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As a duck takes to water? Is hydrotherapy right for your dog?

What is hydrotherapy?

Soaking in warm water is one of the oldest forms of alternative therapy - the Greeks and the Romans built hydro spa facilities in ancient Europe. Taking advantage of the physical properties of water - such as temperature and pressure - you can stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases and injuries.

Upon observing the benefits of seawater immersion for horses, the greyhound racing industry eventually recognized the benefits of the treatment. This had led to the development of underwater treadmills to relieve stress on the dog’s joints whilst building strength.

What kind of benefits do dogs get from hydrotherapy?

  • Water helps to relieve pain regain strength after injuries
  • Speeds recovery after operations and it is very low impact
  • Slows the progression of degenerative conditions
  • Obese dogs can build fitness and lose weight
  • It’s a great general fitness routine for dogs
  • The pool is non weight bearing and the treadmill takes 50-60% of the weight off – it’s filled to their shoulders so it’s easy on joints but harder on muscles – so like resistance training.

And while you might think the beach might be a viable option remember this - the water is too cold for your pups and if the beach is populated, it can lead to overextension and excitement, resulting in further injuries.

When should my dog use hydrotherapy?

Spinal injuries or surgery can cause impairment of motor function. Hydrotherapy provides support and allows the dog to exercise its muscles while nerve regeneration is taking place. Degenerative conditions can make normal weight bearing exercise burdensome.

Additionally, if you encounter your dog responding unfavourably to pressure on joints and limbs, hydrotherapy can be used to allow the dog to exercise in an environment where there is no pressure on the affected areas.

Who should perform hydrotherapy?

Dog owners must sure that anyone offering this service has been certified as a canine rehabilitation therapist or as a practitioner. Many veterinary clinics are starting to offer underwater treadmill therapies, but don’t necessarily have qualified rehabilitation therapists to perform these treatments.

Fortunately, Nose to Tail provides qualified hydrotherapy service.

Hydrotherapy starts with consultation

Before any course begins, our Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation Manager discusses the needs of your dog based either on your vet’s referral notes or your own concerns about your dog’s health and condition.

From this consultation, a course programme is developed. After each session your dog can be taken to a Nose to Tail wash cubicle to be thoroughly dried to avoid chills and heat loss.

Unsure of whether your pup needs hydrotherapy or not? Give us a bell in store on 09 448 2227 and we can set up an appointment to discuss your pup’s situation.