Hydrotherapy for dogs

Ernie with Jim at Completey K9 in Canvey

Did you know that a five-minute swim will tire your dog out just as much a five-mile run? I think you’ll agree that’s a rather impressive statistic – and well worth knowing if you’re short on time for walkies.

Swimming is a great way for both dogs and humans to stay fit and healthy. As well as working underused muscles to improve tone, a quick dip will boost stamina. It can also be really helpful when it comes to recovering from injuries or conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia.

Ernie with Jim in the hydrotherapy pool at Completely K9, Canvey

Certain breeds are known for loving a swim while others aren’t quite as keen. Although he enjoys a paddle, Ernie is firmly in the latter camp after an unfortunate experience when he was a pup.

Granted, running at full speed into the freezing Thames Estuary would be a shock to anyone’s system but it’s something he’s never forgotten. Needless to say, we’ve only ever had to fish him out of the water once!

Ernie swims with a ball at Completely K9, Canvey

Thankfully though, Ernie’s experience at Completely K9 in Canvey Island was far better. For a start, the water at the Essex centre was heated. He also had a life jacket to keep him safe in the 8m x 4m pool – the largest canine hydrotherapy facility in the South-East.

Head honcho Jim Yarmouth took great care of Ernie during his fun swim session. He encouraged him to paddle around the pool using squeaky toys, balls and lots of praise. I did my bit too by cheering Ernie on from the sidelines and getting him to swim towards me. See him in action below.

The centre offers free trial swimming sessions to puppies under the age of six months. Regardless of your dog’s age or ability, they will need a letter from a vet saying they are fit to swim.

Ernie had a “splashing” time in the pool. I would thoroughly recommend the 20-minute sessions, which cost £22, to other dog owners. It was reassuring to see he knew how to swim – and he slept like a log when we got home!

Completely K9 is a member of the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists. For more information about the centre, click here. Alternatively, you can find your nearest hydrotherapy centre by clicking here.

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