If you’re a dog parent, you want the most excellent for your canine companion. In case your pooch is experiencing health problems like joint inflammation or stress, you might want to explore various remedies to enhance their well-being.
A contemporary approach that is becoming more popular is canine hydrotherapy, which utilizes water to assist dogs in recuperating from injuries, enhancing their stamina and movement, and easing discomfort.
Hydrotherapy can be performed at home as easily as at a veterinary facility with the right tools and instructions.
Understanding the different forms of treatment and taking the appropriate precautions to ensure your pet’s safety is crucial if you plan to administer it to your dog.
This article has everything you need to know about canine hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy for dogs: What is it and what are its benefits
Using water can help dogs recover from wounds, gain more strength and movement, and experience pain relief with hydrotherapy, a type of physical therapy.
It is a low-impact exercise that can benefit animals with various illnesses, including neurological problems, hip dysplasia, and arthritis.
Hydrotherapy has many potential benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs with various health conditions, including:
Dogs that receive hydrotherapy can improve their joint flexibility, range of motion, and muscular strength. For canines suffering from illnesses like arthritis or hip dysplasia, this may be extremely helpful.
The buoyancy and resistance of the water can alleviate strain on joints and muscles, helping to relieve pain and suffering in pets.
The procedure offers gentle, low-impact training on the joints; it can be a successful method for helping dogs shed pounds and maintain healthy body weight.
Due to the rigorous workout that the resistance of the water may give, hydrotherapy can also enhance a dog’s cardiovascular health.
Hydrotherapy may help dogs feel less anxious and stressed by having a relaxing impact on them.
These swimming exercises may be incorporated into a canine rehabilitation regimen for dogs recovering from accidents or surgery, assisting them in strengthening and regaining mobility more quickly.
Only certified experts, such as licensed veterinarians or accredited therapists, should administer hydrotherapy to dogs.
Veterinary clinics, specialized hydrotherapy centers, and select pet stores have unique amenities like massage pools and underwater treadmills, which can aid pets with different health issues.
In addition to sessions in specialized facilities, dog owners can perform hydrotherapy at home with the right equipment and under the guidance of a professional.
However, consult your veterinarian before starting an at-home treatment to ensure that it meets your dog’s specific needs and to learn the proper techniques for safe hydrotherapy.
Types of canine hydrotherapy
The most popular types of dog hydrotherapy include underwater treadmills, swimming, warm or cold water, and whirlpool therapies.
Each form of hydrotherapy is designed to target different health conditions and can offer a range of benefits.
Underwater treadmill therapy
Dogs participating in underwater treadmill treatment use a machine immersed in the pool to walk or run.
These low-impact exercises can assist in developing strength since the buoyancy of the water lessens the strain on the joints that the dog would experience in typical weight-bearing exercises.
Pets with mobility-impairing disorders benefit most from this therapy.
Dogs participating in this treatment swim in a pool with a ramp for easy entry and exit.
Movement in the water improves cardiovascular health and overall fitness.
Warm water therapy
The treated dog is immersed in water, usually between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This procedure is especially beneficial for dogs with sprains, as it helps to relax the affected area and reduce discomfort. In addition, warm water therapy can aid in the healing process.
Cold water therapy
The procedure involves a dog submerged in cold water, typically around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
This hydrotherapy can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, making it particularly useful for dogs with acute injuries or conditions such as arthritis.
During this treatment, the dog is placed in a unique vortex bath filled with warm water and air bubbles.
Water and air flow help reduce inflammation and promote healing by increasing blood flow to the affected area.
This therapy is especially beneficial for dogs with conditions such as spinal injuries.
Hydrotherapy steps to follow and precautions
If you plan to perform home hydrotherapy, you should follow a few steps to ensure a safe and effective experience for your furry friend.
It is recommended to consult your veterinarian before starting hydrotherapy at home. The doctor will assess your dog’s health and determine if the procedure is proper. They can also advise on the type of hydrotherapy best suited to your pet’s needs.
You also need to ensure you have the necessary equipment for hydrotherapy at home.
This could be a pool or tub, safety gear such as life jackets or harnesses, or any other safety devices your veterinarian recommends.
Choosing the correct type of hydrotherapy
There are different types of hydrotherapy, and the kind of treatment your dog needs will depend on his specific health condition.
Only your veterinarian can help determine which type is best for your pet.
Not using chemical products
It is necessary to perform dog warm water therapy in chemical-free hot tubs to avoid any adverse reactions that may be caused by commonly found in baths or pools, such as chlorine or other sanitizers.
These substances can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and other health problems for dogs and humans.
Familiarizing your pet with turbulent water
When introducing your dog to hydrotherapy, it is helpful to do so gradually.
Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the treatment over time.
Positive reinforcement and treats will help make the procedure less stressful and more enjoyable for your furry friend.
Observing your dog during the procedure
Monitoring your dog during hydrotherapy is important to ensure its safety and well-being.
Pay attention to their body language and behavior, and adjust the therapy as needed. Carefully monitor and adjust the water temperature to prevent discomfort or injury.
After each hydrotherapy session, it is recommended that you pat your dog dry and provide a comfortable, warm place to rest.
Watch your pet for discomfort or injury, such as limping or excessive breathing.
Tips for successful canine hydrotherapy
There are a few tricks you can use to make hydrotherapy for your dog more successful and pleasurable for both of you:
Bring treats and toys
By spoiling your dog with treats and toys, you can make the hydrotherapy process more enjoyable.
They can be used as positive reinforcement, rewarding your pet for their efforts and encouraging them to continue.
In addition, toys can help provide distraction and make the treatment session more fun.
Choose the right time of day
Choosing the right time of day can help ensure the success of hydrotherapy.
Do not feed your dog immediately before the session; a full stomach can cause discomfort while in the water.
It is also best to schedule the procedure when your dog is relaxed and calm.
Use a life jacket or harness
A life jacket or harness will help keep your dog safe during hydrotherapy.
This equipment can provide extra support and prevent your pet from slipping or falling in the water.
It can also help control movement and prevent your dog from swimming too far.
Final thoughts on canine hydrotherapy
So, hydrotherapy is a helpful form of treatment for dogs with a variety of health conditions.
With proper preparation, deciding the correct type of treatment, familiarizing your dog with water, monitoring him during the therapy session, and following up afterward, you can successfully treat your furry friend at home.
However, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian before starting any new procedure for your dog to ensure it’s safe and meets its needs.
Canine hydrotherapy can help improve your dog’s overall mobility, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve its overall quality of life with patience, dedication, and guidance.
Peter Emmanuel Rossi is a creative writer passionate about hot tubs and pools. He is the author of Hot Tub Reviews by Peter Rossi, where he shares valuable insights on how to build, maintain and choose hot tubs and pools.