Dogs hydrotherapy tanks are fantastic for dogs with various needs when used under the supervision of a reputable and knowledgable veterinarian. If your vet does not have a hydrotherapy tank like the one we have here at Leesville Animal Hospital, though, you may not be as familiar with water therapy as our clients are. This may leave you wondering whether hydrotherapy is right for your dog. So today we’re going to take a look at some of the instances when dogs hydrotherapy services may be of benefit so that you can decide whether it’s time to give us a call to schedule some time for your dog in our water therapy tank!
Dogs Hydrotherapy: Is Your Dog a Good Candidate?
Hydrotherapy is a beneficial means of exercise, strength building, and rehabilitation for many dogs, but like most things, it’s not a one size fits all solution. So what type of dogs are good candidates for hydrotherapy?
If you’ve ever been a pet parent to an older dog then you know how important it is to keep up with an exercise routine. You see, as our senior dogs get older they tend to slow down. This reduction in exercise usually leads to weight gain. That weight gain then puts more pressure on their joints which often have evidence of arthritis and degeneration due to age. In turn, that added pressure causes pain and further wear on your dog’s joints which causes pain, swelling, and reluctance to exercise.
Hydrotherapy is a great exercise solution for older dogs (particularly those who are carrying a little extra weight) because it allows for exercise without your dog having to support their whole body weight. The buoyancy of the water gives your dog a “boost” so that they can exercise more efficiently and it keeps added pressure off aching joints.
Hydrotherapy is also an exceptional tool for older dogs because it helps to maintain strength in the hind end. Many older dogs (particularly large breeds) experience atrophy of the muscles in the hind end as they reach their golden years. This atrophy is a result of the natural aging process as well as a lack of exercise and it causes shakiness, unsteadiness, difficulty rising from a “sit” or “down” position and it can shake your dog’s confidence. By maintaining a water therapy routine, you can help to maintain your dog’s hind end muscle strength so that you see less of these symptoms as they age.
We touched on this above when talking about why water therapy for dogs is a good option for dogs who are carrying a little extra weight. The buoyancy of the water helps to lighten your dog’s body weight so that they can walk further and burn more calories. As their weight drops, their therapy sessions are adjusted to accommodate for this change.
An added benefit of water tank therapy for overweight dogs is that it helps to build up strength while losing that extra weight. So, where changing your dog’s diet alone may help them to lose weight, water therapy will strengthen your dog at the same time so that they can maintain a healthy exercise routine out of the tank and keep that extra weight off!
Dogs with Joint Problems
This is another category of dogs that we touched upon when talking about senior dogs. Dogs with arthritis, joint wear and tear, joint deformation, dysplasia, etc. can all benefit from a well-monitored hydrotherapy routine. With the right program, these dogs can maintain a great level of fitness without putting too much stress on damaged or aching joints. As they continue with regular sessions, these dogs are able to build up muscle which help to support injured joints (just like strength exercises do in people with arthritis!) This added support will help to slow down the degeneration of joints and relieve swelling, pain, and irritation caused by traditional exercise.
Dog’s Recovering From Certain Surgical Procedures
Here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we often have our canine clients come to see us post-CCL repair surgery for hydrotherapy. This is because after the specified rest period after surgery, it’s important for these dogs to begin moving again to prevent stiffness, lameness, and atrophy. Water therapy is a great way for these dogs to get moving again because it allows for light exercise without the full weight of your dog’s body being applied to an area that was recently operated on. Under vet supervision, this type of exercise allows for strength building and movement without overtaxing the body and without stretching the limits of any surgical interventions that may have been implemented – for example, the “line” used in some CCL repair surgeries which can break if put under too much stress.
A Professional Assessment
Ultimately only a qualified veterinarian can determine whether or not water-based therapy is a good fit for your dog but using the information above, you can certainly determine whether it’s worth discussing it with one of our North Raleigh vets!
Are You Looking For Dogs Hydrotherapy Services in Raleigh?
If you’ve been looking for dogs hydrotherapy services in Raleigh with individual sessions that are conducted under the supervision of qualified and experienced veterinary staff, it’s time to pay us a visit here at Leesville Animal Hospital. Our North Raleigh vet clinic offers single hydrotherapy sessions and multiple session discounts! To find out more, give us a call today at (919)870-7000 to schedule a time to sit down with our vets and talk about your dog water therapy needs.