Northern Virginia Animal Swim Center
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Frequently Asked Questions - Dogs
harley Q: My dog hates water, how can you get him to swim?
Most dogs do not really hate water. It is just that they have not been able to experience it in a controlled environment or have been given the opportunity to gain confidence in and around water. Once they have learned not to fear the water, they really enjoy the experience.

Q: How do you teach a dog to swim?
We don't have to teach the dog how to swim. Dogs, like all animals, have the natural ability to swim. What we must teach the dog is confidence in their ability to swim and to feel comfortable in the water.

Q: Do the owners get in the water with the dogs?
No. County health regulations and owner safety prohibit owners in the pool with their dog. The swimming is performed with the dog wearing a chest harness with a lead attached and is led around the pool for a specific time and distance. For some rehabilitative procedures, such as paralysis, or restricted limb movement Center staff may get in the water with the dog to provide assistance and apply specific manipulations.

Q: What is the temperature of the water?
The main pool is maintained around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The training and rehabilitation pool can be heated to over 90F when necessary for specific treatments.

Q: How many times does the dog need to swim?
This depends on the condition of the dog and why the dog is swimming. Changes in the dogs muscle tone, mental attitude and physical condition can be seen after as few as three sessions. Most programs require between 5 to 20 sessions for complete recovery. Again, this depends on the initial condition of the dog.

Q: How frequently does the dog need to swim?
The more frequently the dog can swim, the faster will be the results. For most programs we recommend that the dog swim every other day or at least three times a week for two to three weeks.

Q: How long is a session?
A session is typically up to 30 minutes. Within that 30 minutes the dog will swim to a customized program with periods of rest between entries. Additional time can be taken for an additional fee if appointment schedule permits.

Q: How many dogs can I swim in my session?
Up to three dogs may swim in the same session with additional initial training fees and a small charge for each additional dog. More than three dogs may require additional time, enquire for group rates or pool rental.

Q: Will there be other owners and their dogs in the pool (area) at the same time?
No. The session fee provides exclusive use of the pool by the owner and their dog(s) for 30 minutes.

Q: Can I swim my own dog?
Absolutely. Owner participation in the swimming program is encouraged by Center staff. After the initial swimming sessions to establish the dog's confidence, owners are shown how to swim the dog themselves. Center staff are on hand at all times to provide assistance and guidance in the swimming program.

Q: What are your hours?
Dogs may swim between 10 AM and 9 PM Tuesday through Friday, (closed Mondays)and  10 AM to 6 PM Saturdays and Sundays.

Q: How much does it cost?
Please see the fees and policies page.

Q: My dog has hip dysplasia and my vet recommended swimming. Will swimming cure my dog's hip dysplasia?
Swimming will not cure hip dysplasia. What swimming will do is provided a weightless form of exercise that promotes a full range of leg motion without painful side effects associated with regular ground exercise. Swimming builds up and maintains the muscles that help support the hip joint and help reduce deterioration of the joint. In many cases swimming can reduce the need for surgery.

Q: My dog is not injured. Can he swim just for the exercise?
Absolutely. Swimming is a great way to exercise and condition, and dogs love to swim. After initial training to familiarize the dog with the pool and location of the exit ramp, owners may swim their dogs without the lead so that the dog may retrieve or swim freely throughout the pool area.

Q: I have a show dog. Can he benefit from swimming?
Yes. Swimming is an excellent exercise to keep in condition, maintain body weight, tone up muscles, remove excess body fat and increase flexibility.

Q: Is the pool chlorinated?
Yes. The pool is chlorinated at 3 ppm, slightly higher than the typical human pool to provide extra sanitization for the higher bio burden and dirt load brought into the pool by the dogs. Chlorine at this level has not been known to be harmful to the dog or the dog's coat. Of the hundreds of dogs that swim at the Center we have never seen any adverse reaction to the chlorine. As a matter of practice we rinse the dog off with fresh water after the swim and the owners may shampoo their dogs if they desire.

Q: Do you have a Frequently Asked Questions for Horses page?
Yes, F.A.Q. for Horses can be found here.

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35469 Millville Road, Middleburg, VA 20117
Telephone: 540-687-6816   FAX: 540-687-8025

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