Rehab Exercises

Hydrotherapy for Dogs is a Form of Pet Physical Therapy

Underwater Treadmill for the Health of a Dog

Dogs in Water and on a Treadmill

Any form of hydrotherapy for dogs whether in a pool or underwater treadmill, is pet physical therapy. An underwater treadmill is very beneficial if used in the right fashion and with trained professional hydrotherapists. Canine hydrotherapy or as some call it aquatic therapy, is one of the most amazing methods of physical therapy for your dog.

The potential uses of hydrotherapy for dogs are huge. Many of them being:

  • Rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans, fractures of sorts, cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, hip joint replacement
  • Neurological injuries
  • after intervertebral disk surgery
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy
  • Muscle strengthening
  • Arthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Hip Dysplasia

    What are we waiting for?

    There are certain conditions hydrotherapy is not recommended for as a physical rehabilitation modality. These would fall into the category of:

  • Heart disease
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Open or weeping surgical wounds
  • Infections
  • Infectious skin diseases or other infections

 

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Why is Dog Massage Needed

There are Four Common Stress Areas in Dogs

Dogs and their Muscles Need Massage Therapy

There are four common stress areas in dogs, these areas being where several muscle groups attach. When a dog is performing any intense physical exercise, these areas will show tension varying from mild tightness to chronic contracture to even spasms. When a dog is recovery from injuries or surgery, there will be compensating muscle tension on the other limbs, the back and the neck.

The four common stress points are:

  • head and neck
  • shoulders and forelimbs
  • back and rib cage
  • hind quarters and hind legs

A dog uses its head to balance the rest of their body. We can witness this by watching when a dog runs; the downward swing of the head helps propel the rear legs off the ground as the dog runs forward. When a dog plays tug of war there is a huge  amount of strain being placed on the entire rest of the body as well as the neck area. You can start to see how dog massage can really help these robust beings!

For proper athletic performance a dog requires… Continue reading

The Truth About Hydrotherapy for Dogs

Hydrotherapy for Dogs is Powerful

Here’s Startling Proof of How Dog Hydrotherapy Works

Every once in a while we come across someone or a dog that profoundly changes our lives. The magic in that transcends beyonds words. These are the little life lessons and teachings that come our way by angels.

One day I met such a person and such a dog, who profoundly changed my life. I didn’t think something so out of the ordinary yet so incredibly ordinary, could have tugged heartaches  from my soul. But it did. It did because I witnessed a miraculous recovery and such enormous love between a guardian and her companion dog. This is what hydrotherapy and love is all about. About never giving up on those you love and being there for them all the way down the line.

I cannot emphasize enough how hydrotherapy can be life altering for people and dogs. Witness this for yourself…it will change your life!

A Story About Me

To learn more and to offer your companion all that you can, check out my e-book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

 

How to Stretch a Dog

Safely and effectively stretch your dog

 Five basic guidelines to follow:

The following is an excerpt from Chapter Two, on Holistic Dog Care, from my e-book, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs”

• “The muscles should be warm. By increasing the blood flow to the muscles, the tissues get heated up. This in turn lubricates the joints and prevents injuries. It also provides the best stretch and increased range of motion. Warming up the muscle can be done by exercising for a short period first. Over time the joint integrity decreases and so this is very important for older dogs. An excellent exercise for this is swimming, but if that is not possible a short ten minute walk outside or on a treadmill will do.

• The muscles should be completely relaxed. The muscle will not stretch properly unless it is completely relaxed. Make sure you are relaxed and calm when you begin, because if you are stressed or pressed for time the dog will feel it. Place your hands on the dog and stroke her/him while taking some deep breaths. The only way to get an effective stretch is to have the dog lying down. Also recognize that some of the body positions can be intimidating or threatening to certain dogs. If your dog is rigid, excessively panting, shaking, pawing, kicking, yawning, showing the whites of their eyes, licking their nose or squirming, your dog is telling you that they are either stressed, in pain or scared. Stop and give it a break. If your dog growls at you it is advised to see a veterinarian to make sure everything is medically okay.

• The joint needs to be stabilized. If the bones are held properly, it sends a message to the brain that the joint is secure and the muscles can now relax. To achieve this you have to hold the bones above and below the joint confidently and steadily.

• Stretch the limbs using a straight plain movement. This is achieved by holding the long bones of the limbs in alignment with the joint. By stretching in this fashion we prevent injuring the dog by stretching something we never intended to, like the medial ligaments of the stifle. This is very important for the stifle joint and the hip joint. With the frequency of hip dysplasia, patellar luxation and cruciate ligament tears, it places both of these joints at a risk for injury. If your dog has underlying conditions do not stretch them until you have gained clearance from your veterinarian.

• The stretch of the muscle needs to be held for at least 30 seconds. By holding it this long it reaches both the elastic and non-elastic fibers of the muscle. After the 30 seconds of stretching, the fibers will return to their natural state and the integrity of the joint and the muscles surrounding it will be improved.

The following are maintenance stretching routines for a healthy dog…”

You can read more on stretching your dog, along with pictures demonstrating how, in my e-book ,  “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

Hydrotherapy for dogs monitoring

We all know that any exercise program needs a warm up session and a cool down session. In the case of dog hydrotherapy it is the same. This can be as simple as the exercise starting out slowly and increasing in intensity  and then slowing again before it ends. For particular conditions, it can be massage, stretching or land-based exercises, during rest breaks or between bouts of exercise.

With the underwater treadmill, the intensity of the exercise is controlled through the depth of the water and the speed at which the dog is walking. With swimming in dog hydrotherapy pools, the intensity is controlled by the number of laps swum before a rest time, the rest time and the use of a bouyancy vest.

The duration of the treatment time is affected by the following:

  • the dog’s prior experience with water
  • anxiety
  • age
  • weight
  • pre-existing conditions
  • recent surgery
  • previous fitness level

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Hydrotherapy types

Dog Pools for canine hydrotherapy come in many forms

Well, brace yourself, there are so many types of hydrotherapy for dogs available than ever imagined! Everyone has different needs and styles, and while some work for others, some just don’t work at all. The type of hydrotherapy program for your dog will be determined by:

  •  the assessment
  •  the findings
  •  the size of the animal
  •  the equipment available
  •  and what your goals are

For very small animals, there are a number of different hydrotherapy methods which can be used. Some will be more effective than others, and some may not really work at all. The following is a list of what these might entail:

  • sink
  • bathtub
  • whirlpool
  • children’s wading pool
  • beach
  • dam
  • lake
  • river
  • above-ground or in-ground human swimming pools
  • purpose-built dog pools
  • underwater treadmills

For larger animals there is a smaller selection to choose from: Continue reading

Hydrotherapy Dog Story

This is one of the most amazing stories I want to talk about! I have witnessed two dogs, one in particular, that went from barely being able to walk for any amount of time, to practically running around in circles and walking with minimal difficulty! This is so incredible given the dog’s health condition and circumstances.

I created a video of this dog in my hydrotherapy for dogs section on this website. It is listed under neurological conditions, and is the beginning of Norman’s canine rehabilitation program. I am working on releasing the new video as a follow up to the first one so people can truly see what happens when hydrotherapy for dogs is a consistent regime, and used as a form of therapy.

Some incredible points with this dog: Continue reading

Dogs in a Pool

Hydrotherapy for dogs is a great way to manage all sorts of health ailments. Whether you beloved family member is suffering with dog arthritis or is an older dog that has just slowed down with age, swimming will increase their mobility. Hydrotherapy will also have them feeling years younger than they are!

Dogs in a pool will each vary as to how great they float or sink! I can truly attest to that when I have witnessed dogs who just cannot keep their rear end up and float in the water. Then there are those canines who glide like an eel, ever so smoothly amongst the surface! How can there be such a difference?!

Here are some reasons: Continue reading

Hydrotherapy Aids

Hydrotherapy has been used for horses many years ago. Horses were conditioned and healed by walking in water. Now it has become the norm for the community to utilize this method of treatment for dogs. I am really glad for this!

Canine hydrotherapy is becoming more and more recognized as an alternative method of treatment that has great results. In a pool a dog has no pain when they are moving about. In an underwater treadmill, there is a percentage of weight on the limbs, although the percentages are controlled by the level of the water. On land, all the joints have full weight placed upon them and the dog is mobilizing with pain.

There are numerous different pieces of equipment that can be utilized when an animal is in the water. Some will reduce the effort that they have to expend and some will increase the effort. Read on for a list of them: Continue reading

Hydrotherapy for Dogs

I can’t help but talk about how hydrotherapy does such amazingly wonderful things for our pets! This has got to be one of the greatest alternative treatments for dogs!

Hydrotherapy for dogs is helping canines with so many different health issues, I am surprised that the industry hasn’t thought of it sooner. I have helped countless dogs in the pool with a variety of different disorders. It is most rewarding helping  and seeing a dog recover fully after doing sessions with you in the pool. What a sense of accomplishment. The trust you build with them and  the connection goes beyond words.

I have dealt with the following:

Hydrotherapy in a pool lets you really connect with the dog. They put their total trust into you when you help them in that environment. Knowing just how vulnerable they are when you take them in the water, and how their whole well-being relies on you, is incredible. Canine hydrotherapy has made a world of difference to so many dogs’ lives and their guardians. I am very dedicated to hydrotherapy for dogs and discuss all the possibilities with it in my ebook, “The Ultimate Rehabilition & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs.” Continue reading