Canine Arthritis: Hydrotherapy Treatment
As mentioned in previous blogs, the usage of water for healing a variety of ailments, illnesses and diseases are undeniable. From salt baths to hot springs, the effect warm water has on the physical AND mental system are amazing. When it comes to hydrotherapy and treating arthritis, there are two different options: (1) underwater treadmill and (2) deep-end immersion swimming. The underwater treadmill is essentially resistance walking on a moving belt underneath the water, whereas deep-end immersion swimming is a dog swimming freely, moving their legs either in place with resistance or across the pool with the assistance of a hydrotherapist.
Why to choose free-swimming versus underwater treadmill
Free swimming allows a dog to move freely and fully across the water without the restricted motion of a land-based exercise, similar to the underwater treadmill. Free swimming keeps your dog completely buoyant, putting no impact on their limbs and therefor allowing them to stretch out and move their stiff muscles with ease. Even though the underwater treadmill provides the warm water for healing, the water is not high enough to support a dog fully, still requiring a dog to put pressure on their joints and limbs. With land-based exercises, each step creates a shock wave that travels up a dog’s limbs, tendons, joints and bones which over time weakens and damages them. On the other hand, free swimming provides increased resistance, which can make a dog work harder, but also does not require muscles to be stressed.
How does Hydrotherapy help Arthritis in Dogs?
Along with hydrotherapy, a pool is typically set at a temperature between 90-95 degrees. This temperature is safe for dogs and gives their muscles lubrication, allowing their joints and muscles to relax and decrease swelling. While providing oxygen to their cells, the warm water also builds muscle mass the fastest and safest way possible, strengthening the affected areas in their joints from arthritis. Dogs can start to lose their muscle mass within 3 DAYS of being immobile! It is vital that you keep your dog active despite his/her’s arthritis, which makes hydrotherapy your best and smartest option for them.
Warm water is overall healing and therapeutic for dogs suffering from painful arthritis. Being in the pool will increase their circulation and hydration levels, causing needed blood and oxygen to flow to affected areas decreasing the pain and stiffness, while simultaneously flushing fluid and toxins away. It is important to keep in mind that hydrotherapy is not simply letting your dog swim in a pool, lake or ocean, and the owner should never attempt to perform therapy on their dog without consulting a professional. A hydrotherapist is educated to locate areas of concern on your dog and will work with them to target specific needs while keeping them safe/supported.
Other things to take into consideration when wanting to swim your dog yourself are skin conditions, ear infections, UTI’s, open wounds, water intake and fatigue. A certified hydrotherapist is trained to monitor and recognize various signs and symptoms of your dog in the water, so for an owner to try and engage in their own “therapy” is highly discouraged and can be detrimental to a dog’s health. Dogs should never be unattended in any water activity and it is not safe to assume that your dog knows how to swim. It is actually NOT instinctual for a dog to know how to swim and you can put your dog at risk of drowning if they are not supervised and handled properly.
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 state-of-the-art, indoor 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 Orlando FL near the College Park area. Contact us today at (407) 227-0030. Our Services include the following: Indoor Hydrotherapy and In-Home Mobile Therapy for dogs. We look forward to hearing from you!