Water therapy or hydrotherapy is a complementary therapy that uses water and water-induced treatment. Humans use it to strengthen their muscles and heal from injury, soothing properties that can apply to dogs as well. It can help them get in shape and ease muscular pain.
This is the use of water to rehabilitate or re-educate your pet’s body. The water temperature during this treatment is usually warmer than that of a swimming pool. The water supports the pet's weight, helps relieve pain, and increases the range of motion in its joints. Water therapy treats different conditions, including arthritis and other rheumatic issues.
It does not matter if your pet knows how to swim or not. The facilities teach them how to swim and make them less fearful and more comfortable with the water.
The first session will start with the physician at Elizabeth Veterinary Clinic observing your pet’s medical history and lifestyle. They will discuss its overall health with you and get to know its capabilities and challenges.
After the evaluation, the physician will help begin with a warmup. This includes using low-resistance exercises to target the upper and lower extremities. After stretching and warming up, the physician may take your pet for a brief walk or a jog on an underwater treadmill.
Once the warmup is complete, the physician may begin a series of intense exercises. The intensity will depend on your pet’s capabilities, increasing with time and during follow-up sessions. They ensure your pet’s safety using safety belts, pool noodles, or life jackets as they try to maximize and expand their capabilities. The physician may encourage your dog to run or sprint at intervals.
After strength and fitness training, your pet will engage in core training—activities that engage separate groups of muscles. Again, the length and frequency of the exercises will increase during subsequent sessions. The physician will continue evaluating the pet's coordination, flexibility, and stamina.
Cooldown happens in a therapy pool and includes a deep tissue massage experience. Cooling down is crucial. It helps your dog relax and prevents the buildup of lactic acid.
This improves a pet’s disposition and self-esteem, giving it a feeling of accomplishment as it masters the exercises in the pool. The vet will also help it translate the lessons in the water to land, to enhance its capabilities and make it strong. Psychologically, water therapy will also provide dogs with the following benefits:
Increase its confidence
Improves its self-esteem
Enhances its quality of life
Provides relaxation and comfort
Increases its capabilities
Allows it to socialize
If your dog is ailing from osteoarthritis, muscle strain, or tares, it will benefit from water therapy. It will help it exercise and strengthen its muscles and bones without intense pain. It is also helpful in conditions where they suffer chronic pain, a decline in bone density, or disability.
For more information on water therapy, visit Elizabeth Veterinary Clinic at our office in Roselle, New Jersey. You can call (908) 245-7853 today to schedule an appointment.