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)
Rehabilitation HydrotherapyCost (per swim)
First Rehabilitation Assessment & Swim£48 (1 hour session)
Follow up 9 Swims£38 each
Maintenance Swims after follow up£33


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.
Leisure SwimCost (per swim)
First Fun Swim Assessment£25 (45 mins)
Follow Up Fun Swim£23 each


My dog has never swum before, will he/she be okay?

Many dogs have never swum before they come to hydrotherapy. We aim to make each dog as comfortable and relaxed as possible and guide them gently into the water with the correct harness or buoyancy jacket fitted. Whilst in the water they will have a hydrotherapist with them supporting them and aiding the correct movement at all times.

Can I bring my dog if there is nothing physically wrong with them?

Yes we have lots of dogs that come for body conditioning or just for fun!

Will my dog lose weight?

Yes in conjunction with a diet, swimming sessions are a brilliant way to burn calories especially if they are restricted from exercising on land as 10 minutes in the pool with no impact on their joints is like going on a 2 mile walk.

Does swimming in the sea or lake have the same effect?

No the water never gets warm enough to have the same benefits as hydrotherapy. There are also strong currents which can be dangerous and steep muddy banks which can make it hard getting in and out the water safely especially with an injured or arthritic dog.

Will I need a vet's referral?

Yes, whether it is for rehabilitation or fun and fitness, a referral form will need to be completed by your vet. We will send you a consent form to sign and return and then we can submit the referral request on your behalf by email to your vet, for completion ahead of your first appointment. This is to make sure your dog has no conditions that may be exacerbated by hydrotherapy.

Can I claim the cost of hydrotherapy on my pet insurance?

Each insurance company has its own policy regarding canine hydrotherapy and you should contact your insurer to find out if your policy covers hydrotherapy treatments.

How does hydrotherapy differ to swimming in a lake?

It is crucial to swim in the correct temperature especially if a dog is suffering from arthritis or has any joint problems. Swimming in cold water can actually be counter-productive as it reduces blood circulation. Cold muscles are more likely to stiffen up and cramp and could do further damage. It is essential to monitor how much exercise your dog is doing and that they are doing the correct movement not to exacerbate any existing problems. This is impossible to do without the correct training and not being in the water with them to look and feel the movement. In open lakes there is often an undercurrent which your dog could get into trouble with, especially if they are already tired. There is also a risk of pollution and water born disease that could put your dog in danger. In the hydro pool the water is tested regularly and kept warm to ensure that your dog is safe at all times.
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