Dog pools for swimming therapy: what to look for

Are you looking for a pool for
your dog and having a hard time finding one?

Here are some things you may
want to know, and things to ask as you search for a qualified dog pool.

Many years ago I did a search for dog pools and found to my horror that none existed in the entire USA! There were people rehabilitation pools and Equine rehab pools but no one had a DOG POOL.

In an effort to help my dog who was paralyzed, I decided to build a pool for her and then began a service that eventually became my life’s career path. Years later now we have dog pools in nearly every state and province in North America.

Swimming therapy for dogs is fast becoming a prescribed protocol for canine rehabilitation and strength building. Being in a dog pool provides an arena for non weight bearing exercise- where the resistance in water is up to 20x that of being in air.

Being in a dog pool can benefit the body in these ways:

  • Loosening tight muscles
  • Increasing circulation, endurance, flexibility, range of motion, balance, coordination and muscle strength
  • Decreasing swelling
  • Relaxation
  • Confidence building

Conditions which may benefit from dog swimming and therapy include:

  • Joint injury
  • Hip/elbow dysplasia
  • Spinal injury
  • Mobility problems
  • Arthritis
  • Pre/Post-Surgery
  • Chronic pain
  • Geriatrics
  • Weight reduction

There are different types of pools for dogs and spas for dogs and also various dog services to meet these needs.

Some dog pools may offer assisted swimming alone, self-swimming where you can swim your own dog, or they may offer massage, Ttouch, acupressure, reiki, aromatherapy, etc.

Before choosing a pool or therapist, think about what benefits you hope your dog will gain from swimming and/or aquatic massage. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if your dog is a candidate, and ask what type of pool is best for your dog’s specific needs.

Some questions to ask about the therapist:

  • What training has the person received?
  • Are they licensed or certified?
  • Why did they choose this line of work? Dogs and dog people are very discerning and its best if your therapist loves their job and is working not only from a wide base of education but also from their heart.
  • How many hours have they spent in the pool? Swimming a dog safely actually isn’t as easy as it looks. Be sure the person who handles your dog has experience.
  • Are they trained in pet first aid, specifically first aid in the

Some questions to ask about the pool:

  • What is the pool temperature? Pool temperature should be between 80 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures can be better for conditioning or weight loss. Warmer temperatures can help with muscle relaxation and sooth stiff or sore joints.
  • How often is the pool cleaned? What chemicals are used to clean the pool?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Is the business insured?
  • Ask if you can tour the facility and meet the therapist(s) prior to scheduling an appointment.
  • Are customer referrals available?
  • Make sure you are comfortable with the access from your car to the pool and the access into the pool. Many dogs who seek a dog pool are under strict veterinarian advice to limit the steps taken in land.

Some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Were all of my questions answered to my satisfaction?
  • Did I feel comfortable asking questions?
  • Am I comfortable putting my dog in this persons care?

Canine Water Therapy has profound effects on many levels, each therapist and each pool will offer a different ‘feeling’ or service. Explore and Inquire and try a few different programs.

Finally – Don’t be shy about asking that your dog be removed from the pool or the session if you feel uncomfortable.

Remember that YOUR emotional safety is a priority
and YOUR DOG’s emotional and physical safety is the priority.

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