“Hydrotherapy benefits all dogs but can have an especially dramatic effect on senior dogs, providing a painless and fun means of exercise and movement” Martha Pease explains in an article titled “Physical Therapy for Senior Dogs.”
Senior dogs can utilize both underwater treadmills and swimming pools for aquatic exercise, with each providing unique benefits. When walking on an underwater treadmill, such as the AquaPaws SS or the AquaPaws JR, functional gait/ambulation is promoted. When utilizing an AquaPools K9 for swimming, dogs benefit from moving their legs in a different manner. This can result in increased range of motion and stretching of joints and muscles. In each setting, you can stimulate movement and work with patterning to retrain correct limb usage.
Muscles are used differently in water than on land, which can help with coordination, neuromuscular retraining and stretching of soft tissues, which is especially important as dogs age.
The natural properties of water provide multiple benefits that allow geriatric dogs to exercise, pain free, in an aquatic medium.
- Resistance – The resistance of movement in water allows senior dogs to strengthen muscles and joints without increased pain.
- Temperature – The warm water temperatures soothe sore joints and muscles and help dogs to relax.
- Buoyancy – Buoyancy proves to be the most beneficial property of water for geriatric dogs for the following reasons:
- – Decreasing weight bearing stress on joints allows for pain free movement.
- – Being unweighted in the water allows for neurologically impaired dogs, who can’t support themselves against gravity, to get the exercise they need.
Hydrotherapy is often an ongoing program to maintain a dog’s health. Overall results experienced from utilizing aquatic therapy are improved quality of life, and often a longer life for patients.
Hudson Aquatic Systems is the industry leader in manufacturing canine underwater treadmill systems and therapy pools. Learn more about the features and benefits of the AquaPaws Jr, AquaPaws SS, and AquaPools K9.