Our practice was the first in Sydney to install an underwater treadmill for dogs.
This machine offers huge benefits. The buoyancy, warmth and resistance of water takes stress off painful joints &limbs, whilst allowing the animal to exercise. Muscle strength & mobility can be regained after injury, surgery or neurological damage.
The treadmill is also an excellent way of improving strength & endurance for canine athletes; it offers a cross-training effect, using muscles differently to gravity based exercise. Hydrotherapy is excellent for general conditioning for all dogs: “normal” dogs that just need exercise, obese and elderly that need gentle, safe but effective exercise.
The treadmill is easily controlled for depth, warmth and resistance, according to individual need. We only use recycled water, each dog has a brand new bath with warm water from a sophisticated filtering system
The Treadmill Procedure
The physiotherapist is often in the tank with the dog to apply therapy & ensure correct movement.
When dogs are familiar & comfortable with the machine, they are able to swim/walk/wade by themselves, with the owner or assistant just holding the lead from outside the tank. Swimming is excellent exercise, however, the underwater treadmill offers a very different experience compared to a swim at the beach:
Dogs are cunningly good at compensating, they can drag themselves through the water mainly using their forelimbs, and not use their back legs efficiently, they cheat if not watched.
Each dog needs a different program according to his/her condition, so it is not just letting the dog go in the water! However, benefits derived from the treadmill: