Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I bring?

  • Towels
  • Non-slip shoes
  • Wear clothes that can get a little wet
  • Your dog's favorite treat if food motivated
  • Rabies certificate

2. Should my dog eat before or after? 

Please do NOT feed your dog for at least 3 hours before your appointment. We recommend not feeding your dog for approximately one hour after swimming.

3. My dog seems to be stiff after his first swim. Why?

Just like people working out for the first time, some dogs develop aches after swimming.  Active dogs and “couch potatoes” use muscles that they rarely use and may experiences some lameness. Typically, any lameness will be noticeable after their first long nap or first full night’s sleep. Stiffness normally works itself out in one or two days. If it persists, contact your veterinarian. Typically after swimming the 3rd or 4th time, these aches will disappear. Your dog is becoming fit!

4. What is the water temperature?

Our pools are maintained at approximately 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit (F) depending on the season. 

5. My dog refuses to swim in a pool, lake or ocean. What is different with your facility?

Some dogs naturally are inclined to swim and some are not.  Dogs that lack the confidence or are leery to get wet need to be introduced to swimming in a comforting way. The "Training Pool" at our Rockville location has a gradual access ramp with solid walls on each side so the dog can enter the water with confidence and security. The warm pool temperatures help because the dog is not shocked by cold water on his paws. 

We have successfully introduced dogs who were so afraid of water that they ran from the sound of a running faucet.  Many of our best swimmers started out avoiding water. We highly recommend our Rockville location for reluctant swimmers. 

6. How long does my dog swim?

Swimming time varies from dog to dog. Often, the first visits will include only brief swimming time and practice getting in and out of the pool. This will build confidence and allow for greater progress during subsequent visits. The  average dog can only swim 5 or 10 minutes during their first visit. 

It is essential that rest periods be taken at intervals throughout your swim time to allow your dog to rest and catch their breath. Dogs new to the sport can often only swim 10 minutes until their stamina level is reached. 

For dogs recovering from an injury or illness, gentle progressive exercise is the key. Each visit will increase his stamina. Your 30-minute swim session is industry standard for the average dog. 

7. Can I swim in the pool with my dog?

We apologize, but insurance regulations forbid owners to swim in the pool with their dogs. If your dog needs assistance, a staff member will provide in-pool assistance.

8. Is there an advantage to swimming versus jogging on roads for exercise?

Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise. Tendons and joints absorb the shocks up the limbs from exercising on hard surfaces. This can cause damage especially to large breeds.

9. How soon should my dog swim after surgery?

Your Veterinarian is the best person to advise when your dog should start swimming after surgery.  Some recommend swimming as soon as sutures are removed; others may even place waterproof bandages to allow dogs to begin swimming a few days earlier. Three swim sessions in a week span is typically recommended after suture removal because of scar tissue formation, dropping down to a weekly or monthly session over time. We suggest a minimum of 6 weeks of swimming to maximize the benefit of most post-surgical dogs.

10. Swimming Pre-Surgery?

Dogs that are scheduled for surgery can benefit from swimming before their operation.  “Pre-Hab” is becoming more and more common and we have several clients getting ready for hip, knee or elbow surgery.  Swimming before surgery allows dogs to increase their fitness and be comfortable in the water before introducing the stress inherent to surgical procedures.   Of course, consult with your veterinarian to determine if Pre-Hab is physically possible and would not aggravate their condition.

11. My dog had a stroke and has some paralysis. Can he benefit from swimming?

While using a flotation device and being assisted, once they are in the water and not hampered by gravity, they will instinctively use those limbs to the best of their ability.