Canine Hydrotherapy




This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Mikkie Mills


Hydrotherapy Can Make A Big Splash In Your Dog’s Health

Dog owners will concur, most dogs love to play in the water. In fact, some dogs just can’t seem
to get enough of it. It can be more than just fun and games though. Therapists and veterinarians
use water in hydrotherapy. Water therapy is used for general fitness, rehabilitation after injury or
operation, and as a therapy for older dogs suffering from body deterioration due to aging. What
follows is a general overview of some of the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs and where you
can do it.

Hydrotherapy As General Fitness

Proper exercise is beneficial for your pet, improving their health as well as their quality of life.
The benefits of using hydrotherapy for dogs has many benefits for overall health. Water allows a
dog’s body to be buoyant, which reduces stress on joints while exercising. This therapy can help to improve balance, coordination, and energy levels.

Water will also provide resistance while a dog moves. As the doctors and nurses point out in the
article above, swimming or using an underwater treadmill can help with weight loss. Water
exercises also increase circulation, improve digestion, and can aid in lymph drainage. Another
thing to consider is that exercising in a pool will be safer than in the oceans, lakes, or rivers. If
the pool is indoors, it can be a great way to exercise your dog when it would be difficult for you
to go outside.

Hydrotherapy As Recovery Or Rehabilitation

Exercise after an injury or operation can aid in recovery. Unfortunately, a dog’s body weight may
cause damage and pain when exercising which could end up hindering that recovery. This is
when hydrotherapy can help. The buoyancy of water takes away a percentage of body weight depending upon the water’s depth.

When a dog exercises in water that is hip-deep, weight bearing is reduced to 62-percent. When
the water is elbow high, the reduction is 15-percent, and at the hock, it will be 9-percent. They
also note the importance of resistance as a dog moves its limbs through the water. This
resistance can aid in improving the range of motion in joints as well as build muscle strength.

Hydrotherapy For Older Dogs

Just as with their owners, as a dog ages, it will begin to suffer from disabilities and diseases.
Joints wear out, discs compress, and muscles lose strength. Exercising is crucial to help
recover from injury and also in preventing them. An exercise routine can also help to manage
current health problems that older dogs may suffer.

Hydrotherapy helps with a multitude of health problems in aging canines. Orthopedic problems such as osteoarthritis and elbow or hip dysplasia can be managed or even prevented with
hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy can also treat neurological issues like a disc or spinal compression
and diseases such as Degenerative Myelopathy.

Hydrotherapy At Home

If you have an in-ground pool (or are thinking of getting one for the family), establish an exercise
routine after a consultation with your veterinarian. Pools built into the ground are ideal, as the
dog will not have to struggle when getting in and out of it. Even old pools can be modified to
provide steps for older dogs. If you are thinking of getting a pool you can look at ideas for some
online by searching, “ideas for custom pools Naples”, for example. It’s a good idea to include
your city name to find local contractors and get a free consultation. The most important thing to
remember with a home pool, is to never leave your dog unattended, even if the dog has gone
through hydrotherapy and can swim.

Hydrotherapy Away From Home

For those who do not own a pool, some companies and veterinarians offer this therapy. Many of
these establishments will require a vet referral and will have staff that is trained to work with
your pet. The best of these organizations will develop a program that will help to keep your dog
happy and healthy throughout their lives.

Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.