DOG-FRIENDLY FUN: Hydrotherapy

Swim2Did 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 or just want a quiet afternoon.

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 and can be really helpful when it comes to recovering from injuries or common medical conditions, such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.

Certain breeds are known for loving a swim while others aren’t quite as keen. And although he enjoys a paddle, Ernie is definitely 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 I’m pretty sure it’s something he’s never forgotten. Needless to say, we’ve only ever had to fish him out of the water once!


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 and he had a little yellow 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, encouraging him to paddle around the pool using squeaky toys and balls and lots of praise. I did my bit too by cheering Ernie on from the sidelines and encouraging him to swim towards me. See him in action below.

The centre, which also has a water treadmill and grooming facilities, 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 and I would thoroughly recommend the 20-minute sessions, which cost £22, to other dog owners. It was so reassuring to see he actually knew how to swim – and he slept like a log when we got home, too!

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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