Washington DC has some capital swimming for dogs of all types! From aqua rehab to seaside beaches, the DC metro area is a haven for dog owners who like to take their pups for a swim.
Swimming is a great exercise that delivers a lot of benefits for seemingly little effort. The cardio is great for your dog’s heart and lungs, while the resistance of the water helps develop muscular strength. And if your pet is elderly or has mobility issues, the buoyancy of the water makes swimming easy on the joints.
Convinced? Here are five places to take your dog swimming near DC:
See pool for specific hours
Public pools are normally pet-free, but the DC Department of Parks and Recreation breaks its own rule for one special day each summer. At the end of the season, before pools close for fall and winter, dogs are invited to enjoy the water and splash to their heart’s content.
Doggie Day Swim is limited to three locations:
- Upshur Pool: 4300 Arkansas Avenue NW
- Randall Pool: 25 I Street SW
- Francis Pool: 2535 N Street NW
Admission is free, but make sure you bring your dog’s original DC Department of Health-issued dog license. You should also plan to get there early; pool capacity maxes out at 75 (Upshur Pool and Randal Pool) or 150 (Francis Pool) dogs. The dates aren’t necessarily consistent from year to year, so keep checking the department website for more information as the season progresses. You may even have the opportunity to reserve your dog a spot!
2. Aquatic Paws
2830 B Fallfax Drive, Falls Church, VA
By appointment only
Aquatic Paws provides one-on-one aqua therapy and exercise sessions for your pet. You can choose between a short underwater treadmill session or open pool access. Each provides heated water and comfortable jets to help your pet’s muscles. Sessions are typically one-on-one to give your pet maximum attention, but owners of multiple dogs are of course allowed to bring their complete pack.
They also open themselves up to pool parties, so give them a call if you’re the type to make your dog’s birthday or adoption day extra special.
7221 Pyle Road, Bethesda, MD
By appointment only
If you want a heartwarming story to go along with your canine hydrotherapy, Gunny’s has you covered. Gunny—full name Ganimedes—is a chocolate Labrador Retriever who was gifted to owner Laurie as a wedding present. To sum up the story, Gunny was bitten by a tick and developed near-fatal health issues. Laurie asked her friends around the world to pray for him, and Gunny’s veterinarian made an off-hand comment about how those prayers created a beautiful rainbow.
Gunny survived the bite complications but developed muscular issues as he aged. Laurie was advised to take him to hydrotherapy but couldn’t find a location nearby that accepted dogs without vaccines, which didn’t work for Gunny due to an autoimmune issue. So Laurie did what any dog parent with means would do: studied with a national hydrotherapy expert and built Gunny’s Rainbow in her own home.
Laurie eventually became certified and quit her job as a lawyer to run Gunny’s Rainbow full time. She provides private swim and reiki sessions to help dogs, especially geriatric or chronically ill ones, overcome mobility issues and recover from surgery.
12948 Travilah Road, Potomac, MD
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
With five pools heated to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, K9 Aquatic Center knows what it’s doing. The business puts your pet’s complete health and safety first. The pools are sanitized with a state-of-the-art UV system, and the filters are changed weekly. The water is only four feet deep, giving your pet room to swim while reducing the risk of accidents. K9 offers regular swim sessions, pool parties, and special pricing on certain days.
11415 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls, VA
Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Don’t you love when you can have all your needs satisfied by one business? Seneca Hill seems to operate on that idea, providing veterinary, grooming, daycare, rehab, and many other services in a single location. It’s the perfect place for dogs in need of some hydrotherapy.
The pool, which is seven feet wide, 30 feet long, and four feet deep, is heated to 80 degrees for comfort and increased benefits. Instructors get into the water with your dog, monitoring everyone’s safety. The pool is cleaned with bromine rather than chlorine, which is easier on the skin, coat, and eyes.
Athletic dogs can take advantage of underwater jets that create a current to swim against, increasing resistance and maximizing benefits. If your dog attends for hydrotherapy, Seneca Hill will work with your veterinarian to ensure the best recovery plan possible. Your pet will also get blow-dried after swimming, which adds a little spa-treatment touch (and means you won’t have to worry about your car getting soaked).
Because the DC area encompasses multiple states plus one district, park rules may vary widely. Make sure you’re familiar with the regulations of your destination before taking your dog out. Generally, dog parks and beaches request that all pets are fully vaccinated and parasite-free. Supplies aren’t always guaranteed, and it’s a good idea to bring some poop bags and water. Also, make sure you know how to keep your dog safe in the heat.
Now don’t worry, we understand that there may be times when you need a little help caring for your dog. Rover is here for you with qualified dog walkers in the DC area.