When the dog days of summer approach, a refreshing frolic in a pond or pool is just the thing to put a smile on your furry friend's face. Pooches dash and dive into creeks or take swimming lessons in special doggie pools. Pets might even enjoy a game of fetch by the water's edge. Whether there's a heat wave or a snow storm, the Philadelphia area offers a few awesome locations to take that pup for a swim.
703 N. Lloyd Ave.
Downingtown, PA 19335
Although it's not a designated dog park, this 30-acre unofficial pup park gets four paws up for its doggy area and large creek. It offers plenty of room to let your pooch loose for a cool swim in the creek and a little playtime with doggie friends. Just be sure to wear boots, as the creek's steep banks can get pretty muddy. A natural barrier of forsythia separates the dog park from the people play areas, and a trail that leads to old abandoned barns makes for a great unleashed walk. Bags for doggie droppings are available at the park entrance. Remember to watch for broken glass, debris and swift currents.
260 Gulph Creek Rd.
Harford Park in Wayne offers a roomy, designated off-leash park area just for dogs. While its creek is not as deep as Lloyd Park's, Harford Park supplies lots of swimming safer opportunities for smaller dogs. Even large dogs may dash down the embankment, fly into the creek and splash around to their hearts' content. Besides swimming, the park's green fields and bordering woods offer hours of exploration for your frisky friend.
Wagsworth Manor Pet Resort
27 Spring Mill Dr.
Malvern, PA 19355
Price: $35 30-minute individual swim time/$25 30-minute group swim time per dog
On cold or stormy days, finding an indoor swimming option may be your best bet. Wagsworth Pet Manor in Malvern offers an unmatched puppy pool. Call ahead to reserve swim time, sold in 30-minute increments, for individual pups or canine parties. It's pool is large enough for dogs to get in vigorous exercise, and its wide steps make exiting the pool safe and easy. The staff takes care of the entire swim process, including a pre-brush, post-rinse and towel dry, so owners get to relax and watch. Dog safety vests are available for swimming newbies.
Related: Top Pet-Friendly Resorts
Fit For A Dog
1802 Karakung Dr.
Ardmore, PA 19003
Price: $25 30 minutes/$10 additional dog/$55 30-minute non-rehab swim with staff
Fit For A Dog in Ardmore is a family run canine wellness center featuring an 8-by-16-foot indoor heated pool with private swim time and a separate underwater treadmill system. While the pool is smaller than Wagsworth's, owners are allowed to get in the water with their pets. Swim birthday parties are available, as well as towels, a rinse station and swim vests for doggie paddlers. Fit focuses on dog wellness, so take advantage of additional conditioning and wellness options here as well including gentle rehabilitation and weight loss plans.
Wag Whole Animal Gym
611 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Price: $75 initial evaluation with swim treadmill session/$35 30-minute swim/$297.50 10-visit pass
Man's best friend will lick your face in thanks after taking a swim at Philadelphia's first veterinary rehabilitation center. Wag Whole Animal Gym offers acupuncture, private gym time, and laser and ultrasound treatments. Best of all, however, is the facility's 30-minute aquatic sessions. Sessions feature an underwater treadmill and water jets where dogs may swim in varying water heights according to their comfort level. This controlled swim time is ideal for older canines who can't manage running around with the young pups anymore.
Related: Top Pet Day Care in Philadelphia
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey's "Cape May County Herald" for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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