October 16, 2022

The Benefits of Hydrotherapy for Puppies

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Puppies are adorable; there's no denying it. They're also a lot of work. One of the most important things you can do for your puppy is to make sure they get enough exercise. But how much is too much?

We all know puppies can be super energetic, and the temptation for new puppy owners might be to try and tire them out so that they sleep more. Unfortunately, this might not be the best thing for a puppy’s growth and development.

How much exercise should a puppy get?

The Kennel Club advises that puppies should have five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. So, if you have a three-month-old puppy, they should ideally have 15 minutes of exercise twice a day. However, it's important to note that too much exercise can be detrimental to your puppy's health.

One of the main reasons for this is that puppies' bones are still developing. The growth plates in the long bones, in particular, are not yet fully developed and can be more susceptible to injury. Trauma to these growth plates can affect growth and skeletal development and lead to orthopaedic issues further down the line.

So, while the exercise durations suggested above may not seem very much, it will benefit your puppy later in life. It is also important to note that dogs will develop at different rates; generally, smaller breeds of dogs will mature quicker than giant breeds.

So, what's a puppy owner to do? If you have a particularly energetic puppy, there are alternative things you can do with them that are mentally stimulating.

One such activity is hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to help with the rehabilitation of injuries and movement disorders. It can also be used as a form of exercise for healthy dogs. Hydrotherapy can provide a low-impact workout for puppies that is ideal for those who are still growing and developing.

dog enjoying hydrotherapy

Is hydrotherapy good for puppies?

Exercise in the underwater treadmill is a safe, controlled, alternative activity that puppies can participate in.

The main benefit of hydrotherapy for puppies is that it is a low-impact form of exercise. This means that it places less stress on the joints and bones than other forms of exercise, such as running.

It is physically tiring without putting unnecessary concussive forces on little joints that are growing and developing. It is less concussive because the water provides buoyancy and is supportive so less force goes through their legs and joints.

Walking in the underwater treadmill is tiring because water provides resistance meaning they have to work hard to keep walking through the water. The muscles have to work harder than they would on land, which can help to build strength and improve muscle tone.

A mental work out too!

Hydrotherapy can also be an excellent way to mentally stimulate a puppy. The environment is new and different, which can help to stimulate their senses. They will also need to concentrate on walking or swimming, which can help to tire them out mentally as well as physically.

Hydrotherapy can be an excellent way to socialise puppies. It is a controlled environment where they can be around other dogs and people in a safe setting. This can help them to become more confident and less fearful of new environments and situations.

Regular puppy hydrotherapy sessions with one of our qualified veterinary physiotherapists mean that puppies are used to being handled by different people from a very early age. This is an important social skill for puppies to develop, just in case they have to have any assessment or treatment for problems later on in life.

It is also a great way to get puppies used to the sensation of being in water, which can be very beneficial if they need to have any future therapeutic treatment that involves water.

When can puppies start hydrotherapy?

Generally speaking, puppies can start with short hydrotherapy sessions after they have had all their vaccinations. For exercise purposes, we generally suggest they start after about 6 months old. However, if the vet prescribes hydrotherapy, we will work within the treating vet's guidance.

Treat your puppy to a hydrotherapy session

Puppies are a lot of work but they're also a lot of fun. One of the best things you can do for your puppy is to make sure they get enough exercise. However, it's important not to overdo it as this can put a strain on their still-developing bones and joints.

Underwater treadmill exercise is a great way to tire out your pup without putting too much strain on their bodies. And they generally really enjoy it!

For more information about hydrotherapy, please visit our Canine Hydrotherapy page, or to book a session or discuss any questions you may have, please call on 07494 689566 or fill in the details on our contact page.

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