Canine water therapy, hydrotherapy and aqua therapy, all refer to a highly effective form of rehabilitation for disabled dogs. As a pet owner you’ve probably heard the terms before, but do you know what to expect when your dog needs hydrotherapy?
Most pet owners don’t know what to expect so we’ve put together a video that will take your through the process.
What is canine hydrotherapy?
The rehab method involves placing a dog into a pool of warm water. The buoyancy of the water enables a skilled technician to help your dog exercise in a reduced weight-bearing environment. Hydrotherapy is a powerful tool for dogs with paralysis, hind end weakness or degenerative conditions. It also speeds the recovery period for dogs after surgery.
The video below explains the major techniques you’ll see in hydrotherapy
A visit with a canine water therapy professional
Kathy Carr is the owner of Canine Bodywork & Aquatics in Henderson, NV. She was kind enough to take me on a tour of her clinic. In the middle of the facility is a large 8ft. by 20ft swimming pool that is kept at a toasty 85-90 degrees.
Warm water is essential for hydrotherapy be it helps reduce inflammation, pain and releases toxins from the body.
The pool has jets on each side. They are used to give your dog a relaxing massage while doing the exercises. And as a dog improves the jets can be set to a more forceful speed to give your dog a more challenging workout.
The swimming pool is 4.5ft deep. The depth is important because it creates a phenomenon called Hydrostatic Pressure. That’s when your dog is placed in warm water at about shoulder height. The pressure exerted by the water against your dog’s body enables many paralyzed dogs to stand on their own. It’s a great way for them to gain their strength.
The exercises you’ll see
Every dog wears a lifejacket at the start of their session. Kathy supports the dog’s torso with her arms while she walks back and forth in the pool. This gives her time to check your dog for tight muscles.
Next Kathy massages the dog to loosen the joints and muscles. She also drapes your dog over her arms to relax the muscles.
Eventually, Kathy removes the lifejacket, while supporting your dog in her arms. (Please do not do this at home without proper training). The exercise strengthens your dog’s core.
And if possible, it enables your dog to use their tail as a rudder while they are guided through the water. Later, if possible, Kathy also hopes to see a dog kick their back legs.
A lot can be accomplished with canine water therapy. I’d love to hear your experience.