Hydrotherapy for dogs carries with it many incredible benefits and fortunately for us, here at Leesville Animal Hospital, we have one of the only units in-house for hydrotherapy for dogs in Raleigh NC! This allows us to see the benefits of supervised hydrotherapy for dogs firsthand. For those of you who have not been fortunate enough to see the incredible things that hydrotherapy for dogs can do, we’ve compiled a list of some of the things that we have witnessed in our hydrotherapy dogs here at our Raleigh animal hospital!
10 Benefits of Hydrotherapy for Dogs
1. Weight Loss
When your dog is overweight it is not just unhealthy for their heart, but it’s also incredibly unhealthy for their joints. Just like us, when our dog’s joints are forced to carry around excessive weight they become sore and experience unnatural wear and tear. Hydrotherapy is a great benefit to dogs that are overweight because it provides an exercise option that doesn’t require them to hold up their entire body weight. The buoyancy of the water supports your overweight dog while they exercise to lose weight so they are getting the benefits of exercise without the aches and pains that being overweight causes in their joints.
2. Joint-Friendly Exercise
Joint-friendly exercise isn’t just for overweight dogs either. Hydrotherapy for dogs is a great means of exercise for dogs with joint problems like arthritis. Not only does the buoyancy of the water avoid your dog’s joints having to support their entire body weight, but the heat of the water soothes aching joints and reduces swelling to reduce pain.
If your dog is a water fan (we’re especially talking about you, Labradors!), hydrotherapy for dogs offers your pup a chance to have fun swimming despite the chilly winter temperatures outside! The moving treadmill in our hydrotherapy tank provides adjustable levels of exercise so no matter how much energy your pup has to burn, they can do it safely in clean, warm water under the supervision of our hydrotherapy staff!
4. Improved Digestion
Hydrotherapy can help to improve your dog’s digestion too because as your dog exercises their blood flow increases and this increased blood flow to the muscles of the digestive tract keep things moving along smoothly! So, if your dog experiences regular constipation, hydrotherapy could be just the ticket to get things moving again! Just be sure not to feed your dog right before their canine hydrotherapy session!
5. Safe Rehabilitation
It can be difficult to tackle rehabilitation in dogs when an injury occurs to their limbs. It’s important to balance healing with healthy exercise that prevents muscle wasting. For example, dogs that undergo CCL repair must get back into the habit of using their affected knee after a short period of healing. It’s important that strength building exercise doesn’t injure the newly operated on joint, however. Hydrotherapy is beneficial in this circumstance because it provides buoyancy so your dog isn’t supporting their entire weight on the repaired knee joint but also because the soothing heat of the water can help to promote blood flow and increase healing time.
6. Strength Building
As our dog’s age, they tend to lose muscle mass, particularly in their hind end as a result of reduced levels of activity and the aging process. Over their senior years, this muscle wasting can become so severe that older dogs even have trouble just getting to their feet. It’s important to maintain healthy levels of activity in your dog to prevent severe muscle wasting, but if you have already noticed muscle wasting and some weakness in your dog’s hindquarters come on in and see one of our vets and discuss a dog hydrotherapy plan that will help to rebuild that strength and give your senior back some of their independence.
7. Heart Health
Did you know that hydrotherapy for dogs is also beneficial to their heart health? Just like humans, dogs cardiac systems benefit from exercise and during the colder months, a warm canine hydrotherapy tank is the perfect way to exercise! Just think of our hydrotherapy tank as a human gym – it lets your dog get heart-healthy exercise in winter without having to face long walks in biting winds! It also comes with the added benefit of hot-tub like warmth!
If your dog is an athlete or if you have noticed a reduction in their endurance as they have aged, hydrotherapy for dogs is a great solution to improving or maintaining endurance! Through monitored exercise in our hydro tank for dogs, your dog will be able to build up their endurance a little at a time without the risk of pushing too hard, too fast. If your dog already has a great level of endurance, hydrotherapy during the winter months can help to keep them in tip-top shape!
9. Improved Range of Motion
Whether your dog has suffered an injury that limited their range of motion, underwent a procedure that affected their range of motion, or has lost range of motion as they have aged, hydrotherapy can help with that too! The warmth of the water in the hydrotherapy tank helps to keep muscles warm and limber allowing your dog to improve their range of motion safely and comfortably.
10. Improved Circulation
A nice warm hydrotherapy tank is also the perfect way to improve your dog’s circulation! As the blood vessels dilate due to an increase in body temperature, your dog’s blood flow increases and that results in better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the bodily systems and removing waste products.
Interested in Seeing the Benefits of Hydrotherapy for Dogs Firsthand?
If you are interested in seeing the benefits of hydrotherapy for dogs firsthand, we encourage you to book your dog in for a hydrotherapy session at our Raleigh dog hydrotherapy facility. Not only will your dog reap the benefits of supervised hydrotherapy, but they will also get a chance to burn off a little extra energy without the cold winter chill nipping at their joints! To make your appointment for our hydrotherapy for dogs service, just call us today at (919)870-7000!