Canine Hydrotherapy

At Tay Valley Vets we offer a comprehensive hydrotherapy service for your dogs.

Tay Valley Vets have installed a 2 x 4 metre indoor heated canine hydrotherapy pool.

Our veterinary team have designed individual courses of hydrotherapy treatment to suit each dog, with one of our trained veterinary staff accompanying your dog in the water at all times.

Our pool is:

  • Easily accessible – It is sunk into the floor and has in place access ramps.
  • Heated – Submerged water jets are in place for dogs undergoing resistance swimming.

To find out more about how hydrotherapy treatment can benefit your dog, or to book an appointment, please contact our reception team on 01738 621415.


Hydrotherapy is particularly good at improving the quality and rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury

For more information about our Canine Hydrotherapy services, or to book an appointment, get in touch with us today.

Canine Hydrotherapy FAQ's

Why hydrotherapy for dogs?

  • Hydrotherapy, in conjunction with veterinary treatment, is particularly helpful in improving the quality and rate of healing following surgery or traumatic injury. It is also particularly beneficial for increasing the chance of a successful return to full fitness.
  • Hydrotherapy also helps to increase cardiovascular stamina, muscle tone and range of movement, promote tissue repair, whilst also improving general health and fitness, especially in the management of obesity.
  • Movement in water is more difficult due to the resistance: water-based exercise uses 30% more oxygen than similar land-based exercise.
  • For most dogs, a short hydrotherapy session is an extremely challenging workout. However, the buoyancy of the water and the fact that sudden twists, stops and falls are impossible means that hydrotherapy is a safe and effective form of exercise that is also very enjoyable.
  • Because hydrotherapy is carried out in reduced weight bearing conditions, it encourages a full range of joint motion through safe exercise, without imposing undue stress on damaged tissues.
  • It is better to treat dogs in heated water because cold water constricts the blood vessels near the skin and in the muscles just under the skin, which then restricts the flow of blood and makes the muscles less efficient.
  • Hydrotherapy is considered to be a natural anti-inflammatory through its ability to reduce tissue swelling.

Benefits of hydrotherapy

Safe exercise without stress/muscle strengthening and maintenance

  • Hydrotherapy involves most of the muscles used in daily movement but without the stresses caused by motion on hard ground, where each footfall creates a shock wave that is absorbed by bones, tendons and joints.
  • If these shock waves are severe or repetitive, they can actually damage or weaken the limb, particularly an arthritic joint or one recovering from an injury or surgery.
  • Hydrotherapy ‘works out’ and strengthens the muscles while avoiding this potentially damaging stress.

Increased blood circulation to the muscles/increased tissue healing 

  • Warm water increases the circulation of blood to the muscles; this then increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients and also flushes away waste products; all these benefits lead to muscle relaxation and a reduction in pain and stiffness.
  • When circulation is improved, swelling around an injured area reduces and healing is enhanced.
  • Also, due to the increased resistance of movement created by the water, the muscles have to work harder than they would do on land.

Relief of pain, swelling and stiffness   

  • Buoyancy in water supports the body during exercise and reduces the load on weight-bearing joints, which decreases pain and allows easier movement and exercise.
  • The pressure that water naturally puts on to the body can assist in reducing swelling, especially as the pressure increases with depth. The effect is increased when the limb is exercised at the same time, enhancing circulation.

Increased range of movement  

  • A decreased range of movement can often be due to pain, swelling or stiffness. Buoyancy can help to gently encourage stiff joints into an improved range of movement with minimal additional pain; this then allows for a better general range of movement when back on dry land.

Muscle strengthening  

  • Hydrotherapy tones most of the major muscle groups and improves the general overall fitness of the dog.
  • By encouraging pain-free limb movement against the resistance of water, muscle bulk will increase and muscle wastage will be reversed.

Improved cardiovascular fitness

  • In water, the heart needs to work harder in order to meet the increased demand for nutrients by all the muscles that are being worked. This sounds like hard work – it is – and that’s the idea!
  • Whilst immersed in water, the chest is subjected to the effects of water pressure, which means that every breath requires more effort. In particular, the muscles used for breathing in have to work much harder; as these muscles strengthen with exercise, the whole respiratory system improves.

Conditions that benefit from hydrotherapy

Most dogs will benefit greatly from hydrotherapy as a form of exercise. However, it is essential to get advice from your Veterinary Surgeon before taking your animal for treatment.

Any dog that requires improvements in core strength, proprioception, gait modification, flexion, extension, muscle bulk, cardiovascular and muscle endurance will benefit from hydrotherapy. In particular, hydrotherapy will help the following conditions:

Developmental conditions

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – especially useful for young dogs who are restricted to lead exercise
  • OCD
  • Patella luxation

Degenerative conditions

  • Osteoarthritis (DJD) primary and secondary to developmental conditions
  • Spondylosis

Pre- and post-surgical cases

  • Total hip replacement
  • Femoral head and neck excision (FHNE)
  • Arthroscopy
  • Cranial cruciate rupture- TPLO/TTA/Lateral suture
  • Patella luxation

Neurological conditions

  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM)
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Intervertebral disc protrusion/degenerative disc disease
  • Fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE)
  • Cervical vertebral malformation
  • Spinal injury/trauma/shock
  • Discospondylitis
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Peripheral neuropathies

Soft tissue injuries

  • Tendinitis
  • Ligament strain
  • Tendinopathies
  • Muscle strains/sprains

Obesity (weight loss in conjunction with diet)

Max, Skye and Theo

Take a look at the latest from our Canine Hydrotherapy pool, featuring Max, Skye and Theo!  

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Cameron is a 7-year old Black Labrador who struggled to walk before visiting our canine hydrotherapy pool. Now, he is much freer in his movements and brighter in himself.  

Before starting hydrotherapy, it is clear that walking on land is uncomfortable for Cameron. He walks very stilted in an attempt to keep his elbows as straight as possible.

In Cameron’s first hydrotherapy session it is clear how the weightless environment allows him to flex and extend his elbows much more freely, as he does not have to bear any weight through his sore joints. Can you see the difference? 

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