Swimming Your Senior Dog Therapuetically  

by Pool Builders on 06-08-2014 in Articles

Titan has been swimming therapeutically for months now. We tried our first class on a whim because I did not believe in dog spas or water therapy at all. Thought it would give me a nice controversial topic to openly debate.

However, we were stunned at how attentive our therapist was with Titan. She constantly assessed his ability during that first swim to set goals fitted to Titan's mobility and quality of life.

To date, we swim once a week, and these are the reasons why we keep going and the benefits Titan (and us) are getting.

A Dog's Sense of Self - This point is debatable depending on how much you think your dog has a concept of self. But it seems that especially earlier on as we swam regularly and Titan had better results because his condition had progressed to its present state, he did feel more youthful. He was happier with is new found strength on walks and even would attempt to playfully lunge at birds again, which he had not done in a very long time

Physical Fitness - Titan's gait and strength are so limited on land. He can't run, or go for the long walks we used too. Working his legs in the buoyancy of water gives him the ability to exercise as if he was a younger dog. In the water he swims vigorously and enjoys himself

Mental Fitness - Due to physical limitation, Titan has also experienced a decrease in socializing and exploring the outside. Taking him on this €adventure€ once a week, gives him a new place to explore where he can find new smells every week and look forward to socializing out of the house with his therapist, Tanya. He gets excited for his swim when you say €ready to go see Tanya?!€ He jumps up and to get out of bed. Stimulating an older dog's brain with exercise promotes his best mental capacity and fitness as the oxygenated blood is pumped more rapidly around the body

Walking Tall - For the following few days after swimming Titan does walk stronger, but then weakens again as his weekly swimming appointment approaches again. In Titan's situation, his condition is progressive so we swim to maintain quality of life. However, aqua therapy has had more permanent and lasting results for dog's with other conditions such as hip dysplasia, and even joint surgery

Finding a Good Aqua Therapist

€ A great therapist should ask about a personal account of your dog's health history, health issues, surgeries, and current medications, for example.

€ Start with a good general assessment of your dog. This will include interaction between the therapist and your dog. How comfortable are they together? A great therapist can put even an anxious dog at ease. The dog has to get in the pool somehow!

Be consistent. Keep the same schedule and appointments so your dog only works with the therapist you both like best and you all can have a long-term professional relationship with lasting benefits

Caring For An Aging Dog

Caring for an older dog, often leaves the owner constantly making moral-ethical decisions about the dog's quality of life.

It is important to note that Titan's condition is chronic and progressive and can not be cured. At this point we are only seeking symptomatic management and we are getting short-term, well appreciated results. There are a range of conditions that canine aqua therapy can manage and even treat. Titan looks forward to his swims, and recognizes his therapist's name. It is a joy to watch him drill through the water with ease that he lacks on land.

In Titan's case, each day he is with us is a gift. Time has been generous.

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