Dog hydrotherapy is extremely useful for rehabilitation, improving balance, building muscle and increasing circulation. But, how does it work and why is it so beneficial for relieving pain and improving the overall health of a dog?
To help you understand its benefits, Benchmark Kennels have put together this guide on what dog hydrotherapy is, what it can achieve and why it is becoming so popular.
What Is Dog Hydrotherapy?
Dog hydrotherapy is a form of physiotherapy which uses water resistance to build muscle, relieve pain and rehabilitate injuries. Hydrotherapy works for various conditions including orthopaedic, neurological and soft tissue injuries.
Walking on land when injured can often be strenuous for injured dogs. Hydrotherapy is a low-impact exercise that uses water at a temperature of around 30°C to make the process as comfortable as possible. Exercising in water has the added benefit of resistance, strengthening and conditioning muscles without placing too much stress on the joints.
Types of Dog Hydrotherapy
There are two main types of dog hydrotherapy including both hydrotherapy pools and treadmills. Let’s take a look at each method and what it is used for.
Dog Hydrotherapy Pool
A dog hydrotherapy pool is a great way to build your dog’s confidence in and around water while improving cardiovascular health and arthritis. Swimming takes the weight off your dog’s limbs and allows them to move freely without any pressure on the joints.
If you think that a dog hydrotherapy pool is the best choice for your canine, you can book a session at your local dog-friendly swimming pool. If your dog is not accustomed to swimming, they will begin wearing a float or dog harness.
Dog Hydrotherapy Treadmill
A dog hydrotherapy treadmill is a treadmill encased in a plastic or glass chamber with water just above the dog’s legs. Often, a dog hydrotherapy treadmill is used for patients with osteoarthritis or those recovering from surgery. However, it is also used as a starting point if your dog is not too fond of water as they can be slowly introduced to it.
With the hydrotherapy treadmill, most dogs begin with around 1-3 exercise sets lasting approximately 2-3 minutes each. However, the end goal is to get them to continuously walk for around 20 minutes, depending on the age and condition of the dog. The pace is controlled and provides more balance for weak and unstable patients.
What Are the Benefits of Dog Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy uses the benefits of water resistance to create a supported environment after an injury or during a medical condition. Hydrotherapy is particularly useful for older dogs suffering from arthritis as the warm water helps with joint swelling and mobility. Other benefits of dog hydrotherapy include:
- Relieves pain and stiffness
- Improves balance
- Relaxes muscles
- Improves cardiovascular fitness
- Improves mental wellbeing
- Less strenuous on the joints
- Increases and maintains muscle
- Increases energy levels
- Improves mobility
- Improves circulation
- Faster recovery from injuries
How Often Should a Dog Have Hydrotherapy?
Generally, a young dog recovering from an injury may require hydrotherapy twice a week until they’re around 1 years old. However, an older dog struggling with arthritis, may need hydrotherapy twice a week for around 8 weeks or for the rest of their lives.
How often a dog has hydrotherapy will depend on their age, condition and your personal preferences. If you are worried about how often your dog should have hydrotherapy, speak to your veterinarian.
Looking for a Relaxing Place for Your Dog to Rest?
Here at Benchmark Kennels, we specialise in designing and manufacturing a range of insulated and cosy dog kennels for your pooch to retreat to when looking to relax. From our single bay kennels right through to our triple bay kennels, we stock a comprehensive range of high-quality thermal dog kennels for all breeds and sizes.
Dog kennels help to provide a comfortable space for your pet to relax. Being outdoors is also incredibly beneficial for your dog’s health, lowering stress, boosting immunity and reducing the risk of depression.