A canine underwater treadmill is a specialized treadmill designed for dogs that allows them to exercise in a pool-like environment while walking or running on a treadmill. The treadmill is submerged in water up to the dog’s shoulders, which provides buoyancy and reduces the amount of weight that the dog is bearing on their joints.
This type of therapy can be particularly beneficial for dogs recovering from surgery or injuries, as well as those with chronic conditions such as arthritis or obesity. The buoyancy of the water reduces stress on the dog’s joints and makes it easier for them to move and exercise without putting excessive strain on their body.
The resistance of the water also provides an additional level of exercise, which can help to improve the dog’s strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health. The water also provides a natural form of resistance that can help to increase muscle tone and improve overall fitness.
Canine underwater treadmills are typically found in veterinary clinics and rehabilitation centers that specialize in animal physical therapy. A trained and licensed professional will work with the dog during their sessions to ensure that they are using the treadmill safely and effectively.
The number of sessions required will depend on the dog’s condition and response to treatment, and the therapist will work with the pet owner to develop a customized treatment plan. It’s important to note that canine underwater treadmills should only be used under the supervision of a trained professional and with the approval of the dog’s veterinarian.
Downsides of underwater treadmills
While underwater treadmill therapy can be a valuable component of a canine rehabilitation program, there are some potential downsides to that a professional therapist will have monitor for and this form of therapy is not suited for all dogs.
- Possible stress or discomfort: Some dogs may find the sensation of walking on a treadmill while submerged in water to be uncomfortable or stressful. This can be particularly true for dogs who are fearful of water or who have mobility limitations that make it difficult to balance in the treadmill.
- Overexertion: While the buoyancy of the water can provide support and reduce impact on joints, it can also make it easier for a dog to overexert themselves without realizing it. It is important for a trained therapist to monitor the dog’s exertion level and adjust the speed and duration of the treadmill accordingly.
- Ineffective for certain conditions: While underwater treadmill therapy can be effective for many types of orthopedic and neurological conditions, it may not be the best choice for every dog or every condition. Our rehabilitation therapist Janet will determine if this therapy is appropriate for your dog’s specific needs.
Overall, underwater treadmill therapy can be a valuable tool in canine rehabilitation, but it is important to consider both the benefits and potential downsides before incorporating this therapy into your dog’s treatment plan.