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What is a Hydrotherapy Pool for Dogs?

If your dog is dealing with pain, mobility issues, or recovering from surgery or injury, your veterinarian may recommend canine hydrotherapy treatments. An important part of this rehabilitative therapy takes place in specialized pools. But what exactly is a hydrotherapy pool for dogs and how does it help pets heal?

Understanding Canine Hydrotherapy

Canine hydrotherapy utilizes the natural buoyancy and resistance of water to enable gentle exercise for injured, arthritic or post-operative dogs. The aquatic environment helps improve joint range of motion and muscle strength without overtaxing tender areas that may be painful on land. Hydrotherapy stimulates blood flow and reduces swelling and inflammation as well. Both warm and cold water therapy pools may be used depending on the condition being treated. Multiple scientific studies demonstrate the substantial benefits of this form of physiotherapy for the rehabilitation of dogs.

Hydrotherapy Pool Features

So what does a dedicated hydrotherapy pool for dog rehabilitation look like? Professional rehab facilities invest in specialized equipment and pools featuring characteristics like:

  • Adjustable Ramps and Lifts: Allows dogs easy entry and exit from the pools without strain and provides additional support assisting disabled pets into the water.
  • Underwater Treadmills: Allows dogs to walk comfortably in an adjustable flow of water against resistance, improving endurance and strength.
  • Variable Depth: Pools may range from very shallow for smaller dogs up to chest height depths for swimming. This accommodates patients of all sizes.
  • Water Jets and Turbo Chargers: Generates adjustable currents dogs can work against and varies the intensity of the workout.
  • Cameras & Monitoring: Allows therapist observation and direction during hydro sessions from outside the pool for safety and accuracy.
  • Warm Water Capacity: Pools may be heated anywhere from 92 to 98 degrees to encourage muscle relaxation and increase circulation.
  • Cold Water Option: Some cold water immersion facilities promote reduction of acute swelling and pain. These plunge pools are kept around 65 degrees.
  • Infection Control: Rigorous cleaning, filters and disinfectants keep pools hygienic between patients to prevent spread of bacteria.

Specialized Certified Therapists Direct Each Session

Specially trained rehabilitation therapists certified in canine hydrotherapy develop customized treatment plans and direct each pool session based on your dog’s condition and limits. They handle all the equipment and monitor your dog closely – providing toys, treats and encouragement during exercising as needed. Their expertise guides proper intensity to prevent overwork while gradually building endurance over time. Reports are provided back to the prescribing veterinarian overseeing your dog’s care so adjustments stay aligned to progress made during appointments.

Who is Hydrotherapy For?

Hydrotherapy pools cater to all types of surgical and medical cases in dogs that require rehabilitation:

  • Post-Op: Excellent for recovery therapy after surgeries like CCL repair, hip replacements and amputations by rebuilding muscle gently. Improves range of motion and function.
  • Arthritis: The water’s warmth and buoyancy reduces joint stress and discomfort so dogs can move easier, maintaining conditioning.
  • Neurological: The aquatic environment assists dogs with balance, proprioception and coordination issues by enabling them to walk straighter and strengthen limbs.
  • Geriatric/Weak: Supports and strengthens elderly, weak or debilitated dogs.
  • Obese: Water provides resistance exercise that avoids weight-bearing joint stress ideal for overweight dogs needing to work out.
  • Sport Conditioning: Maintains fitness for competitive dogs off season or post-performance injuries.

As you can see, hydrotherapy pools serve a valuable role in canine conditioning and rehabilitation. The aquatic environment allows customized therapy unavailable on land. Under the guidance of certified therapists and veterinary guidance, hydro programs help dogs recover faster from injury/surgery and manage chronic pain. Consistency is key for optimal benefits so talk to your vet about how often to schedule water therapy sessions catered to your dog’s needs. With the right pool facility, you’ll have your four-legged friend on the road to recovery in no time!

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