Why Hydrotherapy for Dogs?

What is Canine Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is derived from the Greek words ‘hydor’ meaning water and ‘therapia’ meaning healing.

For some dogs swimming is simply a treat, but for others it is a more serious matter—therapeutic rather than recreational. However, hydrotherapy is much more than just swimming—using water’s buoyancy to support the animal’s body, thereby relieving painful joints and is used as a vital part of a fitness or rehabilitation regime following illness, injury or surgery.

It requires direction from a qualified hydrotherapist or physiotherapist.

Benefits of Dog Hydrotherapy

The benefits of hydrotherapy depend very much on how the hydrotherapy treatment is carried out. For some dogs simply floating or swimming gently in water can relieve pain and inflammation. For others more vigorous exercise is used to increase the use of limbs, increase muscle bulk and tone, and strengthen the support for joints. Especially after surgery or injury this can allow earlier return to normal use.

Water can also be used as a means of supporting dogs in a non weight bearing or partially weight bearing environment to allow movements that would not be possible on land, perhaps because of weakness or injury. This is particularly useful for dogs that have spinal problems.

Hydrotherapy can also increase cardiovascular fitness and help with weight loss. Benefits may also include the following:

  • Relieves pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Improves joint mobilisation and increases range of movement
  • Improves muscle strength and maintenance
  • Improves circulation
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Improves sensory awareness
  • Relaxes muscle spasms
  • Improves mental well being