How Underwater Treadmill Therapy Can Help Your Dog

If your dog has certain conditions or injuries, then  they may benefit from an underwater treadmill. Humans have used this therapy to aid in a variety of joint and muscle issues, and it can benefits dogs too.

With this type of therapy, your dog could improve muscle tone and limb use with less risk of reinjury. Here is more information about how hydrotherapy on an underwater treadmill works, its uses, and which dogs respond best.

How Does Hydrotherapy Work With an Underwater Treadmill?

Hydrotherapy is a term that refers to therapy that involves water. The term includes exercise like swimming and walking underwater. With an underwater treadmill, your dog is uses a machine that is submerged under various levels of water. The amount of water used depends on your dog’s therapeutic needs.

During therapy, the water temperature and turbulence are adjusted to best suit your dog’s condition. Higher turbulence creates more resistance and a harder cardiovascular workout. This turbulence may be increased as your dog heals.or as their condition improves. Most dogs will start off with a forward walk at a slow speed but may move up to faster speeds as they improve. Some dogs may also benefit from a backward walk.

What Conditions Can Underwater Treadmills Treat?

An underwater treadmill offers relief for a wide variety of muscular and skeletal conditions. However, some healthy dogs may benefit from this therapy as well. If you have an athletic or working dog, then an underwater treadmill helps soothe sore muscles. This can make it easier to regain strength after a period of idleness. Underwater therapy is most commonly used for the following reasons.

Pre-Surgery Strengthening

Strengthening your dog’s muscles and tendons before surgery could help your dog’s muscles and tissues heal faster. You should consider underwater treadmill therapy both before and after surgery.

Age-Related Arthritis

When your dog uses an underwater treadmill, the water gives extra support that takes pressure off the joints.  This allowsolder or more arthritic dogs  toexercise with less pain and discomfort.

Unusual Gait

Some dogs will favor a leg and refuse to use it on dry land. This often leads to muscle atrophy, further worsening the problem. However, they are often willing to use the leg on an underwater treadmill. If your dog favors a leg, then  they could potentially strengthen that leg on an underwater treadmill and use it normally again.

Gentle Conditioning

Overweight dogs, or ones that have joint and muscle problems, do better with the water’s support.  This can help dogs get back into good condition in a way that is safe and gentle on their bodies.

Work Recovery

If your dog is athletic and hard-working, then an underwater treadmill is a great way to keep your dog in condition without further damage to the joints. Your veterinarian can design sessions to give your dog exceptional cardiovascular benefits.

How Long Should Dogs Use an Underwater Treadmill?

Your dog’s rehabilitation team will make the best determination of how long the therapy is needed. Once the condition has improved significantly or is completely healed, your dog may no longer need the therapy.

Some dogs, especially older dogs with long-term issues, may benefit from regular therapy for the rest of their lives.  Dogs that engage in heavy exercise or work may benefit from occasional underwater treadmill use as well.

Therapy with an underwater treadmill could be the perfect option for your dog. When you bring your dog to 1st Pet Veterinary Centers,  they will be evaluated to make sure they are a good underwater treadmill candidate. Call us or use our website form to schedule an appointment.