What is a Canine Hydrotherapist?

A Canine Hydrotherapist is a certified professional who uses water-based therapy to help dogs recover quicker from injuries or surgery, maintain or improve their mobility, and manage specific conditions such as arthritis. 

Canine Hydrotherapy typically involves exercise performed in either a pool or an underwater treadmill. The underwater treadmill being the superior option preferred by veterinarians and animal physiotherapists due to it being a more controlled environment and hence, safer for the dog and better for providing a specific and more effective treatment plan. 

The hydrotherapist guides the dog into the treadmill which then slowly fills up with warm sanitised water to the level determined by the therapist. The water provides buoyancy which reduces the pressure placed on painful or healing joints. The therapist may be required to assist the dog in the movement of their limbs, usually required when retraining the gait of spinal injury patients. 

This form of therapy for dogs is becoming more popular as it can be utilised to improve a dog’s range of motion, reduce pain, promote healing, re-educate movement and strengthen atrophied muscles. Working closely with Veterinarians, Surgeons and Canine Physiotherapists or Canine Rehab Therapists, the Canine Hydrotherapist is able to provide the best rehabilitation results for dogs recovering from surgery or injury, and those with mobility issues. 

The canine hydrotherapist may also work with other therapists to include additional therapy techniques such as Laser Therapy, Canine Remedial Massage, and Canine Acupuncture to enhance the therapeutic effects of the hydrotherapy treatment. Canine Hydrotherapy can be beneficial for dogs of all ages and breeds as a preventative treatment or to maintain or improve strength and mobility. 

A Canine Hydrotherapist may work within a veterinarian clinic, a purpose built rehabilitation or hydrotherapy clinic, a dog grooming salon, or even a dog resort. Or they may choose to start their own business. The role of a Canine Hydrotherapist will vary depending on the facility they work within. They may just do hydrotherapy or they may be required to do other roles within the business as well. 

Each day for a hydrotherapist will be different depending on the different dogs they provide treatment for, based on their breed, age, and requirements. It can be a physically demanding position yet a hugely rewarding one. As a Canine Hydrotherapist you get to work with dogs every day. Not to mention making a difference in their lives, and the lives of their owners. You may even have the opportunity to save dog’s lives.  
If this sounds like a career you’d like to have, one where you are rewarded by the unconditional love and appreciation of canines all day then click this link to find out how you can do it.

About Michelle Monk

I have been an Animal Physiotherapist for over 20 years. I am super passionate about having as many dogs and their owners as possible, access quality rehabilitation and preventative health services.