed to have certain traits, like chasing or retrieving or stalking, and swimming provides much of the release that other outside activities provide.
Several of our products help also. Our CBD Oil helps to reduce your dog’s blood pressure and is also good for the inflammation that comes with old age. Our Chicken & Sweet Potato treats are tasty and delicious, and contain glucosamine. Glucosamine is naturally found in cartilage, and our treats can help to rebuild that connective tissue.
Most of us know when our dog is happy. They need to play and interact. They need that mental stimulation.
Swimming gives dogs a taste of off-leash freedom to be dogs, and that’s great for their mental health.
One of our clients takes her pups to a spot between Charlottesville and Richmond. It’s called Paws to Swim, and they have a few pools. One is a smaller version of your typical indoor pool. They have another, even smaller pool that is sort of a dog-jacuzzi – perfect for a dog needing physical therapy. Outside, there’s a huge, long pool with a tall platform. It’s perfect for dogs that like to dock-dive or humans who want to teach their dogs to retrieve.
Our favorite is their walk-in pool.
Not every dog has the same reaction to the water. The walk-in pool never gets more than about 3 feet deep, and has ramps at either end. This is perfect for introducing dogs to the water or for coaxing an older dog into a swim.
You should know, however, that not every dog readily takes to the water.
With some breeds, it’s obvious. With a name like “Chesapeake Bay Retriever” or “Portuguese Water Spaniel” it should be pretty clear that your dog will enjoy a swim. Dogs with short limbs, like Dachshunds, don’t paddle so well. Stocky dogs, like English Bulldogs, have a weight distribution issue, and have trouble floating.
At Paws to Swim, our friend’s Rotty-Lab mix dives right in. Her Boxer-Staffordshire Terrier rescue? Not so much.
If you’re in doubt about your dog’s ability to swim (or your ability to get your dog out of the water in an emergency), invest in a doggy life jacket. It works just like a human life jacket.
Now, Jump In!
*Lake Picture of Fergie by Kristen Murray Photography