Hydrotherapy for dogs is not just a trend—it’s an effective form of physical therapy that can help treat a wide variety of ailments. From arthritis to weight management, water therapy for dogs provides a multitude of benefits. Starting in December, 2021, East Valley Animal Hospital will begin offering canine hydrotherapy to the Gilbert, Arizona, community. Our veterinarians may recommend hydrotherapy for chronic pain, surgical recovery, or preventative care. If you’re curious, keep reading to learn more.

What Is Hydrotherapy for Dogs?

Basically, water therapy for dogs involves gentle cardiovascular or stretching exercises in warm water. Activities like swimming in a heated pool or walking on a water treadmill can be very therapeutic for dogs with injuries or chronic illnesses. Your veterinarian may include hydrotherapy as part of a treatment plan for recovery, or as a form of low-impact exercise for preventative care.

How Does Canine Hydrotherapy Work?

Hydrotherapy literally means “water healing.” This type of physical therapy uses the curative properties of water to promote healing, relieve pain, and reduce stress. The mechanical and thermal effects of water on the body work together to stimulate the muscles, nervous system, and immune system. The temperature, buoyancy, pressure, and resistance of water each play a role in making hydrotherapy an effective treatment.


The warmth of the water dilates the blood vessels and relaxes tense joints and muscles, which helps to relieve aches and pains. The soothing warmth allows for deeper stretching to ease physical tension as well as psychological stress. 


Because the buoyancy of the water takes most of the weight off of a dog’s legs, it also allows for easier movement and stress-free exercise. Dogs that have pain or difficulty walking can maintain good cardiovascular health with swimming or water treadmill exercises.


The hydrostatic pressure of water reduces your dog’s perception of pain, so they can exercise more comfortably. The pain relief that the water pressure provides can help dogs recuperate after an injury or give them a respite from the constant strain of joint diseases.


The gentle resistance of water slows down motion, which helps to strengthen joints and regenerate damaged muscle tissues. Because of its low impact, exercising in water can be beneficial for preventative care as well as recuperation after injury.  

When Is Hydrotherapy for Dogs Recommended?

One of the main uses for canine hydrotherapy is treating chronic joint diseases like arthritis and hip or elbow dysplasia. Canine hydrotherapy can assist with pain management in dogs with chronic illnesses, speed up recovery after a surgery, or help injured dogs rebuild muscle and stamina. It can even help elderly or obese dogs improve their cardiovascular health through low-impact exercise.

Healing and Recovery

Hydrotherapy helps speed up recovery times after a surgery, an injury, or a stroke.

Chronic Pain

Hydrotherapy relieves joint and muscle pain in dogs that suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia, and other chronic conditions.

Preventative Care

Hydrotherapy can help active and sporting dogs build stamina and prevent injuries, or help elderly dogs get the exercise they need to stay healthy.

Weight Management

Hydrotherapy provides an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise. It can help obese dogs improve their physical fitness and get back to a healthy weight.

Water Therapy for Dogs in Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona

Is your dog recovering from a recent injury or suffering from chronic joint pain? If your dog needs rehabilitative or preventative care, the veterinary specialists at East Valley Animal Hospital can help. We can provide several types of canine physical therapy and will work with you to develop a personalized recovery plan for your dog. If you are interested in learning more about hydrotherapy for dogs, contact us today at 480-568-2462.


Photo by Cristina Glebova on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 11/28/2021.