Hydrotherapy for Dogs: A Low Impact Exercise for Losing Weight

Do you have a dog that seems to have zero energy and his weight is creeping up as we speak? Obesity in dogs is a dangerous problem that not only can make your pet more likely to have physical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing issues or more, it can even lead to a shortened lifespan!

Veterinarians are reporting more and more overweight pets among dogs and other animals. Up to 50 percent of the dogs that are seen in the U.S. are at least a few pounds overweight. There is more to just over-feeding a dog that can cause it to be overweight, and that is the fact that dogs need exercise.

Dogs Need Exercise to Stay in Shape

Our dogs need daily exercise to keep them healthy, happy and to maintain their ideal weight. Walks are great, but if your dog can’t walk great distances due to their excess weight, or they may be an older pet that has arthritis or joint problems, there is another way to get your pet into shape – canine hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy is a documented rehabilitation treatment using water exercise and swimming exercises to help dogs when they are recovering from surgery or other injuries. It provides a good, non-impact exercise that doesn’t put pressure on sore joints or muscles. Hydrotherapy is also great for helping overweight dogs to lose weight or otherwise keep your dog in shape so he won’t get overweight.

Veterinarians have confirmed that a five minute stay in a hydrotherapy session swimming pool is the same as a human running five miles. That burns up a lot of calories, plus it can also help treat arthritis, sprains, hip dysplasia, and damage to tendons or muscles, as well as for regular maintenance style exercises to keep your dog in shape. It is a proved therapy to ease overweight dogs into a more healthy lifestyle without overtaxing their muscles or joints as they lose weight. If your pet can’t exercise normally and also needs to shape up or lose some weight, hydrotherapy is the recommended way to do it.

Benefits of Canine Hydrotherapy

Water exercises can consist of not only swimming but also walking on an underwater treadmill. The dog is normally placed into a special harness that supports their body and then lowered into a special heated pool.  These special underwater treadmills for dogs give animals that have trouble walking a way to exercise. When the dog walks against the water’s resistance, it also speeds up the rate of the burned calories, making it a better choice than other forms of exercise.

Even dogs that need help walking on their own either due to obesity or another condition, will find a freedom of movement using an underwater treadmill during hydrotherapy. Water exercise such as this has multiple benefits since the warm water supports the dog, making it a low impact procedure, and the flow of the water also helps reduce any pain or stiffness the dog may be feeling.

Obese dogs can ultimately build up their fitness level and get to a normal weight through a planned, regular exercise program in a hydrotherapy pool. It is now being widely accepted by most veterinarians, who can also recommend places that offer this service for your dog. If you believe that your dog can benefit from hydrotherapy sessions to improve his fitness level, then talk to your veterinarian at his next appointment.


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