Did you ever notice that most of us pet parents take better care of our pets than we do ourselves!? Whether it’s veterinary care or alternative medicine and therapies, my pets have always received everything available to ensure their good health and longevity. The most recent case in point is taking my 12 1/2 years young Coonhound, Gus, for some Canine Hydrotherapy!
Canine Hydrotherapy is different than Canine Recreational Swimming in that it is a controlled slow and deliberate swim in warm (90 degree) water guided by the therapist. There is no launching into the water or full on racing from one end of the pool to the other… which is great fun and fantastic exercise for many dogs, but not appropriate for others.
The benefits of swimming and moving in water on the physical body are well known and have been used for centuries. Water provides an increased resistance to movement. Five minutes of swimming is equivalent to about a five mile run. The buoyancy of water also supports and lessens stress on joints and encourages freer movement. I discovered the incredible benefits of water therapy after I injured my knee in a skiing incident many years ago.
WARM WATER SWIM THERAPY…
- INCREASES circulation, endurance, flexibility, range of motion, balance, coordination, body awareness, and muscle strength.
- DECREASES swelling, and inflammation.
- LOOSENS up tight muscles.
- RELAXES the body and mind. And,
- BUILDS confidence.
There are many conditions where utilizing hydrotherapy can be extremely beneficial like:
- Pre AND Post surgery
- Joint injury/lameness
- Hip/elbow dysplasia
- Spinal injuries
- Circulatory problems
- Mobility issues
- Arthritic conditions
- Weight reduction
- Chronic pain
I would not say Gus is a “water dog,” but he does enjoy swimming or fetching a stick on occasion. I decided to give hydrotherapy a try recently as Gus has had some intermittent limping and lameness issues…usually after ripping around the yard with the “Zoomies” acting like a puppy, but soon after realizing he is a senior dog… much as I hate to admit that!
We arrived at The SandDancer Canine Swim Fitness Center located in Orchard Park, NY, to find a very lovely and calming owner, Mary Beth Glatz, waiting to settle us in. We went over some guidelines and rules (no eating at least three hours before, no launching into pool, doctors release required, etc.), signed our paperwork and then began our session. Gus was fitted with a flotation device as all of the dogs are required to wear one during their swim session. I sat on the pool stairs with my feet in the water which is recommended so your pet will be more at ease and relaxed. And, Mary Beth uses yummy cheese and toys to encourage the dogs through the process.
Gus did extremely well and really bonded with Mary Beth (not that I was surprised by my little Angel LOL!). I was so amazed to see how relaxed he was after a very short time with her. But, that is a big part of the Hydrotherapy… physical and emotional healing. He was only in the water for about 30 minutes total, but that is all that is needed due to the water resistance and the warm temperature of the water.
I honestly can’t wait until our next session! I just need to work a little more on my old body and mind LOL! For more information on Canine Hydrotherapy and SandDancer Canine Swim Fitness go to: http://www.wwetdog.com. Make sure to mention Gus & Kelly referred you as Mary Beth offers a great referral system ($10 off a swim session for each referral!!). All Good. :-)