Hydrotherapy is a useful form of physical therapy that can alleviate the pressure created when walking or running. Humans have been using it for thousands of years to alleviate their symptoms, but more recently it has become a common occurrence in pet treatment too. So, what is it, and would your pup benefit from it?
What is Hydrotherapy for Dogs? Why does it work?
While most dogs love to swim, hydrotherapy is a little different than taking a dip in the pool or the lake. Instead of being a purely recreational activity, hydrotherapy is a designated time for you and your pet to work through some of the pain that can be caused by disease or old age. When a more focused approach is taken, it can lead to a wider range of motion and ease of painful symptoms.
Also read: How To Kayak With Your Dog: A Guide
Hydrotherapy is a great method of rehabilitation and management due to the buoyancy your dog has in the water. This reduces stress on the joints while still engaging the muscles. On land, this translates to relaxed joints and strong muscles, which means your pup will be able to be more agile and in less pain.
Should my dog do Hydrotherapy?
While safe swimming is always a great idea for you and your best friend, hydrotherapy isn’t necessary until your pup starts showing symptoms of pain or has been diagnosed*
Here are some common ailments that might indicate you and your pup should try hydrotherapy:
- Neurological problems
- Conditions like Cushing’s and diabetes can cause muscles to atrophy
- ACL and other bone/muscle injuries
- Post-surgical healing and recovery
- Weight loss
For dogs that have no ailments but are training for hunting or high physical activity, hydrotherapy is also a great option. But, like with any of the ailments listed above, it should not be the only form of therapy or training your pup does. Hydrotherapy is a great way to improve your dog’s health, but it can not be the only form of care they receive.
*Always consult with a veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of pain or difficulty with movement.
How to do Hydrotherapy for Dogs?
There are many options when it comes to the type of hydrotherapy. It’s possible to do some kind of hydrotherapy both on your own and at a facility. As always, talk to your vet about the best option for your dog, and if they recommend working with your pup individually or going with a professional.
At home, it may be simple to blow up a “kiddy pool” and guide your pup across it. Or, you may take them to a pool, lake, or the ocean and fit them with a life vest. Remember though, if they don’t want to go into the water, don’t force them. Too much stress or flailing may increase pain and risk.
It’s also a great option to ask your vet for hydrotherapy recommendations and find a professional in your area. This would provide higher-tech facilities, such as underwater treadmills, which can greatly increase the benefits of hydrotherapy.
Overview: Hydrotherapy for Dogs
Hydrotherapy is a great tool for pups looking for relief from pain and other ailments. It’s also a great strength builder, without the sometimes harmful weight of gravity. While it can not be the complete form of therapy or training for your best friend, it is a safe and easy way. Plus, talk about great bonding time!