Ok, not everyone will believe that their dog likes water. True some are more ‘into it’ than others, but since they all evolved from the wolf, and the wolf, can swim when it needs to for prey, for cleaning and just for fun, then it is passed on down through the genes.
WHAT FUNCTION DOES DOG SWIMMING SERVE?
In the wild, it is true that most dogs will swim for prey and to cool down, but they also swim for enjoyment. If you have ever taken a dog that ‘likes swimming’ to a water source, you will see them paddling around furiously often turning around in circles just because it feels good.
As an owner, besides immediately making your dog happy, or cooling them off on a very hot day (especially since they have only a few places on their body that they can sweat to get heat relief). It is also one of the biggest ways to get exercise in a short time.
Sure your dog might meet other dogs in the water and have some social time, but the amount of energy your dog will burn dog paddling is very high. You will notice a dog that swims a lot, will usually have a much better sleep at night, which will give you better sleep if they are an inside dog or a wanderer at night time.
WHAT DOGS ARE THE BEST SWIMMERS? The sporting dogs and retrievers are some of the best natural swimmers, because for hundreds of years they were selectively bred to retrieve birds from swampy areas.
The way you can tell if your dog has ‘evolved’ further than other dogs is to look for webbing between their toes. This helps a lot with providing better paddling of water in strong currents.
What about dog allergies?
This is a difficult one to define 100% because people and their dogs are strongly divided by it.
The two camps seem to be:
1 The salt water (of oceans and bays) is good for killing mites and generally cleaning the skin of a dog. Fresh water swimming also has an immediate attraction for owners wanting to avoid having to manually wash their dogs.
2 Some dogs prone to allergies can seem to have their skin flair up in spots or worse condition after swimming in salt water, if the salt is too harsh for their hyper sensitive skin. Also polluted water (which seems to be in most parts of the world) will easily affect a dog allergy sensitive dog.
If your dog swims in any kind of salt water this is also a strong chance that its natural oils on its fur or hair can be stripped away, exposing the dog to an easier attach of bacteria or fungal infections.
So it appears that healthy dogs, can get more healthy, and skin allergy dogs often have a more negative effect than if they had not entered the water.