Swim therapy, or hydrotherapy, is not something new to humans, and it has been used as an alternative treatment for animals with certain health problems. If your dog has certain health issues such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, or foot pain or is either recovering from surgery or getting ready for surgery, then you might want to consider swim therapy as part of his treatment. This therapy has a wide variety of benefits for dogs with these conditions including the following mentioned below.
It helps with weight control:
When your dog is not active, he may gain weight which can often makes their problems worse. Water helps takes off some of the weight and allows your dog to move around without putting pressure on the joints. This helps the dog either keep from gaining weight or helps take some of the extra weight off possibly providing some relief.
It builds muscle tone:
Swimming helps build muscle and keeps muscles from deteriorating after certain types of surgery or injuries. When muscles get stronger, it helps support the rest of the skeletal system and the joints. Swimming might also assist with a better range of muscle rotation and loosen stiff muscles. This may lead to better overall functioning and flexibility.
It helps strengthen the cardiovascular system:
Vigorous swimming helps improve your dog's breathing and circulation. The weight of the water provides resistance enough so that your dog gets a good workout. The warm water used in swim therapy helps keep the blood vessels dilated, allowing for better blood flow. This also may mean better nutrient and oxygen flow to various parts of the body.
Other things to consider:
If swim therapy sounds like something you would like to try, talk to your veterinarian before doing anything. Make sure that this therapy is only done by a trained professional. This type of therapy is more than simply taking your dog out on a swim. If your dog hasn't been exercising regularly, then he may not have the strength to swim and will need help and close monitoring. Also, make sure your dog doesn't have any open wounds or skin infections and that they don't have any serious heart and lung problems.
When you're ready to try swim therapy, contact a veterinarian to begin the treatment. Swim therapy is done in different ways depending on your dog's health issues and the facility's equipment. Most swim therapy is done either on an underwater treadmill or by swimming against powerful jets. While it is not a cure-all for every health problem, many dog owners claim they see a difference in their pet soon after starting treatment.
For more information, contact a specialist in animal therapy.