Swimming is such a great activity to help keep your Akita entertained and healthy. So, if you’re curious about introducing your Akita to water, or if your Akita doesn’t seem to like being in the water, you’re probably wondering what your next steps should be.
Akitas are great swimmers and generally love the water. But there are a few things you need to know about taking your Akita swimming, and a few important tips on how to help your Akita love swimming.
The health benefits of swimming for your Akita are amazing. But you truly do need to know what you’re doing to ensure they are comfortable and can reap the full benefits when they’re in the water.
How Akitas Swim And How Their Swimming Compares To Other Breeds
Akitas do have webbed feet, which helps them walk through snow and navigate other rough terrains for their work as hunting dogs. But this webbing certainly comes in handy when it comes swimming and paddlingin water as well.
Most Akitas do love to swim, even more than a lot of other dog breeds. But although Akitas love to swim, they typically aren’t the type of dog who will run and jump into every body of water they see, as some other breeds of dogs are known to do.
Why Akitas Aren’t The Best Swimmers
Since Akitas generally won’t automatically jump in the water without prompting, they may not get a lot of opportunities to swim, and therefore may start to shy away from water and never learn to swim properly.
Introducing Your Akita To Swimming
If your Akita is young chances are they will take naturally to water and have a great time swimming.
However, if your Akita is older and hasn’t had much of an opportunity to be around water, or if they’re a bit apprehensive about going into the water there are a few things you can do to get them to like swimming.
Get into the water yourself and have fun before calling your Akita over to you in a comforting voice. Once they get into the water make them feel as comfortable as possible. Hold them and pet them, and don’t make them do anything at first other than simply be in the water with you. Don’t splash your Akita if they’re at all uncomfortable and don’t let go of them if you’re in deep water. In fact, it’s probably best to introduce them to only shallow water until they get more comfortable. Your Akita will feel more in control if their paws can touch the ground and they can explore freely.
Fear Of Water = Fear Of Swimming
The occasional Akita — as with all humans and creatures — have a fear of water which can make it more difficult for them to learn how to swim, or even to gently explore the water.
Try the above-mentioned steps to introduce your Akita to the water and a love of swimming. But if after a few tries on a few different occasions they are still showing a major fear of the water don’t push them. You may just have to find activities outside of water for your Akita to enjoy.
Teaching Your Akita To Swim
Introduce your Akita to the water in the steps mentioned above and once they are comfortable you can let them paddle around freely or you can teach them some moves which can help them swim longer and become more at ease in the water.
Benefits Of Swimming For Akitas
In addition to being a fun activity you can share with your Akita, and an extremely useful tool to help your dog cool down in the heat, swimming can be extremely good for their health and well being.
Akitas are a breed that are prone to hip dysplasia, and almost all dogs will develop some joint pain and/or possible arthritis as they age. And water therapy is what a lot of veterinarians recommend to help keep their joints active and healthy, and to relieve some of their discomfort due to these joint issues.
Drawbacks Of Swimming For Akitas
As mentioned before, although Akitas generally do like to swim, they are just as happy not being in the water if it’s not something they’re already used to. And therefore, they may develop a fear of water and forcing them to swim or be in water can cause them to become frightened. If you attempt to force them into the water when they feel scared, they may stop trusting you, they may begin to show behavioral issues — even after they leave the water — and it’s possible they may attack out of fear.
Tips For Swimming With Your Akita
Although most Akitas will take quickly to the water there are some tips you should keep in mind before you take your Akita swimming for the first time:
Take Your Time. If you take the time to introduce your Akita to water you should be able to expand their love and knowledge of swimming in a short period of time.
Get A Lifejacket. Getting a lifejacket to fit your Akita is a great first step for helping them learn to paddle, and feel that they are always supported and safe in the water.
Find An Expert. There’s nothing wrong with simply playing with your Akita in the water and letting them jump around and have fun. But if you would truly like your Akita to do some proper swimming for their health and you’re having a tough time getting your Akita to do more than simply splash around you may be able to find specialized dog trainers in your area to give you some tips on how to introduce swimming to them. Your veterinarian will likely have some suggestions for you as well — especially if they know the areas of their pain and joint stiffness.
What To Keep In Mind When Your Akita Goes For A Swim
As mentioned before, safety is a top issue. Introduce your Akita to the water slowly and don’t force them to stay in the water if they don’t want to.
Never force your Akita to swim farther than they’re comfortable with or deeper than may be safe. And if your Akita is swimming for therapy on their joints keep in mind that pain will come with some limitations on how far and how often they can swim. Your veterinarian will help you come up with a schedule for therapeutic use and will let you know what signs to watch out for to tell you when to stop.
And maybe your Akita doesn’t like the feel of rocks or sand under their feet so they don’t enjoy swimming in lakes or oceans. But maybe they will like swimming in a pool. Try a few different options for swimming, if you can, to find a place you both enjoy going.
Can Akitas Swim In Chlorinated Pools?
As with humans and most other dogs, Akitas are fine to swim in chlorinated pools. You should ensure that the pool uses a normal level of chlorine safe for swimming, as over chlorination can cause some skin irritation and may bother your dog’s ears and eyes.
Where To Take Akita’s Swimming
If you have a private pool you can let your Akita swim in, you’re all set. But since most people don’t, luckily there are a few other options for places you can take them swimming:
Public Pools. Pools that aren’t overly chlorinated are a great option for a clean place to let your Akita swim all year long — some public pools have specific days they allow you to bring your dog in for a swim.
Lakes and Oceans. Lakes and oceans are also a great option — but you do need to watch for safety issues. Certain times of the year may not be suitable for swimming, some bodies of water can be heavily polluted, and there can be rocks or tides which could prove to be unsafe for you and your Akita.
Special Hot Tubs. Since so many veterinarians know and recommend the benefits of water therapy for dogs quite a few of their offices either have or know of specialized tubs your dog can go swimming in. These tubs are generally warmer to create a soothing bath like environment for your dog while allowing them to paddle around or move their limbs in a way which will alleviate their pain.
Other Activities Akita’s Enjoy
Akitas were bred to be faithful companions to help with year-round hunting so they’re happy to be with their owners no matter what they’re doing. They especially enjoy being outdoors, so take them for lots of walks and outdoor play. And they do have a special fondness for outdoor cold-weather activities like snowshoeing.