Canine hydrotherapy: dog paddling to health
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 4:07PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 7:46PM PST
A new pool has just opened in Vancouver but don’t expect to drop by for a dip unless you’re willing to share it with some pretty shaggy characters.
The dog pool at Aqua Paws is a swimming pool designed for hydrotherapy for your canine companion.
At nearly $40 a session it’s not cheap, but Aqua Paws owner Jacqueline Gibson says the benefits are miraculous for a dog’s fitness and well-being.
Gibson often works with animals that are recovering from surgery and says swimming provides a quicker and more thorough recovery.
“Rehab for dogs is really rooted in the same process that we do for humans,” she told CTV’s Tamara Taggart.
The aquatic therapy is geared at the treatment of chronic conditions, post-operation recovery or just general fitness.
Francis Crowley brought her dog Maya here following ligament surgery, and says her muscle mass is improving because of the water treatment.
“Her gait is a lot more normal,” Crowley said.
Perhaps the biggest success of the centre is that dogs don’t see swimming as rehab – just playtime.
The secret to the therapy is combining warm water with a low-impact workout. Like people, dogs that are prone to arthritis can slow the process through the light cardio.
Gibson takes a more holistic approach to the exercise, saying it can be very enriching to the dog.
“[It] feeds the mind as well as the body,” she said.
Kerri Baldonero brings her dog Jayda to the pool. She figures the large-breed dog Jayda is about 12 pounds overweight and can really benefit from a dip in the pool.
“It’s controlled so she can stop, whereas in the lake we have no control. We can’t get her out,” she said.
“She just loves it so.”