How Does Hydrotherapy Work?
Hydrotherapy allows pets to exercise in a non-weight bearing environment. Helping to relieve pressure on joints and encourage movement while reducing their pain. During water therapy, not only is the pet more buoyant, the dog’s body weight is supported by the water. The water’s support reduces the amount stress on a dog’s body while increasing resistance. This combination helps a dog to easily exercise and rebuild their strength.
Underwater Treadmill Therapy Benefits
Some hydrotherapy sessions may utilize an underwater treadmill placed inside of a tank. Underwater treadmills allow a therapist to adjust the water height and better control a pet’s buoyancy and increase or decrease the amount of weight bearing.
The water’s resistance helps improve circulation, increase joint flexibility and range of motion, while also building muscle strength and endurance. Water levels can be adjusted to increase weight bearing as a dog heals. Treadmill exercises are used in gait training exercises and reteaching a dog how to walk after a spinal injury, IVDD or surgical recovery.
Whirlpools for Canine Water Therapy
Whirlpool hydrotherapy is beneficial for pets who are in post-operative recovery following a major surgery. Just like a jacuzzi for humans, a therapeutic whirlpool session is relaxing and great for pain relief in dogs. The warm water jets from the whirlpool work to massage a pet’s injured muscles to soothe and relieve the affected joint. Time in the whirlpool creates a deep effect on a dog’s muscles and joints relieving their aches and pains.
Therapeutic Pools for Dogs
Swim therapy is a key component in a dog’s hydrotherapy. Continuous movement in a pool works a dog’s entire body and helps improve muscle strength and stamina. Swimming is a great workout and since every muscle is involved dogs experience improved balance and coordination. Since swim therapy is gentle on the joints it is an ideal workout for arthritic dogs.
Most Common Conditions the Benefit from Hydrotherapy
- Hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia
- Cruciate ligament rupture
- Patella luxation
- IVDD or slipped disc
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Degenerative joint disease
- Mobility problems
- Geriatric or senior pets
- Obesity or pets on restricted exercise
How Often Should a Dog Have Hydrotherapy?
No two pets have the same treatment plan. How long and what type of therapy your pet needs will depend on several factors including: the pet’s age, type of injury or medical condition they’re looking to treat, the dog’s overall diagnosis and severity of their mobility loss, as well as their expected recovery time. Work with your pet’s vet and rehab therapist to determine the correct treatment plan based on your pet’s needs.
Hydrotherapy is a safe and reliable method of canine physiotherapy. A certified canine aquatic therapist will guide your pet through their entire session, ensuring their safety and customizing the session to help your dog heal and improve their overall well-being.