Canine Hydrotherapy is one of the best forms of exercise for dogs as it engages nearly every muscle in the anatomy. It allows the dog to exercise in a non weight bearing environment which relieves pressure on joints whilst encouraging a full range of joint movement, muscle development and improved cardiovascular strength.
Hydrotherapy is a fantastic addition to your dog’s exercise regime, whether it’s just for fun, weight loss or rehabilitation, it’s a stimulating, enjoyable way to help your canine enjoy a happier, healthier and potentially longer more effective life.
We ask all clients joining us for the first time to provide a referral form from your vet. This allows us to be fully aware of your dogs medical health at your first initial assessment. Our qualified Canine Hydrotherapist will tailor a specific exercise programme to meet your dog’s needs.
Aqua Canine Pool
The pool is maintained at between 29-31 degrees C which is the optimum temperature range to encourage blood flow to your dog’s muscles. This is important as your dog will be working harder than it would be on land. The pool water is filtered, treated and checked 3 times per day to ensure the water quality remains constant.
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Hydrotherapy is a great way to improve mobility and rebuild or maintain muscle mass without your dog having to bear weight on the affected area, allowing your dog to exercise fully, maintain fitness levels and increase it’s natural range of motion more quickly, in a safe and controlled environment.
Hydrotherapy is widely recognised as a complimentary therapy by the veterinary profession and can be of great benefit in the treatment of many medical conditions including arthritic, orthopaedic and neurological conditions as well as muscle, ligament and other soft tissue injuries.
If the problem is muscular or skeletal, your dog may well try and protect the affected area by overcompensating on other parts of the body. This in itself can lead to additional problems such as extra load bearing pressure on joints, abnormal movement placing additional strain on muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as muscle wastage in the affected area (which actually begins around day 3 of immobilisation).
Your dog’s fitness level will also deteriorate quite rapidly.
Hydrotherapy can help to speed up the post operative recovery process or conservatively manage a condition, slowing down the progression of a degenerative condition if non-operable.
Conditions commonly benefiting from hydrotherapy include:
- ⁃ Osteoarthritis
- ⁃ Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- ⁃ Degenerative Myelopathy
- ⁃ Legg Calve Perthes Disease
- ⁃ Luxating Patellar
- ⁃ Spinal Injuries
- ⁃ Cruciate Ligament Injuries
- ⁃ Obesity
- ⁃ Depression
- ⁃ Intervertebral Disc Disease (degenerative type)
- ⁃ Spondylosis
- ⁃ Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM)
- ⁃ Fibrocatilaginous Embolism (FCE)
As well as a general loss in quality of life, obese animals suffer from similar health troubles to over-weight humans, such as diabetes, arthritis, respiratory problems, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
The 2014 PDSA Animal Welfare report estimates that one in three dogs in the UK are
overweight or obese, and that the proportion of overweight pets will continue to climb.
As in humans, pet obesity can also reduce life expectancy. According to the PDSA, the causes of pet obesity are fairly straightforward: pets are being fed too much and exercised too little. Many owners don’t realise that their dog is overweight, and therefore fail to recognise the additional strain being placed on joints, muscles, tendons and the cardiovascular system.
A large proportion of vets now incorporate weight loss clinics into their practices and this is a great way to understand how you can help your dog achieve a better quality of life. Clinics usually offer services including dietary advice and exercise planning.
Lechlade K9 Centre work closely with vets in the local area to offer a weight loss hydrotherapy programme. The non-weight bearing environment created by hydrotherapy will allow your dog to move more freely and therefore be more active than it could be on land, removing the increased pressure on the joints caused by land based exercise. This increased activity will help to burn off fat, improve your dog’s cardiovascular system and build muscle mass to improve joint support.
Swimming will also act as a mental stimulant and you may well see a marked improvement in your dog’s state of mind, in the pool, when you get home, and as they become more capable during land based exercise.
For the first 18 to 24 months of your dog’s life, depending on size and breed, growth plates in bones will remain open. This means the bones are soft and not yet fully developed (Ossified). Your puppy’s muscles will also be developing and not yet be able to effectively deal with the same level of exercise as a fully developed dog.
Over exercising your dog during its puppy period can cause damage to the bones and joints that will stay with your dog for the rest of its life. High impact activities and exercise that put added pressure on your puppy’s bones and joints during this growth stage should be limited.
Hydrotherapy is a great addition to a puppy’s exercise routine with many benefits:
- ⁃ It’s a non weight bearing exercise so no impact on joints.
- ⁃ It Helps to develop muscle mass to support joints.
- ⁃ It provides mental stimulation – a new and fun experience!
- ⁃ Gets your dog used to water at an early stage in its life.
Puppy swims can commence from 16 weeks of age.
If you’re looking for a new way of stimulating your dog to break up the usual walk routine, hydrotherapy is a fantastic option.
Not only is it a fun experience, but great exercise too, in a safe, warm and clean environment. Whilst your dog is having fun in the pool, they will be working harder than they would do whilst out on the walk. This is due to the water resistance created in the pool.
It’s actually been estimated that a 10 minute hydrotherapy session is equivalent in exercise to a 2 mile walk.
Not only will your dog use a wider variety of muscles in the pool which will help to build additional support around the joints, but it will be at the same time, strengthening the cardiovascular system.