hydrotherapy for dogs

Hydrotherapy For Dogs: What Are The Benefits

The first time I heard about hydrotherapy for dogs, I was amazed. I thought hydrotherapy is generally used for humans for various healing purposes. But now, hydrotherapy is often used for canines, gaining massive popularity among all pet owners. Hydrotherapy for dogs has many benefits, and it is a proven therapy for various breeds. In this article, I talked about all the aspects of hydrotherapy for canines, so please read the full article for more details. 

Hydrotherapy For Dogs

Hydrotherapy is a term in which a dog does therapeutic exercise in water. There are mainly three types of hydrotherapy sessions available for dogs, immersion in whirlpools, swimming in pools, and exercising on underwater treadmills. This unique therapy uses water buoyancy viscosity, resistance, and hydrostatic force to help a dog move the injured or damaged joints they are trying to recover. This therapy is effective because its weightless physical therapy, which helps remove the added pressure of gravity.

hydrotherapy for dogs
hydrotherapy for dogs

Benefits Of Hydrotherapy For Dogs 

There are several benefits of hydrotherapy or water therapy, especially for senior dogs. Senior dogs or aging dogs immensely suffer from arthritis and joint problems. They can take advantage of this canine hydrotherapy. Small puppies are also can take this therapy. Pups of any age recovering from severe injury or surgery as well as congenital disabilities, hip dysplasia, or even paralysis dogs can do this water therapy. 

Here is the list of other benefits from hydrotherapy

  • Increases core stability
  • Relief from pain, stiffness, and swelling.
  • Reduces edema 
  • It helps to remove inflammation
  • Improves mental ability
  • Pre and post-operative conditioning
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Promote blood circulation

Types Of Hydrotherapy For Dogs 

There are mainly three types of water therapy. Before choosing any of these, please consult your vet for safer advice.

Underwater Treadmill

Underwater Treadmill is the most commonly used therapy among the three. It is the best-suited therapy for those dogs who are suffering from arthritis and joint problems. Here you will see a treadmill covered in a chamber of glass or plastic. Once the dog enters the box, the door is closed, and water fills the chamber until the height of your dog’s legs. When the treadmill slowly starts to move, then the dog will begin to move. Water gives resistance force to strengthen the dog’s joint muscle and keeps away gravity pressure, which creates a fantastic low-impact exercise.

Whirlpool Therapy

Whirlpool therapy is for those dogs who are recovering from major surgery. This therapy is excellent for relieving pain. If I talk about its design, it’s like a bathtub or a jacuzzi but for dogs. A dog has to wear a harness for this therapy and slowly enter into the tub or pool. Here water level will depend on where the injury is located on the dog. After entering the pool or tub, the warm jet will start inside the pool to massage the dog’s injured muscles. The jets will create a substantial effect on joins, which provides relief to the dog.

Dog Pools

This therapy is also very beneficial for dogs suffering from arthritis and other joint problems. It mainly targets some specific body parts of the dog, including elbows, chest, muscles, shoulder, and limbs. Suppose I talk about its looks, then it simply a pool not as big as used for humans. The depth of the pool depends on how your therapist or vet wanting to keep it. Like whirlpool therapy, this therapy also requires a harness for dogs to keep them floating.

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Risk Factors Of Canine Hydrotherapy

Though hydrotherapy has some benefits, there are some risks too.

Some common risk factors I have mentioned below.

  • During the session, water can easily enter your dog’s ear and create painful ear infections.
  • Like humans, all dogs are not naturally born swimmers. Your therapist needs to monitor your dog closely during the therapy. Otherwise, your dog might drown.
  • Dogs with injury should follow the instructions of the vet before entering the pool.
  • Dogs who are having open wounds should not be doing this therapy.
  • If your dog panics in water, then he may get injured trying to get out of the water desperately.

How Long Canine Hydrotherapy Should Continue

Thinking about how long you should continue hydrotherapy for your dog? Then it entirely depends on your pet’s recovery. Water therapy is not a fast process, hydrotherapy can cure the injury, but here nerves regenerate very slowly. Therefore hydrotherapy may need to continue for a long time to get the ultimate result. So it’s vital to keep patience. It also depends on how long your vet is advising you to continue the therapy.

Which Dogs Can Hydrotherapy  

Every dog, from puppy to senior dog, those who are having problems such as injury, congenital disabilities, arthritis, joint pains, hip dysplasia can go for water therapy. The first thing you need to do is consult your vet and take a step.

How Much Hydrotherapy Will Cost

Hydrotherapy for dogs depends on the center to center. Maintaining cleanliness is the main factor here. Many dogs shed a lot; to keep that, pool owners have to pay big money. An average 30-minute pool-based therapy session can cost up to $30, and a treadmill hydrotherapy session can cost up to $50.

Where Do I Get Hydrotherapy For My Dogs

Finding a good hydrotherapist is not hard nowadays because it’s a growing trend among all pet owners. The first thing you need to do is to ask your vet if he knows any licensed hydrotherapist or not. Then you can check customer reviews of the therapist. If possible, take a session from the therapist and observe that the trainer is a good fit for your dog or not. Lastly, you can ask other pet owners who already took this therapy; they can help you out to find a good therapist in that location. 

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