1. Hydrotherapy is ONLY for dogs rehabbing from an injury.
This is not true, even a little bit. Yes, pups recovering from injury benefit greatly from warm water therapy. The warm water increases circulation, especially in the injured site, and the water allows for pain-free movement. However, recovering pups are not the only ones who can greatly benefit from visiting my pool.
- I love opening up my space for reactive and aggressive Their world is greatly reduced as they are unable to be around other dogs and sometimes people. A hydrotherapy session gives them an activity where they do not have to worry about being confronted by what scares them. There is only one dog at a time, with a 15-minute buffer between sessions, so you do not have to rush to get your dog in or out for fear of an eruption. Dogs who are people aggressive are asked to wear a muzzle. Once in the water, I become useful to them, and they rarely, if ever, aggress toward me. I take my time to build their trust. I want them to know I am a safe place and nothing adverse will EVER happen to them in the spa.
- Overweight and senior pups have difficulty moving around. The extra weight or arthritis makes it hard to walk on pavement or to walk very far. The buoyancy of the water makes for a pain-free experience. The warm water increases circulation, relaxes muscles, and burns extra calories away. I must admit, pudgy paddlers, get a small treat at the end of every session. I promise not to blow their diet, but a small snack won't hurt and helps end each session on a pleasant note.
- There is no better time to start teaching your pup to swim than when they are a puppy. Puppies determine what should be feared and what is pleasant and fun. Let's make water fun! Let's teach your puppy how to swim so they are safe around water.
- Even runners can't always outrun active dogs. Some dogs are healthy and just want to have fun. What a great way to make your pup content than a warm water session. I know several ways to increase the level of difficulty and fun! Let your playful pup come and swim for toys and have a blast! The water provides 12 times the resistance of air! No need to go for a second run. After swimming, you will have a quiet and snoozy pup for the rest of the day.
- Bird dogs and show dogs must stay conditioned and in top shape. Water therapy can do just that. Not only will spa sessions increase muscle, they will also increase their cardiovascular ability. The warm water and bodywork will help relax overused muscles creating a happier and more balanced sporting pup.
- In the PNW, we deal with extreme weather making it hard to exercise our pups in heat, smoke, or deep snow and ice. The temperature is always comfortable while sitting poolside. Your pup can come and enjoy the comforts of the swim spa year-round. You can prevent sunburns, burning lungs, slips, trips, and falls. Sit in one of the comfy rockers and enjoy watching your pup's hydrotherapy session. In the cooler months, I will turn on the fireplace. Yup, I just got a fireplace, so you will be toasty while watching your pup swim.
2. All dogs know how to swim.
Very much, NOT true! Most do not, and it's a great surprise when a pup takes to water like a fish. I always assume they do not know and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety and enjoyment.
Teaching your pup to swim in the pool before going to the lake or river is a great idea. This is not a replacement for a life vest. All dogs should know how to swim AND wear a life vest if you like being near water.
3. Hydrotherapy is for dogs who like water.
99% of the dogs who come to the spa do NOT like to swim and/or do not like water at all. Most dogs will not freely jump in the water and swim around just for the sake of swimming. Hydrotherapy is a warm water pool and feels much different than a lake. Even dogs who do not like water will benefit from working in warm water. They not only benefit, but they will get excited about their sessions.
The spa brings them calm, comfort, warmth, love, and SNACKS! Who doesn't love snacks? Charlie, a lab, loves coming to his spa sessions and will even get into the pool on his own. Charlie will not get in the lake water at his parent's lake place even if he does look stunning laying on the dock.
4. An underwater treadmill is the same as a hydrotherapy pool.
Underwater treadmills are good for some things and have their place. It would have been a heck of a lot easier to simply buy a treadmill and plug it in instead of building out an entire spa. However, I had used an underwater treadmill for Bam when he was declining from Degenerative Myelopathy, and it was not even close to the experience I wanted for him, nor did it help in any way, physically or mentally. He knew he was in a box and had nowhere to go. Why would he exert effort forward when there was a wall? Although clear, he knew there was a wall in front of him. He was craned into the treadmill, so reassurance, closeness, and stability were not present. His mental well-being was not considered.
This thrust me forward into building the spa I wanted for my precious pup and others. I wanted Bam to be able to relax and get the maximum benefit from the water. I wanted Bam to fully extend his limbs not only to increase circulation but also to build and maintain muscle. I wanted him to feel safe. The pool environment gave me all of those things. He had no pressure on his joints, and he could use the pool throughout his decline. Even when his back legs lost all mobility, he was still able to benefit from the pool. He even soaked in the pool on his last day here on earth.
5. If you have a pool at your home, you can swim your pup.
Sure, you can, but should you? You can cut your own hair too, but should you? There are lots of things that you can do, but seeking professional help is always the best way to go. Getting a pool was only a small fraction of what I did to prepare for having pups in my pool. I went to school! I practiced a lot! I had a wealth of background knowledge in dog behavior and training before I embarked on this new path.
There is so much to be learned about safety, effectiveness, dog body language, and handling. It is easy for dogs to get hurt when in the water. It's easy for YOU to get hurt having a dog in the water. Please be careful and stick to kiddie pools. If you want your pup to learn to swim, get comfort care, or restorative care, seek professional help.
Questions? I'm always here to help! Feel free to reach out anytime.