- Author: Carol Wirth
While most humans take off weight in the summer months, our dog puts it on. He’s a very large black Labrador retriever. He tends to stay inside when it’s hot out, but will slim down again in the fall when he is out doing what he loves – hunting.
Swimming is key for retrievers because they love to fetch ducks and geese for waterfowl hunters. Many train countless hours for that proud moment posing in front of a pile of ducks they retrieved.
Hunting or not, I am actually beginning to enjoy the darn dog now that he’s matured. I’d like for him to stick around for a while now that he’s out of puppyhood.
As with humans, a key ingredient for staying young at heart is continuing to do what you enjoy.
So when he’s not hunting, swimming should be next on the bucket list. But why put off what you can do today?
Dr. John Schoettle, owner of in Savannah, Georgia, has a special interest in orthopedic diseases and surgery for dogs. He told me that swimming is great exercise for dogs, especially during those hot summer months, so they don’t overheat.
“Swimming for dogs has the same benefits as it does for humans. It provides a weightless form of exercise, so it reduces stress on the joints while building muscle and burning calories. And they can do it longer than other exercise which is good for cardiovascular health,” Dr. Schoettle said.
“As dogs age, swimming becomes even more important as an exercise alternative because too much pounding when running can leave them sore or prone to injury,” Dr. Schoettle said. “The water helps support the dog’s body weight, so older dogs can work on where the work is needed, muscle tone and range of motion.”
…and doing what they love.
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