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What is hydrotherapy?

“Hydrotherapy” comes from the Greek word meaning “Water Healing”. It is the process of safe / weightless exercise in warm water that assists the healing of painful joints.  The warmth of the water is important in any healing process as it provides pain relief, improves blood circulation, improves the relaxation of muscles and relieves any form of stiffness within joints. This process then increases joint mobility without any undue stress on damaged or painful tissues.

Hydrotherapy swimming is also recommended for an all round cardiovascular work out which improves stamina levels and general fitness. This has been proven to be great for the overweight or arthritic dog who may not be able to walk or exercise very much. However, dogs do not need to be overweight or recovering from operations to benefit from hydrotherapy sessions. Working dogs (such as agility dogs) benefit from the fact that they have improved stamina levels and increased muscle tone which assists their speed on land and mobility to turn.


Breed dogs can benefit by the building and toning of muscles which improves body condition and fitness levels for the show ring.

A hydrotherapy programme will be tailored to each dogs individual needs and condition. It is said that a 1 minute swim is equivalent to a 1 mile walk – therefore dogs that are not able to exercise much on land due to painful joints or post operative exercise restrictions are able to regain body condition, and stamina levels in a safe, controlled environment.

Being located in a coastal area some owners may think it just the same to “swim their dog in the sea” and whilst this is a great form of exercise for all dogs it does not have the same benefits as swimming in a hydrotherapy pool where the warmth of the water opens the blood vessels and increases the flow of oxygen around the body.

Apart from all the clear benefits of hydrotherapy to body condition and fitness levels, it also stimulates dogs mentally and we have found that owners are still returning their dogs to our centre after full recovery of conditions that originally brought them to us. This is due not only to the ongoing benefits but purely because their dogs love it and can’t wait to get into the water!