Hydrotherapy is a growing trend among dog and cat owners and it is proven as one of the most effective and the most appealing therapies of this kind. Hydrotherapy for dogs is proven effective and ideal in certain cases. More on this below. We will explain what hydrotherapy is and what it does to your pet.
Hydrotherapy For Dogs: All You Need To Know
Hydrotherapy for dogs is a treatment, or better said, a therapy that uses water to rehabilitate an injured dog or other pet in pain. It comes from a Greek word and means “water healing.” You can get an idea of why this can be the best therapy in certain situations.
Hydrotherapy is used and effective to dogs who suffer from arthritis, have hip dysplasia, ACL, degenerative joint disease, or who lost a limb due to any reason. It uses water resistance, hydrostatic pressure, viscosity, and buoyancy to help your pet move an injured body part while decreasing the effect of gravity. It is like adding weight to the injured joint or limb, which should relieve pain and help the joint recover.
In addition, the therapy also decreases swelling (it has anti-inflammatory properties), which is another perk.
3 Hydrotherapy Types
Not all hydrotherapy types are the same. There are three main types and each one is special or used for a specific purpose. Now, we will explain all three types so you can deduce which one is the most suitable for your pet.
This type is designed for pets who are recovering from a serious and complicated surgery. Your pet will be lowered in a ‘’Jacuzzi’’ where water jets will be directed towards the affected area. They will massage it. The therapy is effective in relieving pain and speeding up the recovery. Actually, pain relief is the main purpose of this type.
2. Underwater Treadmill
As the name suggests and you can imagine, the therapy will involve your dog in a tank filled with water just enough so the affected area or joint is covered. He will be on a treadmill and he will have to move in the water. This creates resistance and helps with recovery. The type is ideal for dogs with arthritis.
3. Pools For Dogs
In this case, a pool will be used and a dog may be on a harness or he may be free inside the pool. Once again, the type is ideal for dogs with arthritis and degenerative joint disease. A therapist will be present and he will control the situation. The therapy is designed to affect shoulders, limbs, elbows, and chest muscles.
Benefits Of Hydrotherapy
For lack of a better word, the benefits of hydrotherapy are stunning, and they come in massive numbers. We don’t have the time to mention all of them, but we can reveal a few that are simply excellent and probably the most important of them all. Don’t forget that your pet may get all of these benefits or just a few, but he will almost always experience a few perks.
Quicker injury recovery
Yes, this is one of the main advantages. Injured dogs show much faster recovery when the therapy is used and they recover in less time with a higher success rate. This is actually one of the main reasons why a dog owner would use therapy.
The tissue will heal faster and more effectively when the therapy is used. This is once again, needed in case of an injury or surgery.
Because your pet will move through a higher distance than usual, it is like going to the gym for him. In other words, his muscles will become stronger which is needed for specific dogs.
Better blood flow
Better blood circulation is guaranteed. This happens thanks to the increased movement of a joint or a limb (or a complete body) and due to the water stimulant.
Hydrotherapy is superb when it comes to pain relief due to the obvious way of how it works. Also, it is effective in treating swelling, stiffness and so much more.
- Gait modification
- Increased range of motion
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Decreased muscle spasms
Additional Things To Know About Hydrotherapy For Dogs
Hydrotherapy is very effective, as we have mentioned earlier. It is easy to implement and it is appealing in the lack of a better word. But, it is also complicated (more than it looks). What this means is that only a professional should handle the therapy and should work with your dog. If you believe that you can use it all by yourself and make a success out of it, this is a mistake.
Also, this therapy will cost you. The prices range massively, so we cannot generalisemassively, so we cannot generalize. However, it is almost always available in 30-minute intervals, so you can get as many intervals as you like.
Hydrotherapy can be used by all dogs and almost all other animals. There are no massive differences here, and you can try the therapy and see if any benefits are present. At the moment, there is no more effective method of pain relief except medications and certain surgeries. However, hydrotherapy is easier, for lack of a better word, and it can be used on all pets.
There is no need to add that hydrotherapy is 100% safe. You don’t have to worry about any issues of this kind, and you can be positive that your pet will stay safe during the therapy. Once again, this must be performed by experts, and there is no way you can achieve success by yourself.
What to Expect During Hydrotherapy Sessions
When you first bring your dog to a hydrotherapy session, the initial visit will usually consist of an assessment to evaluate your pet’s overall health and specific needs. This often involves reviewing any veterinarian recommendations and taking note of the dog’s medical history. The therapist will inspect your dog’s gait, posture, and any areas of discomfort or pain. They will also assess your dog’s range of motion in its limbs.
Once the assessment is complete, the hydrotherapy treatment can begin. The type of hydrotherapy used (swim therapy, underwater treadmill, or whirlpool therapy) will depend on your dog’s specific requirements. Generally, your dog will be introduced gradually to the water to prevent any stress or anxiety. Most dogs adapt quickly, especially with the encouragement and presence of their owner.
In an underwater treadmill session, your dog will be placed in a tank of warm water, and the treadmill will start moving slowly. As your dog walks, the water resistance helps to increase muscle strength and stamina without putting undue stress on their joints. In swim therapy, the dog swims in a controlled environment, sometimes with the aid of a floatation device. Whirlpool therapy can help to soothe painful muscles and improve blood circulation.
Each session typically lasts between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the dog’s condition and tolerance. Dogs often find the experience enjoyable and relaxing. After the session, the dog will be rinsed off, dried, and encouraged to drink water to help flush out any toxins that have been released during the therapy.
It’s crucial to follow any instructions provided by the therapist for aftercare at home. You may need to restrict certain activities, apply heat or cold packs, or perform specific exercises with your dog.
The Final Word
Is hydrotherapy for dogs something your pet needs? The answer depends. If your dog suffers from pain or has serious health issues regarding muscles, joints, and similar, then you need to try it. After all, one session will cost you almost nothing, and you can talk to a therapist about furthering the process. It’s no wonder why this therapy has become so effective these days and why millions have been using it for all kinds of purposes for years.