It’s well-known that swimming is a great exercise for people with arthritis or who are undergoing rehabilitation. Swimming is a lower-impact exercise than jogging, bicycling or other exercise activities, making it ideal for fitness and weight loss for patients who might otherwise struggle. In fact, there’s a whole school of treatment built around water known as hydrotherapy.
Water rehabilitation centers aren’t just for people anymore. Hydrotherapy centers designed exclusively for canines are starting to open across the country. One such place is the K9 Aquatic Center in Potomac, Maryland. Situated neatly in a suburban strip mall, the Center welcomes dogs of all walks of life. While many of the dogs that arrive are arthritic or working through rehabilitation, others are simply puppies with more energy than their masters can handle.
Hydrotherapy is a relatively recent innovation in veterinary care, but it’s growing rapidly. It can help dogs that have been injured or ravaged by illness to rebuild muscle strength, and it can also help elderly dogs lose weight through low-impact exercise.
For a canine swimming center to be medically accredited, a licensed veterinarian is required to be onsite. Because of this the K9 Aquatic Center is not, strictly speaking, a hydrotherapy center, and roughly half of their clients come for recreation rather than health reasons – dogs love to swim after all. But they do employ certified dog handlers, and local veterinarians often prescribe a visit to the Center for their patients.