Hydrotherapy For Dogs: What Is It And Is It Worth The Hype?
If your dog is overweight or has suffered a torn ACL, hip dysplasia, or arthritis; you have more than likely been told to take them for hydrotherapy.
But what exactly does hydrotherapy entail and why has it become so popular? Simply put, hydrotherapy is the use of water for the treatment of illness or injury.
In water, your dog is effectively weightless, which means that they have the full range of motion while significantly reducing the stress on their joints. This type of therapy is also a natural anti-inflammatory due to its ability to reduce swelling in body tissues.
There are three primary types of hydrotherapy for dogs, all using different types of equipment and serving specific purposes.
Underwater treadmills are becoming more common in traditional veterinary practices, and most rehabilitation clinics offer them as well.
It consists of a treadmill enclosed in a water-tight tank. After your dog climbs a ramp into the tank, the tank is closed and fills with water to a level just above their legs.
As the treadmill starts to slowly move, your dog will begin to move. The water provides enough resistance to strengthen their joint muscles but takes away the stress of gravity, which makes this a great low-impact exercise.
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Think of this as a Jacuzzi, but for your dog. Whirlpools have multiple warm water jets that are effective for massaging injured muscles. The jets create a deep effect on injured joints, which gives much-needed relief to your pooch.
Additionally, a dog whirlpool is fitted with a hoist and a harness for lifting and lowering dogs in and out of the water.
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Dog pools are used for swimming, agility exercises, diving to fetch, strength exercises, and flexibility exercises. This type of hydrotherapy provides enough resistance to help the range of motion if your dog suffers from arthritis or degenerative joint issues.
It mainly targets certain parts of your dog’s body, such as their elbows, chest muscles, limbs, and shoulders.
Your dog will wear a floater or might be on a harness if they are not too fond of water, and will have a therapist by their side to monitor their movements.
Hydrotherapy for your furry friend is safe, beneficial, and reliable. And yes, it is worth the hype!
Besides relieving pain and rehabilitating joints, there are other benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs, such as:
Relief of pain, swelling, and stiffness
Alleviation of muscle spasms
Increased range of motion
Promote blood circulation
Faster recovery from injuries
A few weeks of hydrotherapy may be all that your dog needs to get in tip-top shape, or you may decide that it can help your dog for the rest of their life. Either way, your dog will definitely feel better when you boost their health and wellbeing with hydrotherapy.
Always remember that this type of therapy must be handled by professionals and dog therapists who have adequate training in dog injuries and pain relief treatments.
Do you suspect your dog has arthritis? Read more about the symptoms and management options in 6 Signs Your Dog Has Arthritis