Hydrotherapy for dogs has been trending all across social media and making some buzz in the dog world. This seemingly popular trend may have you pondering over the methods and techniques that are used and its effectiveness.
How does it help my dog?
How effective is it?
What all ailments can hydrotherapy cure?
As a dog owner, you’re likely to ask yourself these questions before diving into the world of hydrotherapy. Worry not my fellow dog lover, we have it all simplified for you.
Hydrotherapy involves the use of water (Surprise!) to cure pain in muscles and joints whilst also strengthening them. Formerly known as hydropath, it involves a wide array of therapeutic methods in order to draw maximum benefits of the physical properties of water. It encompasses properties like temperature, pressure, buoyancy, resistance and the viscosity of water to stimulate the blood circulation.
Benefits of hydrotherapy
Canine hydrotherapy is a form of hydrotherapy that focuses on the treatment of chronic conditions, pre and posts surgery recovery, food, maintaining overall fitness and in some cases even paralysis. It’s used to relax and ease the pain that comes with canine arthritis in old aged dogs. The buoyancy acts as the primary force behind balancing the weight of the body and helps in relaxing the muscles.
Dr. Leilani Alvarez, Head of integrative & Rehabilitation Medicine at Animal Medical Center’s Integrative & Rehab Medical Service, NYC comments, “The water therapy for dogs is really helpful because when they get in the water they have to actually work against the water which makes them stronger but then they float at the top so there’s actually less weight through various body parts of the body that might be painful. The buoyancy of the water helps to support the body and the motion of the treadmill gets their feet moving at the correct rhythm”.
- Water helps with lymph drainage and rids the body of toxins.
- Water encourages a healthy digestive system and can promote balance and coordination.
- Hydrotherapy also helps dogs in shedding a few pounds. Obesity is a very common problem in aged dogs. A well planned low-impact exercise, frequent walks on the underwater treadmill keep the dog active and their weight in check
- An important reason why hydrotherapy is a favorite amongst the dog community is because of the fun and excitement that comes with it. The whole experience of splashing water and swimming in it helps in relieving stress.
- It helps primarily with rehabilitating the damaged muscles and helps in reducing the muscle tension and your dog can have all the food.
- Hydrotherapy supplies fresh nutrients and oxygen to the injured tissues of the body. It also increases the production of opioid peptides, especially endorphins which enhances circulation in the body and strengthens the immune system.
Hydrotherapy is for any pooch that has the following ailments or requirements:
- Pre and Post surgery recovery.
- Arthritis or dysplasia
- Cardiovascular workout for senior dogs.
- Rehab for dogs that have undergone any kind of stroke.
- Osteochondrosis or fracture recovery.
- Studies and preliminary observations have shown hydrotherapy can help in restoring the muscle tone in cases of degenerative radiculomyelopathy and even neurological diseases in dogs.
- Obesity (yes, dogs have to deal with it too)
What is the average cost hydrotherapy in dogs?
Factors like the type of hydrotherapy, the period of therapy sessions, the condition that’s being treated, your country, state or region vary the cost of hydrotherapy. Water jets, underwater massage, whirlpool bath, hot tub, indoor hutch, underwater treadmill and pool based therapy being the most common forms of hydrotherapy. Generally, pool therapy costs less than underwater treadmill sessions.
- Pool-based therapy involves a pool that’s just enough for the large sized dog to move freely while a trained hydro therapist interest and monitors it. Some companies developing it for other animals also, like for leopard gecko in habitat. The water is heated in order to loosen up the sore muscles and joints while cold water is used for dogs that are under some sort of physical training in order to strengthen their muscles. The average cost of pool-based hydrotherapy for a period of 30 minutes can cost $30 dollars.
- Underwater treadmill therapy has a treadmill belt attached to a rectangular tank which is big enough to fit a regular sized dog like a golden retriever. The dog is stationed on the treadmill and the tank is slowly filled with water just above the dog’s legs. While the dog walks on the treadmill while the water acts as resistance needed to strengthen and condition the muscles. The average cost of underwater treadmill therapy for a period of 30 minutes can cost about $40 dollars per session.
The do’s and don’ts of hydrotherapy
Despite its spot on effects and benefits, hydrotherapy isn’t for every canine friend.
- Pooches suffering from cardiovascular diseases, open infected wounds, hydrophobia shouldn’t be treated by hydrotherapy.
- If your dog doesn’t know how to swim then it’s better to leave him up to the professional hydrotherapy practitioners.
- Many dogs learn swimming with a vest and a good coach.
- Nevertheless, if your dog has experienced any kind of trauma from water then it’s better to keep him away from hydrotherapy.
- Make sure you take him to a certified and well maintained Canine Rehab centre. The water should be treated and hygienic.
- Often prolonged therapy sessions give ear infections or skin diseases to the dogs. Therefore, check if the pools are well kept and clean.
- Don’t forget to rinse your dog after the hydrotherapy sessions in order to remove chlorine off your dog. Willard Water is what a lot of dog keepers suggest. It can be used internally and as a topical treatment to improve your dog’s overall health. Add it to your dog’s shampoo or conditioners to get fresh and smooth coat.
Hydrotherapy is a non-traditional method of improving your dog’s health conditions with minimum or avoidable risks involved. If recommended by the vet, this technique of rehabilitation is best suited for your pet that will not only gain immediate benefits out of it but will also thank you enough for the fun and action involved. Hydrotherapy is definitely an amalgamation of healing and water rides.