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Hydrotherapy for Dogs – Advisable or Not?

Underwater photo of golden labrador retriever puppy in outdoor swimming pool play with fun - jumping and diving deep down.
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Underwater photo of golden labrador retriever puppy in outdoor swimming pool play with fun – jumping and diving deep down.

I’ve recently discovered the wonderful scientific world of Hydrotherapy. Sounds like an extreme amount of water fun with many added benefits.

What Is Hydrotherapy?

Derived from the Greek word hydra, hydrotherapy means “water healing.”
It’s the use of water in therapeutics to help heal injuries and other joint-related ailments.

The water temperature of a hydrotherapy pool is warmer than an outside pool and cooler than a heated pool. The combination of special exercises and perfect water temperatures help stimulate muscles. It also drastically enhances performance.

You are familiar with Hydrotherapy for people. The special water-based exercises help patients who suffer from partial paralysis, arthritis or who are recovering from injuries to heal at an optimum and safe tempo.

The same method is used on dogs who suffer from the same kind of ailments that humans do. It works alongside the same principals as it does for humans. Regarded as one of the most beneficial post-injury methods used to help the healing process.

A dog Hydrotherapy station has a different size than a human Hydro station. The pool is smaller and the water is warm. Compared to a human Hydro station where water temperatures regulate between hot and cold. The station has an entry and exit ramp. Dog harnesses and electric hoists can also be found on some stations. The extra equipment assists dogs and makes the experience more comfortable.

Why Hydrotherapy for Dogs?

A lot of benefits come from taking your dog to Hydrotherapy. Here are some of the few reasons why you should consider it for your dog.

Rehabilitation From Injury

Having a pet is a huge responsibility, but keeping an eye on them 24/7 can become quite challenging. Dogs are furry energy balls that enjoy running around and chasing after moving objects. These general characteristics might have your dog end up in a sticky situation like a broken bone.

Broken legs can easily be patched up at the vet, but just like humans, it’s important that dogs get the much-needed rehabilitation after surgery. The more serious the operation, the more vital the aftercare is.

Hydrotherapy uses water’s natural properties. Like its resistance, buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure. Weight of the dog is supported by the water and this allows the dog to move around comfortably. Do special exercises without putting extra pressure on joints. It’s a vital part of after surgery care to do movements that don’t put too much strain on injured limbs.

Doing less strenuous exercises can speed up the healing process and be a less painful experience for your furry friend.

Another excellent benefit of Hydrotherapy for dogs is that it also strengthens muscles to help them return to their former state.

A Leonberger dog in a hydrotherapy station

For Dogs That Suffer From Joint Pains

Hydrotherapy stations look like small underwater treadmills. The warm water has a soothing effect on painful muscles making movement less uncomfortable.

By using the assistance of qualified therapists combined with the natural properties of water, dogs can go for regular walks. Even runs and jumps on the underwater treadmill without being held back by constant joint pain.

For Dogs With Partial Paralysis

Hydrotherapy is perfect for dogs that are partially paralyzed or that have lost limbs. Through the Hydrotherapy station dogs with these ailments can practice coordination and balance.

Hydrotherapy can’t completely heal paralysis. It is evident that the dog’s balance, stability, and coordination will improve drastically. Gaining muscle mass and strengthening muscles helps dogs with partial paralysis to move around more comfortably.

For Weight Loss

Just like their human companions, dogs like eating delicious treats and snacks. Overeating and not getting enough exercise can result in obesity. It’s important that your four-legged friend stays on a healthy weight average to maintain a salubrious lifestyle.

Hydrotherapy for dogs can help dogs lose weight by regular cardiovascular exercises. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still take your doggy out for walks in the park and other ball-throwing activities.

Your dog doesn’t need to be overweight for them to benefit from Hydrotherapy methods. Pool cardio is a great way to stay fit and in shape.

Tip: Pools are regulated at a specific temperature and the correct exercises are given to your dog’s specific needs. Don’t try Hydrotherapy at home in the bath, swimming pool, or lake as Hydrotherapists are highly qualified and have the best equipment at hand to help your dog towards a speedy recovery. When incorrectly approached it can cause severe and permanent damage.

An Australian Cattledog in a hydrotherapy station

Is Hydrotherapy Advisable Or Not?

Along with the above-mentioned benefits, regular visits to the hydrotherapist can improve a dog’s blood circulation which gives dog fur a shiny and healthier look. As well as improve their flexibility, endurance, stamina, and fitness.

Hydrotherapy is recommended, especially for owners who have dogs with partial paralysis, joint pains and that is recovering from a serious surgery due to injury.

Getting assistance from qualified and experienced dog Hydrotherapists can support owners. Advise from therapists will help owners also cope with their dog’s aftercare and give them the support needed to manage their dog’s ailments.

Hydrotherapy is a common practice amongst humans, (and horses) it can definitely be used amongst our furry friends too. Ensuring a happy and healthy lifestyle.

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