Canine Hydrotherapy Can Be Great For Your Aging Dog

September 5, 2017


As you know, Help’EmUp is all about helping older dogs who have mobility issues, either temporarily because they are recovering from an injury or permanently due to old age. Our dog harness is perfect for dogs who need help getting up from the floor, in and out of the car or who suffer from hip dysplasia, arthritis, muscle atrophy and more.

Another great way to treat chronic conditions, help with post-operative recovery or to help your senior dog get much needed exercise is through canine hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy means “Water healing” in Greek and dogs can benefit as much as humans.

Water therapy is non weight bearing and low impact, meaning it is easier on dog’s muscles and joints. Water creates a certain buoyancy versus pounding on a hard pavement. Every step a dog takes on land causes a shock wave that is absorbed by all limbs, muscles, and joints, causing pressure. Hydrotherapy allows for muscles to be strengthened without the harmful impact. Because water creates resistance, muscles have to work harder than they do on land.

What is Canine Hydrotherapy?
Canine hydrotherapy is conducted in a heated pool or spa either at home if you have one or at a rehabilitation center. Although it is obvious, the first thing is to make sure your dog knows how to swim. If not, a canine life jacket may be required.
Depending on what the dog is there for will determine the amount of time in the pool and forms of exercises that may be suggested.  A dog should never be left alone even if it knows how to swim because he/she could easily panic. Therapy sessions generally last between 15 minutes to one hour.

Even if your dog is healthy or at the puppy stage, fetching a tennis ball thrown in the water is both fun and safe!  Studies have shown a quality 5-minute swim, is equivalent to approximately a 5-mile walk, without pain and other negative side effects.
Additionally, swimming can help to relax dogs and not exacerbate any existing conditions. It’s ideal for senior dogs who may not be able to take long walks anymore!

What Dogs Can Benefit From Hydrotherapy?
Dogs with the following conditions should see the most improvement:

  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Gait Modification
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Neurological conditions such as degenerative myelopathy (DM), spinal stenosis, spinal injury/trauma/shock, disco spondylitis, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathies
    Pre and post-operative surgery for hip replacement, arthroscopy, patella luxation, cranial cruciate rupture
  • Obesity
  • Soft tissue injuries from fractures, ligament strain, muscle strain, tendinitis
    Other Advantages of canine hydrotherapy:
  • Helps to speed recovery after surgery by improving muscle tone and promoting tissue repair
  • Slows the progression of chronic conditions
  • Relieves pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Alleviates muscle spasms
  • Improves range of motion
  • Improves circulation to the muscles by increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients and flushing away waste products
  • Aids in cardio fitness
  • Facilitates post-operative exercise of muscles while nerve regeneration may be taking place
    Enables obese dogs to exercise without putting excessive weight on their joints

If you want your dog to return to prior fitness levels after surgery, your local animal hospital may suggest hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy can be a safe and effective forms of exercise that most dogs love! If you have a pool at home, both your dog and you can get some great exercise!

At QK we have a very sophisticated Hudson Aquatics Underwater Treadmill for dogs!  Our sessions start at only $25 per hydro workout for all of our in house boarding and training dogs.  We also offer packages for bundles of sessions.  Most individual sessions average between $35 and $50 based on duration.  A package of 10 sessions is $350. Contact (Kara) for details or to book your next session!

My own Labrador Retriever Treat underwent TPLO surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament this past February at a top orthopedic vet in Jacksonville Florida. They sent me home with a Help ‘em Up Harness and it was a lifesaver with Treat’s rehab. The harness allowed me to help her up the stairs, into my car and simply to get around during her recovery. It is one of the best harnesses on the market!
QK plans to be offering these harnesses to our clients soon! Check them out: