As we all think about getting into our swimsuits this summer, perhaps the question on our minds is- oops- how can I lose a little weight? In addition to saying no to that next ice cream cone, swimming is often the answer for many people when they think about how to lose a few extra pounds. Guess what? For dogs, it is often the same (minus the ice cream!)
When Dianne brought her chocolate Labrador Retriever, Molly, in to see Dr. Atton, she was 114 lbs and overweight. Dr. Atton told Dianne that Molly needed to lose weight, and he meant it! It was hard work and took a lot of perseverance, canned pumpkin, and string beans, but after a year Molly reached her goal weight. Her favorite exercise is power walking!
Weekly weigh-ins are an important part of any weight loss program, and Molly was no exception! During one of the many trips Dianne made with Molly to weigh in, she saw a beautiful yellow lab named Jake in the lobby with his owner. Dianne commented on how handsome he was, and after he and his owner left, she learned that he was looking for a new home. After many days of discussion, Dianne and her husband decided to adopt Jake.
Like Molly, Jake was overweight, but now Dianne was an expert in doggy weight loss! Jake was put on a diet, and it was discovered that his favorite exercise is swimming!
Why is swimming a good option for weight loss in dogs?
Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise and is good for dogs both young and old. “Swimming is potentially a year-round opportunity for exercise for dogs with joint or back problems”, says Dr. Atton of Felton Veterinary Hospital, “and, just like with humans, many muscle groups are utilized so it’s truly a whole-body exercise and many dogs absolutely love it!”
How can you tell if your dog needs to lose weight?
There are standards in veterinary care for how to tell if your pet is too thin, an ideal weight, or overweight. Your veterinarian can help you to determine your pet’s body condition and will likely use a chart similar to the one shown below.
It is important to have your veterinarian guide you in a weight loss plan that is tailored to your pet’s nutritional needs, along with a monitoring/ follow up program to monitor and maintain progress in a healthy way.
Where can I swim my dog in the Santa Cruz area?
There are a few areas that are well known, and some not so well known, where dogs are allowed to swim in Santa Cruz County. For fitness, a swimming pool is often preferred. For fun, here are some ideas!
Mitchell’s Cove State Beach – is the only beach in Santa Cruz where dogs are allowed off-leash, and only before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm.
It’s State Beach – Dogs are allowed on leash only and this is a commonly referred to “Dog” beach.
Hidden Beach- Aptos
Beer Can Beach- Aptos
Antonelli Pond – Delaware
Want more ideas for where to take your dog in Santa Cruz County? Check out this great blog with lots of good info on on-leash and off-leash fun with your dog.