Animal Rehabilitation

Hydro Treadmill for Dogs

What are the benefits of hydro treadmill exercise for dogs?

Hydro treadmill exercise for dogs involves the use of a specialised treadmill that is submerged in water, allowing your dog to exercise while supported by the buoyancy of the water. Here are some of the benefits of this type of exercise:

1. Low impact: The buoyancy of the water helps reduce the impact of exercise on your dog’s joints, making it an ideal solution for dogs with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other joint conditions.

2. Increased range of motion: Water provides resistance, which can help increase your dog’s range of motion and improve their flexibility.

3. Cardiovascular conditioning: Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout, and the underwater treadmill allows your dog to engage in this type of exercise without the need to actually swim.

4. Weight loss: For overweight or obese dogs, hydro treadmill exercise can be an effective tool for weight loss. The resistance of the water makes the exercise more challenging and helps burn more calories.

5. Rehabilitation: If your dog has suffered an injury or undergone surgery, hydro treadmill exercise can be an effective form of rehabilitation. The water provides a low-impact environment that can support your dog’s recovery.

Dog getting physiotherapy treatment with underwater treadmill at RehabVet

How do you introduce a dog to an hydro treadmill?​

Here are some steps at RehabVet when introducing your dog to an hydro treadmill:

1. Familiarise them with the treadmill: Before turning on the treadmill, let your dog sniff and explore the machine. Encourage them to step on it and get comfortable with the sensation of standing on the moving belt.

2. Start slow: Start the treadmill at a slow speed and let your dog walk on it for a short period of time. Use positive reinforcement such as treats or praise to reward them for their good behavior and keep them comfortable.

3. Gradually increase speed and duration: As your dog becomes more comfortable with the treadmill, gradually increase the speed and duration of their exercise sessions. This will help them build endurance and strength over time.

4. Always supervise: It’s important to always supervise your dog when they’re using the underwater treadmill. Keep a close eye on their behavior and adjust the speed and duration of their workout as needed.

What safety precautions RehabVet will take when using a hydro treadmill for dogs?​

A dog receiving aquatic therapy to help with a spinal injury.

1. Consult with hydrotherapist: Before starting any new exercise program, it’s important to ensure your dog is healthy enough for this type of exercise. They may also have specific recommendations based on your dog’s breed, age, and medical history.

2. Supervision: Hydrotherapist at RehabVet always supervise your dog while they are using the underwater treadmill. This will not only ensure the proper use of the equipment, but also allow you to quickly intervene if any issues arise.

3. Adjust the water level: Depending on your dog’s size and ability, we may need to adjust the water level in the treadmill. Too much water can be dangerous, as it can cause your dog to struggle or panic. Not enough water can also be problematic, as it may put too much pressure on your dog’s joints.

4. Use a harness: It’s important to use a properly fitting harness to keep your dog secure while they are using the underwater treadmill. This will also allow us to control their movement and keep them from slipping or falling.

5. Start slow: When introducing your dog to the hydro treadmill, we will start with short sessions and slow speeds. Gradually increase the time and intensity as your dog becomes more comfortable and confident.

Does hydro treadmill exercise help to reduce joint pain in dogs?​

Research has shown that hydro treadmill exercise as part of hydrotherapy is an effective way to reduce joint pain and stiffness in dogs. This type of exercise involves the use of a water-filled tank with a treadmill on the bottom. As your dog walks on the treadmill, they are surrounded by water up to their chest or neck, depending on the depth of the tank.

The buoyancy of the water supports your dog’s weight, reducing the amount of pressure on their joints. Additionally, the water resistance provides a gentle, low-impact workout that helps to strengthen their muscles and improve their range of motion.

Hydro treadmill exercise can be particularly beneficial for dogs with conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and spinal injuries. It can also be useful for post-operative rehabilitation, as it promotes healing without putting undue stress on the surgical site.

dog smiling in under water treadmill at rehabvet