Can arthritic dogs benefit from the underwater treadmill?
Many pet owners find it difficult to provide their arthritic dogs with enough exercise. As a result, many dogs gain weight as they age, which negatively impacts their overall health.
Less exercise results in muscle wastage and loss of strength which can then increase pain.
For many dogs taking part in vigorous exercise is not possible due to arthritis. One way that you can ensure your dog continues to receive enough exercise is to allow them to exercise on a hydrotherapy treadmill. We customise the sessions dependent on your dog’s condition. The water height and treadmill speed can all be adjusted accordingly. The sessions are interval based ensuring adequate rest periods in between. Each interval is closely monitored to ensure your dog is working out at the correct level without over exerting.
The Warm Water Relaxes Muscles and Aids in Pain Relief
The water in the treadmill is heated to around 30°C. Like a warm bath this has a relaxing and soothing effect on your dog’s tired muscles by helping to loosen stiff muscles, make connective tissue more flexible and reduce joint inflammation. Circulation and lymphatic drainage are improved which reduces swelling, improves joint health and increases mobility. The release in built up tension helps to alleviate some of the pain associated with arthritis.
Water Creates Less Stress on Joints (More Water = More Buoyancy)
We are able to control the amount of weight the patient bears on their joints as they are moving by altering the height of the water level in the treadmill. The higher the water level, the more weight is taken off your dog’s joints whilst exercising (up to 70%). This results is less pain for your dog and allows him to move more freely and increase strengthening (compared to exercising on land).
Higher Water Level > More Buoyancy > Less Weight on Limbs >Less Pain > More Movement > More Strengthening
Water Helps Develop Muscle Mass and Strength
Dogs with arthritis can grow accustomed to favouring certain limbs which can result in a weakened area of the body. While in the treadmill, the water surrounding your dog acts to stabilize them, increasing their balance. As the dog begins to walk on the treadmill the water creates the resistance needed to strengthen the muscles in a low-impact environment. This can create improved circulation, increased joint flexibility, and decreased joint pain. Muscle strength and endurance, increased flexibility, range of motion, and agility are additional benefits.
Water Increases Metabolism
Exercising in water burns 5 to 10 times as many calories as exercise on land which increases cardio-respiratory endurance and aids in weight loss.