Hydrotherapy has been used for many years as a form of exercise for humans, horses and, more recently, dogs. It is an intensive form of controlled exercise in a virtually weight-free environment. Swimming and massage or gentle stretching involves the use of almost all the muscles required for movement without the repeated jarring or joints caused by walking or running. The warm water and increased range of limb movements enhances circulation which, in turn, reduces pain, inflammation and stiffness. For these reasons alone, swimming is ideal exercise for lame, injured, arthritic or over-weight dogs as well as being able to aid pre & post-operative dogs.
In fit dogs, swimming can be used as a supplementary form of exercise to improve strength and stamina, both of which are very important in working dogs. Once a dog is used to swimming, the majority enjoy it, whilst at the same time improving their fitness. Stronger, toned muscles help to protect dogs against injuries during normal exercise or whilst training and competing in more demanding sports such as agility and flyball.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
- Builds and maintains muscle mass
- Relief of pain, swelling and stiffness
- Stress free support to muscles and joints with low-level impact
- Increases range of muscle movement and joint mobilisation
- Improves cardio vascular fitness
- Improves a dogs mental state