Making Sense of Canine Hydrotherapy & Physiotherapy



Has your pet recently been referred for hydrotherapy or physiotherapy? Not sure what’s involved? No worries. Here’s a brief primer on each of these rehabilitation options.


Just like humans, pets can benefit from physiotherapy too! Like traditional physiotherapy, the techniques used are meant to help dogs recover from an injury, joint pain, or surgery. These may include:

  • Movement exercises (e.g. stretching).
  • Strengthening exercises (e.g. using stairs).
  • Balance training.
  • Specialist massage.

The specific treatment plan the physiotherapist will follow is designed with your pet in mind and in consultation with their vet. As time goes on (and hopefully your pet hasn’t missed an appointment!), the physiotherapist may adjust the treatment plan according to your pet’s progress. 

Ideally, a dog recovering from surgery should be referred for physiotherapy as soon as possible. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of the techniques used. In some cases, physiotherapy can even speed up recovery time!

Keeping to a regular appointment schedule is crucial. In between sessions, your dog’s physiotherapist may recommend at-home treatments like walking.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your pet’s treatment! Everyone at the clinic is committed to improving your pet’s quality of life and wants to see them succeed!


So, what is hydrotherapy?

You’ve likely read that swimming is great exercise for your pets, but did you know that it’s also a great rehabilitation option too? Sometimes hydrotherapy involves a tank with an underwater treadmill for a floor. Other facilities may offer a pool filled with warm water that’s made for swimming laps and learning the basics of the doggy paddle.

If your dog is recovering from a recent surgery, injury, or experiences arthritis, hydrotherapy (or aquatic therapy) can be very therapeutic. It’s less harsh on the joints, which makes it easier for your pet to stay active and maintain a healthy weight. At the same time, the water resistance allows for your dog’s muscles to get a workout without causing further damage. That’s why hydrotherapy isn’t just a young pup’s game. It’s a great choice for senior dogs too!

Plus, your pet can reap the benefits year-round. The weather outside may be frightful, but an indoor facility designed for aquatic therapy will make it possible for your pet to stay active even in the winter months.

Your pet will also benefit from:

  • Increased circulation.
  • Improved immune system.
  • Better balance.
  • And more!

Facility staff will monitor your pet closely during therapy sessions to make sure they don’t become too fatigued or take in too much water. These risks could lead to serious health problems.

This type of therapy isn’t for everyone though. For example, dogs with a history of ear infections should avoid water therapy.

So, as you can see, the rehabilitation treatments that benefit us humans can also be highly effective for our furry friends too! Following the vet’s orders and sticking to a consistent treatment schedule will get your pet back in fighting shape in no time. Good luck and we wish your pet a speedy recovery!


Did You Know, Pets Plus Us covers alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic services, naturopathy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, and physiotherapy are all eligible expenses, if provided by, or under the supervision of, a licensed veterinarian and related to an eligible accident or illness? Learn more or get a quote at today!