Canine hydrotherapy can benefit dogs with a wide array of medical conditions. But what is hydrotherapy, and how exactly does it help dogs?
How does hydrotherapy for dogs work?
In Greek, the word “hydrotherapy” means “water healing.” It’s primarily used to help humans, but even dogs who don’t like to swim can benefit from it.
Floating in water soothes and strengthens the body by providing resistance without joint pressure. It can help older dogs with joint pain, and post-surgery dogs as well. Hydrotherapy reduces the stress on their bodies by allowing them to move more freely while building strength and flexibility.
Hydrotherapy for dogs may include whirlpools, underwater treadmills, or dog pools. Whenever a therapist is working with your dog, it will be a fairly hands-on event in a controlled environment. So you needn’t worry about your pup floating away!
What does canine hydrotherapy look like?
Dogster explains that canine hydrotherapy treadmills are made of watertight plastic or glass. Dogs stand in leg-high water and trot to fitness.
Walking on this submerged treadmill benefits dogs by allowing increased joint flexibility and movement in a low-impact environment. Especially because their joints aren’t stressed by the force of gravity. This technique can also reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
Other benefits of hydrotherapy include: decreased pain, relaxation of muscle tension, decreased resting heart rate, and reduced edema. Hydrotherapy also gives a mood boost from endorphins released by exercise.
Increasing muscle strength, reducing the likelihood of secondary complications, increasing quality of life, and improving cardiovascular fitness are all positive results.
Spending time in the water can increase lymph drainage and help the immune system function better. It can also improve a dog’s digestion, and help his body quickly rid itself of toxins.
Hydrotherapy can improve a dog’s balance, coordination, and energy levels while improving well-being.
Hydrotherapy can help return your dog to an earlier level of fitness and slow the progression of degenerative diseases. It can also serve as a great occasion for you and your pup to bond!
Be careful, however, of hydrotherapy if your dog has any ear or balance issues. Hydrotherapy could worsen an ear condition, which could, in turn, hurt his ability to balance.
Which canine health conditions benefit from hydrotherapy treatment?
There are many canine health conditions that are treatable by hydrotherapy. Among them are hip or elbow dysplasia, injuries to the cruciate ligament, osteoarthritis, CDRM (chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy), orthopedic conditions, and recovery from trauma.
Because it has so many physical, psychological, and social benefits, canine hydrotherapy is recommended for suffering pups. It offers a holistic way to help your dog recover from an injury, and get back to feeling like his old self again. It also helps keep up morale and physical function while treating a degenerative disease.