Aquatic therapy allows for either active or passive ranges of motion performed using the warmth, buoyancy and resistance of water. Exercise in the swimming pool is non weight bearing, which minimizes pain whilst ensuring your dog can exercise while nerve regeneration takes place, which is particularly useful if pressure on limbs is aggravating a medical condition. The temperature and pressure from the water stimulate blood circulation and help to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness. Joint mobilisation and muscle strength can be improved thus helping to aid post-operative recovery and can help slow down certain degenerative conditions.
Swimming greatly improves cardiovascular fitness and due to the water resistance, a 5 minute swim is equivalent to a far longer walk for a dog. For dogs with paralysis, their quality of life can often be greatly improved as they can be supported in the water and are able to maximise their mobility in a way that they cannot do in any other environment.
Puppies need much less exercise than fully grown dogs, with the Kennel Club advising that to avoid damaging a puppy’s developing joints, that a puppy should have around five minutes of exercise for every month of its age up to twice a day – i.e. 15 minutes when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. However, swimming allows a puppy to exercise for longer in the non weight bearing environment, thereby building and strengthening muscle without pressure on the growing bones and joints. More importantly than that is that it’s fun and will tire a puppy out! We suggest a puppy is at least six months old before coming swimming.