As you probably know, the term hydrotherapy has to do with the use of water for the treatment of certain illness or injury. The benefits of hydrotherapy are not just limited to humans, as dogs and other animals can also benefit, hence the Dog Hydrotherapy. For dog hydrotherapy, it involves allowing a dog to take part in a controlled swimming exercise, which is beneficial to muscle, joints, and limbs in the process of recovering from injury.
Apart from been effective in rehabilitation, dog hydrotherapy has eventually been proven to help keep dogs fit and relaxed following the benefits derived from the workout – swimming. Since the animal (dog) is weightless when swimming, hydrotherapy helps to relieve, strengthen and retrain muscles by encouraging a full range of joint moving, thereby improving muscle tone with no stress on damaged tissues.
Why Dog Hydrotherapy?
Dog injuries generally require immobilization of the affected area, and this could be the leg as it is in most cases. After a few days of immobilization, the muscles in the affected area start to lose strength as a result of inactivity. After the immobilization is period is over, the muscles require strength again, but the muscle cannot function well due to muscle wastage.
In this case, there’s a need for muscle strengthening exercises for the dog to recuperate and walk well. But it is almost impossible for your dog to start walking and running again since the muscles and joints are weak. If the dog walks in such a situation, it could lead to recurrence of the injury.
This is why you need hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy keeps the weight of the dog off the feet. Swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise that allows for safe recovery from the joint movement and flexibility without risk.
How effective is Dog Hydrotherapy in Rehabilitation?
Dog hydrotherapy is concerned with helping dogs recover from injury through the swimming workout. The techniques have been proven to be quite effective – as it strengthens a lot of systems of the dog’s body. Here are some ways hydrotherapy impacts your dog’s body and thus its effectiveness in rehabilitation:
- Cardiovascular: Swimming is an aerobic exercise that gets the heart pumping. According to research, swimming helps increases the heart and lung capacities after a few weeks of swimming. This is critical to dogs’ recovery from injury.
- Musculoskeletal: Hydrotherapy which involves swimming strengthens the muscle, ligaments, tendons and improves joint flexibility. The muscular tone, ligament, and tendons increases intensely after swimming. Water acts as a resistance, and swimming in it forces the dog to push against it to stay afloat – this is a non-loading bearing movement and thus less stressful for the dog. This makes the rehab process for the dog effective.
- Neurological: Restricted movements of limbs in the body of dogs are most times caused by certain neurological conditions. Hydrotherapy helps to get the dog’s nerves activated to allow for better transmission in the body.
Dog hydrotherapy is quite effective in a dog’s recovery from injury. Swimming which is what hydrotherapy is all about is an excellent exercise for injured dogs to recover speedily and healthily. Hydrotherapy can also be utilized for healthy dogs to build stamina and make fit!