Canine Hydrotherapy for Health
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Swimming by itself is beneficial for most dogs! It can improve their heart and circulatory health, as well as many other things. It is also a great aerobic exercise, providing very low impact to the joints and bones, causing no pain or damage overtime. And for a lot of dogs, it’s also just a lot of fun.
Hydrotherapy swimming is also beneficial for dogs with past or current injuries. Just like with people, the weightlessness type of feeling we have in water allows dogs and other animals to move in various ways that are impossible on land. The swimming range of movement helps young, adult and senior dogs with arthritis, inflammation and orthopedic discomfort.
Canine Hydrotherapy is Joint-Friendly
A National Library of Medicine’s study found that supervised, controlled swimming helped dogs with range of motion. “Hydrotherapy really helps with range of motion, meaning getting those joints to move through the range that they’re supposed to move in. Hydrotherapy allows dogs to exercise in a way that’s not going to hurt their joints; it gives them buoyancy, so it’s not putting a lot of pressure through their joints and it’s not causing more issues.”
Canine Hydrotherapy is practical for Overweight Dogs
Hydrotherapy is also a wonderful option to help overweight dogs lose those extra pounds. Remember that “weightlessness” feeling from earlier? This is why an overweight dog may take to swimming and hydrotherapy more than land based activities. More times than not, overweight dogs don’t exercise or move around a lot due to the extra weight they’re carrying—it’s just too hard for them to do it. So, when you place them in water, they’re buoyant, they’re not having to bear their full weight anymore, and they can move around much easier than they could on land.
But while the buoyancy can make bearing weight easier, it can also still be a substantial work out. Taking precautions and having your dog evaluated by a Vet prior to starting any new exercises is highly recommended. Making sure their heart and lungs are strong enough to participate in such activities will ensure your dog stays healthy and does not cause more harm than good. Taking your dogs age into consideration also plays a role and something to consider.
Canine Hydrotherapy Can Prevent Injuries
Hydrotherapy can be used as preventative medicine and a great option for dogs that are highly active and participate in strenuous activities. After all, the better shape an athletic dog is in, the less likely they are to sustain an injury. Controlled swimming is a way to condition athletic dogs to where they’re very unlikely to sustain an injury. It helps them to be in overall better shape, improve their balance and promote healthy muscle mass. All of these improvements are highly recommended for dogs who need to maintain overall health.
Canine Hydrotherapy Can Help Other Conditions
In addition to helping senior dogs, dogs with arthritis and joint problems, recovery from surgery or injury, weight issues, and conditioning and injury prevention with athlete dogs, there’s another demographic that may also find hydrotherapy beneficial as well: dogs with neurological issues.
Neurological dysfunctions can stem from a number of issues and is usually comprised of pain and weakness. Using an underwater treadmill may help a dog with these issues walk with less pain and the buoyancy helps them stand up more easily.
The underwater treadmill hydrotherapy in particular can be a great option for dogs who aren’t walking normally due to their neurological issue, as they often need gait retraining(re-teach how to walk properly) And because of the buoyancy and resistance, walking is a much easier thing to do in the water.
Types of Hydrotherapy
- Swimming Pool
Is Hydrotherapy for Dogs Safe?
Putting your dog in the water can sound a little dangerous, but in a professional setting, there may be some extra eyes to help you supervise your dog as they swim. At Dip’n Dogs, a canine hydrotherapist is always in the water with dogs at our pool facility. There’s always a hand on the dog while they’re swimming—and except for really, really strong swimmers—they’re all wearing a flotation device.
How long and how often you should take your dog to hydrotherapy really depends on the dog and the reasons why they are there, but typically we do not recommend beyond twice a week to avoid tiredness and soreness. Dogs need time to rest and to let their body recover.
Can You Do Hydrotherapy At Home?
Hydrotherapy may sound like a good practice for your dog and their needs, but what if it’s out of your budget or you’re not near a facility? Can you perform hydrotherapy at home? Well, it’s a little tricky.
It’s one thing if you have a swimming pool at home where you can get in the pool with your dog in a floatation device, but otherwise it’s difficult to achieve the benefits of hydrotherapy with say a kiddie pool, dog swimming pool, or bathtub, unless the dog is very small. It is also vital to remember that if your dog has a current or past injury, trying to do hydrotherapy in a pool outside of a certified professional can be risky and dangerous.
Moving Forward on Your Canine Hydrotherapy Journey
Hydrotherapy is an excellent option for dogs needing rehabilitation from an injury or surgery, as well as dogs with health issues from arthritis to most neurological dysfunctions. And while, like swimming, it’s good exercise for your dog, it may not be right for your dog or for you, depending on a number of factors from dogs who hate the water to budget.
If hydrotherapy isn’t an option, there are other helpful things you can try. Generally speaking, if your dog has mobility problems, rather than taking them out for a really long walk that might cause them overuse their strength or even be painful for them, a better plan would be to take them out for shorter but more frequent walks. says So maybe three, four walks over the course of the day and not one long strenuous walk. You can also try other types of physical therapy exercises with your dog at home to help with strengthening. It is encouraged even if you don’t have somebody in your area, to reach out to somebody who’s trained in canine rehabilitation and talk to them about what might be appropriate for their dog. Having at least some guidance from a professional can make a huge difference and save on putting your dog in any discomfort. However, if hydrotherapy is the right fit for you and your dog, check out the Association of Canine Water Therapy to find a location near you!
About Dip’ n Dogs Hydrotherapy – Orlando, FL
At Dip’n Dogs Hydrotherapy, we are certified and caring professionals devoted to restoring and enhancing the health and happiness of your beloved pup. Encompassing a pool, as well as a certified hydrotherapist, this can provide effective and long lasting results for your pet’s injury or illness. We are conveniently located in Winter Park, FL. Contact us today at (407) 227-0030. We look forward to hearing from you!