When you think of building a pool in your back yard, you probably think about how nice it will be to be have your own private swimming space to beat the heat. However, pools are not just great for humans, they are also great dogs. Your backyard pool can provide your dog with a lot of benefits. You will just need to make sure you follow a few safety precautions to make sure you and your dog can both get the maximum use out of your pool.
Pools are the best rehabilitation therapy for dogs.
Every dog will suffer health problems during the course of his or her life. Teaching your dog how to swim can help alleviate the symptoms that come from certain injuries and help to soothe arthritis or stiff joints in dogs as they age. Hydrotherapy works best for dogs that:
- are older. Your dog will not have the energy to get the same amount of exercise as he did when he was younger. Swimming helps him to get the exercise he needs, while reducing stress on old, aching muscles. Your older dog will remain limber longer if swimming is a regular part of his exercise routine.
- have partial paralysis. It's difficult and sometimes impossible for dogs who suffer from strokes or who have spinal cord damage to regain the use of their legs. It is also challenging for dogs to learn how to be mobile without the full use of one or more legs. Swimming helps to restore coordination, but it also can help improve movement and reduce muscle atrophy in the affected area of the body. Sometimes, extensive hydrotherapy can restore at least partial movement over time.
- have broken a bone or sprained a muscle. In the pool, dogs don't have to worry about putting weight on the injured leg. Therefore, they can still work an injury without furthering the damage. They will also stay fit as they heal.
You should know that if you plan to use your personal pool for hydrotherapy, you should check with your vet to make sure it is safe for your dog to try swimming. Also, water for injuries is best when it is warm. You will need to keep your pool warmer than you are used to (around 86-90 degrees) in order for your dog to see maximum benefits.
Swimming lessons can help improve your dog's intelligence.
Science shows that every time you teach your dog a new skill, you alter their thinking patterns in a subtle way. They become better problem solvers and learn faster. As you teach your dog "new tricks", like swimming and listening to pool-specific training commands, your dog will become more aware around water. As he learns to swim with you, your bond will grow and he will become more responsive and excited around water in general.
Make your pool dog-ready by contacting a professional to make certain changes.
You should also be aware of chemical levels in the pool. Dogs are more sensitive to chlorine than humans, so it's better to keep chlorination at the lowest level possible for your type of pool if your dog will be using it. If you will be using your pool for your dog, you should talk with a pool contractor about the best ways to keep it sanitary while using low levels of chemicals. You may need to install a stronger filter or clean out your pool filter more often. If your pool is built with a plastic liner instead of tile or cement, you should also talk to your contractor about how to improve your pool to prevent your dog from poking holes in the lining with teeth or claws. If heating your pool to the correct temperature is also a problem, installing a pool thermostat can help to make sure the water is always canine-friendly.