32 ways your dog benefits from swimming

Dog swimming in the pool
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Swimming may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to exercise for dogs. But there numerous ways that your dog benefits from swimming. 

Many dog breeds will thrive in the pool and even for the ones that do not automatically like the water they can be persuaded when they see how much fun you have splashing around. 

Swimming can be done year-round either at the beach or even one of the best swimming pools for dogs. Aside from all the fun your pup will certainly have in the water, swimming is packed with benefits. It improves physical fitness, can help with anxiety, and even support older dogs with joint problems just to name a few.

It is also important to consider water safety while your hound is splashing around. You want to ensure that you are always monitoring your dog, life jackets can also be used to keep your dog safe.

Now, let's dive into all the different ways your dog may benefit from swimming. 

32 ways your dog benefits from swimming

1. It's good cardio

Dog swimming lake

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How much exercise do dogs need? A lot. Luckily, just like for humans, a good swimming session can act as great cardio workout for your pup as well. If you're looking for fun ways to improve your dog's cardiovascular fitness, swimming could be just the thing.

2. It can be a great way to cool down

Dog on swim float

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Nothing feels better than taking a dip in the cool water on a hot day.  Even the best dog breeds for hot climates will appreciate going for a swim to help them stay cool in the heat.

3. Great way to bond

Dog sitting with owner next to the pool

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Splashing around with your pup in the water is a great way to spend time and bond. If you've wondered how to play with a dog, you'll be happy to know that a lot of the same techniques can be used in the water. Dogs will still love a game of fetch or tug of war with one of the best rope dog toys.

4. Low impact exercise

Dog swimming at the pool

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For older dogs, or dogs with joint problems swimming can offer them another form of exercise that is easier on their bodies. Joint pain in dogs can be eased while in the water as it does not put as much pressure on their bodies like walking or running can sometimes do. 

5. Strengthen muscles

Dog swimming with toy

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As you can imagine, keeping a doggie paddle going can take a lot of work from your dog. All of that constant movement is a great way to build and strengthen the muscles in your dogs body.

6. Weight management

Dog swimming water

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Along with serving up the best dog food, regular exercise is key to keeping your dog's weight at a healthy place. A regular swimming session can be helpful in keeping your dog feeling their best. 

7. Can be a stress buster

Dog plays with toy at beach

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Anxiety in dogs can be a real thing for some pups. As pet parents we always want our dogs to be happy and feeling good. Regular swimming can offer dogs the chance to move around and lower their stress levels. 

8. Mental stimulation

Dog plays with stick in water

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A good mental workout is just as important as a physical one for your pooch. While there are some great brain games for dogs that you can play, swimming offers them a sensory experience to keep their brain in shape. 

9.  Can be a natural pain reliever

Dog swimming underwater

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While cold water may be a shock to the system, warm water can alleviate some aches and pains your hound may have. Just like a nice warm bath feels great to us, humans the same can be said for dogs... just without the bath bombs and bubbles. 

10.  Preventative care

Dog jumping in lake

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The way we take care of our pups now can affect how well they age. Along with feeding them the best puppy food, swimming can offer them regular exercise that can support joint health as they get older and can help prevent muscle loss. 

11. Helps dogs to stay active year-round 

Dog sitting in the pool

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Whether you live in a warmer or colder climate, swimming can generally be done no matter what the weather. With beaches, pools, or indoor pools there are different options to ensure your pup gets his swim in. 

12. Can aid with hip dysplasia 

Dog playing with children in water

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Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that typically affects larger breeds. Hip dysplasia in dogs can be very painful for you pooch. The use of hydrotherapy is often used to alleviate pain and relieve some of the stress on their joints according to the West Chester Veterinary Medical Center.

13. Burn off excess energy


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Dogs are made for moving, especially if they are one of the high energy dog breeds. Dogs need plenty of opportunities for physical activities in their day and swimming is the perfect place to let them burn off extra energy. 

14. Can keep their coats clean


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Depending on where you take your hound for a dip, the water can help clean off their coats from any debris caught there. However, if your pooch is going to be in a pool or other water with chemicals it is best to bathe them or rinse after to keep their skin from irritated. 

15. Swimming is just plain fun

Dog swimming in lake with owner

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Playing in the pool or splashing at the beach is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and your dog will feel it too. Especially if it can include some of the best dog toys to play with and then some of the best dog treats, as they will certainly have worked up an appetite after all that swimming around. 

16. Improves overall health

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If you're looking for an activity that is going to be good for your dog's entire body, swimming is the one to consider. From the physical benefits to the mental stimulation it offers your pup, you cannot go wrong with a swimming session.

17. Good for balance training

Dog swimming in the pool

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The doggie paddle is not just cute, but it takes a ton of core work from your dog to be able to stay afloat. This can help your pup with its balance and strength. 

18.  Increases stamina

Dog sitting near the pool

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Swimming can be a great way if you are working on building up your dog's stamina levels. Whether it's just to improve their overall health or if you're working up to take them on one of the best dog walks in the US, having good stamina levels is important for your pups health. 

19. Can be used for rehabbing injuries

dog swimming in the lake

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If your hound has undergone a surgery or suffered from an injury, swimming can be an easy exercise for them do post-op. 

20. Improve flexibility

Dog swimming in the pool

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Swimming offers your dog the opportunity to move around in way they may not get to do on land. This can help improve flexibility and coordination. 

21. More opportunities to socialize 

Dogs swimming together at the beach

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Hanging out at the beach or the pool is a great way for your pup to interact with other dogs. Some of the best dog-friendly beaches can offer your pup the chance to build socialization skills and make new friends.

22. Can aid in weight loss

Dog swimming with owner

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Staying at a healthy weight is important for a dog's overall health. If your dog is overweight, working more exercise into their daily life is a great way to help them shed some pounds and swimming is an excellent choice to burn extra calories.

23. Learn a survival skill 

Dog swimming in river

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But aren't dogs natural born swimmers? Not necessarily, there are several breeds that can't swim but with the plenty of opportunities and support from either their pet parents or professional lessons, they can learn a crucial survival skill. 

24.  Can improve sleep

Dog taking a nap at the beach

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If you are in the trenches of sleepless nights and you are wondering how to get a puppy to sleep through the night, swimming can be the answer. Puppies may sleep better when they have all their physical needs met during the day. This includes having the chance to burn off all their puppy energy.

25. Builds confidence

Dog sitting on the beach

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Some pups may feel nervous or scared around the water, helping them feel comfortable and learn to swim can help build their confidence. You will feel better too knowing that your pup is happy and safe in the water.

26. Improve circulation

Dog running into the water

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Moving around in the water will certainly get the heart pumping and just like in humans, this can enhance circulation. This can be particularly true if the water is kept at a warm temperature, as it can help the blood to flow easier, according to Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.

27. A complete body workout

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There is not one part of your dog's body that is not working while they are swimming. This is a complete body workout that strengthens your pup's muscles, builds stamina, and helps support good joint health. 

28. Alternative to dog walks

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Does your dog seem bored with the same old walk every day? You may want to look for ways to build more fun into your dog's routine, and swimming is a great alternative to shake things up. 

29. Help with arthritis  

Dog playing with toys in the water

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Arthritis can be a common health issue for older dogs. Arthritis in dogs can be managed with low-impact exercise such as swimming, along with many other options. We always recommend working with your vet to find the best treatment plan for your pup.

30. Improve mobility

Dog swimming

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A study done by the Journal of Veterinary Science found that regular swimming sessions helped to improve the mobility range of dogs that were suffering from joint problems. These included arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other joint issues. 

31. Increases metabolism

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Adding regular exercise can help increase a dog's metabolism. This can be helpful if you are trying to help your hound with weight loss. But be careful, you will definitely need to stock up on the best dry dog food to keep up with their new appetite. 

32. An off-leash activity

Dog swimming with toy at the beach

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While most dogs love long walks, they will love the freedom of being off-leash even more. Swimming is a great activity for them to move around freely, although you should still be supervising your pup while they swim around, or even better jump in with them! 

Alexis De Leaver
Digital & Syndication Staff Writer

Alexis has been an editorial writer for over ten years. While her most of her writing has been focused on all things lifestyle content, she has a passion for animals that she hopes shines though in her pieces.