The Doggy Times

The Benefits of Canine Hydrotherapy for Your Dog’s Wellbeing

By March 10, 2024No Comments
Beautie my dog at Hydrotherapy_DoggyWarriors

The benefits of canine hydrotherapy are immense. Canine hydrotherapy, once a niche therapy reserved for rehabilitation, is now becoming a more mainstream approach for enhancing the overall wellbeing of our furry companions. DoggyWarriors’ very own Beautie was introduced to it last year at the Yorkshire Canine Therapy Centre as she is around 11 years old and has started to show signs of ageing.

Aside from her advancing years, the fact that she only has three legs (new article on how to provide care for a three legged dog coming soon) means there’s a lot more strain being put on the rest of her body – so we’ve always been working on ways to help Beautie, and when we discovered this relatively new type of treatment, we thought that it would be a great way to turn it up a notch.

This water-based therapy, whether in a pool or underwater treadmill, offers a myriad of benefits that extend beyond just physical rehabilitation. I’m super happy with the results so far and I thought it would be a good idea to share some insights into how Hydrotherapy works, along with the advantages it provides for our dogs.

1. Physical rehabilitation and injury recovery

Canine hydrotherapy is widely recognised for its efficacy in physical rehabilitation and injury recovery. Whether a dog has undergone surgery, suffered an injury, or is coping with a chronic condition like arthritis, hydrotherapy provides a low-impact environment that promotes muscle strengthening and joint flexibility. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints, allowing dogs to exercise without placing excessive strain on their bodies. The controlled environment enables targeted rehabilitation, aiding in a faster recovery process.

2. Weight management and fitness improvement

Just like in humans, obesity is a growing concern among dogs, leading to various health issues like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and certain cancers. Canine hydrotherapy serves as an excellent tool for weight management and overall fitness improvement. The resistance provided by water makes every movement more challenging, thereby engaging muscles and burning calories – this all helps your dog to maintain a healthy weight while also reducing the risk of obesity-related ailments.

3. Enhanced cardiovascular health

Hydrotherapy engages the cardiovascular system, promoting improved circulation and heart health in dogs. The water resistance encourages the heart to work more efficiently, strengthening its muscles and enhancing blood flow. This increased circulation aids in oxygen delivery to cells and removal of waste products, contributing to overall cardiovascular fitness. Regular hydrotherapy sessions can be particularly beneficial for senior dogs, helping to stave off age-related cardiovascular issues.

4. Stress reduction and behavioural benefits

As hard as it may be to believe, beyond the physical advantages, canine hydrotherapy offers profound mental and emotional benefits. As with humans, water has a calming effect on many canines, making hydrotherapy an effective stress-relief tool. This is because the soothing properties of water create a positive and enjoyable experience for dogs, which can be especially beneficial for those with anxiety or behavioural issues.

5. Improved range of motion and flexibility

Hydrotherapy’s unique environment allows dogs to move their limbs through a full range of motion, promoting flexibility and preventing stiffness. This is particularly valuable for dogs with conditions like hip dysplasia or arthritis, as the warm water helps to relax muscles and ease joint discomfort. Over time, the increased range of motion achieved through hydrotherapy contributes to enhanced mobility and a better quality of life for dogs dealing with joint-related challenges.

6. Enhanced Healing and Reduced Inflammation

The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on a dog’s joints, providing a gentle environment for healing. Additionally, the hydrostatic pressure exerted by water helps to reduce swelling and inflammation in injured or sore areas. This can accelerate the healing process and alleviate pain, making hydrotherapy a valuable addition to veterinary care. Whether recovering from surgery or managing a chronic condition, the anti-inflammatory effects of hydrotherapy can contribute to a more comfortable and speedy recovery.

7. Longevity and quality of life

By addressing both physical and mental wellbeing, canine hydrotherapy plays a pivotal role in enhancing a dog’s overall quality of life. The benefits extend beyond immediate improvements, contributing to increased longevity. Dogs that undergo regular hydrotherapy not only usually recover from injuries faster but also experience improved health and vitality – allowing them to lead fulfilling lives well into their senior years.

As you can see, canine hydrotherapy can be hugely beneficial to dogs that may be requiring some much-needed extra treatment. If nothing else, it gives dog guardians another avenue of support to explore, and one that can really help with managing weight to promoting cardiovascular health, reducing stress and enhancing flexibility. Beautie and I are a big fan!

Make sure to do your research though. Ensure you find a therapist who is qualified and registered, as the industry lacks proper regulation.


Please note: The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as professional advice and should not be construed as such. Always consult with a qualified veterinarian or animal behaviorist for advice tailored to your pet’s specific needs and circumstances. Any recommendations or suggestions provided in this article should be verified and approved by a licensed professional before implementation. We do not assume any liability for the use or misuse of the information provided herein.