International Association of Animal Therapists

Canine Hydrotherapy

Canine hydrotherapy is a relatively young industry but one that is growing rapidly. Having seen such positive results it has now become a recognised therapy for rehabilitation, musculoskeletal conditions, fitness and weight loss.

As with all therapies, hydrotherapists adhere to veterinary law and follow a strict set of quality standards and code of practice.


During treatment, hydrotherapists are to in the water with the dog, whether that be in a pool or treadmill. In addition, buoyancy jackets are harnesses are fitted to the dog for safety and to help those weaker in their action.

A pre and post treatment health check is essential to enable individual programmes to be created for each dog. The programmes will vary depending on age, breed, condition and veterinary history.

Hydrotherapy can take place in either a pool or underwater treadmill, both of which have shown to significantly increase the quality and rate of healing post operation and trauma, as well as increasing strength and muscle mass. It has also become a recognised therapy to enhance the treatment of neurological conditions and degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia.

It is common that hydrotherapy is combined with other therapies, such as physiotherapy, both of which complement each other and will enable the animal to feel the full benefits of each therapy.


Swimming is a none weight bearing, non-concussive, passive form of exercise which utilises the waters natural resistance to encourage movement. It encourages full range of movement in joints and promotes tissue repair without stress.

Hydrotherapy is carried out in warm water, improving circulation and easing stiff, sore joints. It is considered to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as enhancing general health and wellbeing. Many owners report significant improvements in their pets’ mental wellbeing after a session.