Most doggos love to be swimmin’ in any and all bodies of water. Paw parents are well rehearsed with the shaky spray of H20 that is to follow after a good doggo dip in the water. Water has special healing properties, for us and our four-legged friends. Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is quickly becoming popular in the animal world. If you’ve been hearing or seeing this buzz phrase around, keep reading to understand just how aquatic therapy may help your furry friend.
What is Water Therapy for Canines?
Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is a form of physical rehabilitation therapy that uses the water’s properties to assist dogs with recovery and exercise. The buoyancy, resistance, and viscosity of the water positively affect pain management and muscle and joint strength. With reductions in discomfort, distress, contact force and pressure, inflammation on the bones, muscles, and joints can be avoided. The temperature of the water may also affect various physiological systems within the body.
As history has reported, water healing and therapy has been a helpful tool in the world of holistic and natural medicine. With more than numerous treatment methods for us humans, recent studies and trials have shown that it may also be beneficial for your furry pups too. Hydrotherapy, water therapy, pool therapy, aquatic therapy are just some of the various names for this wellness and natural practice.
A licensed and certified hydrotherapist can administer hydrotherapy with your dog, using various equipment. A veterinarian may prescribe water therapy exercises for disabilities, fitness, injury recovery, or surgery rehabilitation for canines young and old.
What are the Types of Water Therapy for Dogs?
There are several hydrotherapy practices and uses for various areas of the canine body. The type of therapy that is selected will be suited for your dog’s specific needs. In most instances, your four-legged pooch will wear a harness to keep them safely afloat, above the water, and in the correct positions while they exercise. The therapist may use toys, balls, or other mentally stimulating objects in the pool to encourage your dog’s session, with verbal cues as they move too.
The water temperature is very important here! A good facility will have the temperature set to a comfortable warmth, so your doggo can find comfort and relaxation to their injured or sore muscles and joints during the session. Colder pool temperatures may be okay for athletic doggos.
1. Dog Pools
Dog hydrotherapy pools come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. The pool is typically small, yet roomy enough for pets and therapists. Some pools may be raised so the therapist can stand on the outside and help your doggo on the inside. Other water therapy pools may look similar to a human pool, with your therapist maybe joining your doggo for their therapy swim. A pool with a ramp may be preferred, especially if your dog is having joint or muscle concerns.
2. Underwater Treadmills
I’m sure you’ve seen this in videos on the internet. If not, imagine a treadmill, in a glass box, filled with water. Dogs can enter the box via ramp or be lowered into the pool to walk on this treadmill. The pool is not filled to the brim, it’s filled to the appropriate level to meet your dog’s needs, of course. Once your pup is inside, the therapist will help in assisting any limbs or muscles that may need some help to correct for proper range of motion.