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91 million Americans enjoy open water swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans every year. Swimming is one of the best all-round forms of exercise that you can do – it’s good for building muscle tone and strength, as well as being a great form of cardio. Swimming is gentle on the joints and bones, but it’s still an effective form of exercise, especially if you want to boost your fitness levels. It’s also very good for many types of dogs, and there are plenty of places where you can enjoy some open water swimming in New York. You can get fit with your canine companion, and enjoy being outside in nature at the same time.

Can your dog swim?

Before you dive in with your pooch, it is important to consider that not all dog breeds are suitable for swimming. Some breeds you will have trouble keeping out of the water – they have been bred to swim, and come with thick double coats and even webbed paws. The Labrador Retriever is a good example of this. The Water Spaniel, the English Setter, the Barbet, the Newfoundland and the Otterhound are all great water lovers too.

But the flat-faced breeds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese, Boxers, Dachshunds, and Basset Hounds are just not built to be swimmers. Their facial structure and anatomy means that they are not safe in the water, and you definitely shouldn’t take them open water swimming. If you’re in any doubt, check with your vet first.

Getting into a routine

When you first take your dog swimming, you should only go in the water for a very short period of time. This will get them (and you) accustomed to being in the water. You should consider that for your dog, a minute of swimming uses the same amount of energy as walking them for a mile. They will get tired quickly. Every time you go swimming though, increase the amount of time that you are in the water.

Making exercise a habit will be easier if you build up gradually. Set realistic goals, and you will be able to get fitter together. Make sure that you always consider the temperature of the water when you are swimming with your dog, and always dry them thoroughly when you get out.

Places to swim in New York

There are plenty of amazing places where you can go open water swimming in New York.  Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, near Coney Island, is really popular with outdoor swimmers. There, you will find both amateur swimmers and hardcore triathletes. Wolfe’s Pond, Midland Beach on Staten Island is another good place to go swimming with your dog. Rockaway Beach in Queens is also a good place for open water swimming. Make sure that you check the weather forecast before you go though, and stick close to the shore when you’re with your dog.

Many breeds of dog will thoroughly enjoy open water swimming, and it’s a great way that you can get fit together. There are lots of places in New York where you can swim with your dog and enjoy being outdoors in nature.

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