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Hydrotherapy for Animals Can Help with Weight Control & General Fitness

Just like people, animals (especially pet dogs and cats) can have weight management problems and hydrotherapy for animals is a good way to increase exercise for portly pets.  Dog hydrotherapy using hydro pools for dogs is an increasingly popular way to provide exercise for dogs (and even some cats) who have weight management issues.

It is thought that as many as a quarter of all dogs in the UK are overweight and their owners do not realise this fact until they take their pet to the vet for an unrelated problem.  Most people with overweight or obese dogs probably don’t realise that there are a range of health problems commonly associated with weight issues.  Obesity-related health problems include diabetes, respiratory conditions, cardiovascular disease, joint and ligament damage, arthritis and heart complaints.  Lifestyle and exercise are very important and in recent years hydrotherapy for animals has become an alternative method for helping pets with weight issues.

A quick way to assess whether your dog is overweight and in need of hydrotherapy for animals is to look at the following indicators: does your dog or cat have a sagging stomach and bulging sides?  Canine Hydrotherapy Pool, CheshireCan you feel your pet’s ribs when you put your hands on either side of his chest?  Does your pet get breathless easily when taking exercise?  Is your pet rather reluctant to take any exercise? If so, it is best to check the ideal weight for your pet with your vet.  If your pet is heavier than its ideal weight by 15% or more you probably need to take some steps to remedy the situation.

The two main areas you need to look at are diet and exercise.  Cut out the high fat ‘treats’ and get advice from your vet about changing your pet’s daily feeding regime.  As far as exercise is concerned your pet needs to ‘get moving’ in order to shed some of that extra flab.  This can be easier said than done if your pet is old or has gained weight because of surgery or injury.  In these cases hydrotherapy for animals could be the ideal solution as swimming and exercise in hydro pools for dogs is non-load bearing, so there is no strain placed on injured or recovering joints, muscles and ligaments.  This is also particularly suitable for overweight animals whose joints have been affected by carrying the extra weight as it enables them to work harder and more comfortably than on hard surfaces such as pavements.

Most dogs enjoy playing in water and this can make dog hydrotherapy a good option for pets with arthritis and weight problems. Dogs that enjoy playing with toys are particularly well-suited to hydrotherapy for animals’ sessions as swimming after a ball makes exercise into a fun session for your pet. Unlike visits to the vets, dogs tend to get pleasure from their swim therapy sessions!

Hydro pools for dogs are typically heated indoor pools with a ramp to make it easy for dogs to get in and out of the water. Flotation devices are available for nervous dogs or older pets and can be used during dog hydrotherapy until they feel comfortable in the water.

If you have an older dog that has difficulty moving around, then hydrotherapy for animals can help him get the exercise he needs to help with weight loss without stressing his joints too much.  At Blossoms Animal Hydrotherapy Centre, where we carry out animal treatment and rehabilitation, we always insist on a referral from a vet before treatment can begin.