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Dog Spa Expectation: Attending Our First Swimming Session

Updated on August 10, 2013

How Swimming is Beneficial?

Dog spas claim to help dogs with mobility issues like hip dysplasia and joint pain gain strength and increase joint mobility due to consistent exercise. And the buoyancy that the water provides helps massage muscles and joints. Improving circulation. Swimming may even provide enough resistance to stimulate new bone growth in older dogs as the water provides a force to push against. Therefore promoting stronger, healthier bones in aging dogs.

Titan Swimming at the Dog Spa

Titan`s Unique Situation

Titan`s situation is a little different from the average older dog though. The Weimaraner`s average lifespan is 10 years -Titan is 14 years old! He does have some chronic health issues. He has congestive heart failure and something called a bilateral proprioceptive stall. Which occurs in older dogs as the brain looses contact with the periphery due to aging nerve pathways that just don`t conduct well anymore. This often leads Titan to trip over his own legs and sometimes experience stool incontinence.

When it comes to dog spas, they never mention what can be changed or improved in older dogs with this proprioceptive stall disorder. Which is progressive. So Titan and I have set off to see what physcial benefits we can achieve through swimming with an aqua-therapist.

Titan Doing a Lap with Our Aqua-Therapist, Tanya

Dog Spa Swimming Goals

In the video above you can see how as the dog swims a lap the aqua-therapist is encouraging the dog to kick to encourage a stronger response, and build muscle. As the dog finishes a lap he is allowed to briefly rest on the bench submerged in the water to recover, and feel the water lap against his muscles and joints.

Titan did the maximum allowable 5 laps during his first swimming session. He does not like to “float”. A technique the aqua-therapist is specially trained to do. The purpose of “floating” the dog is to give him calm and stillness in the water, letting his muscles and joints enjoy the buoyancy without any pressure to move. The natural flow of the water creates a mild message and encouraging more blood flow to the periphery. This technique is supposed to help ease muscle and joint pains in older dogs.

Titan Approaching The Bench

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After His Swim!

Our Goals For Swimming Therapy Are...

As Titan ages he gets weaker, more tired and lazier. In his youth, he was a high-energy dog that always wanted to be close to you, he liked being talked too, and talked about, petted, brushed and fussed over.

But sadly, in the last few years he is slowly fading into the background of our family, sleeping through most of the day in his bed. Only getting up to reposition, avoid the toddler, or go for short walks and eat.

After our first session the aqua-therapist, Tanya, told me Titan might sleep for almost two days and that I should not be alarmed as long as I can rouse him.

Well not this dog! When Titan got home he went to his toy box and pulled out a chew toy. Chewed contently like a puppy, which he hadn’t done in months!

Enough evidence for me that he felt rejuvenated, even if you couldn’t see the physical benefit. And he is still so physically fit, despite his limited mobility that he never did sleep for 2 days! His sleeping and wake patterns remained normal. He was more affectionate that night, encouraging me to pat him and trying to snuggle at my feet. Usually, these days he just sticks to himself in his bed. So it was nice to have him be more interactive with us.

If nothing else, Titan and I had a great time. It was a car ride that did not end at the vet. He got to explore new surroundings, he got treats, he got praise and he got to swim! We had time together uninterrupted and solely focused on him. Not distracted by toddlers or other business in life. It’s our time to really work with each other in a new way.

What do you think of Dog Spas? Ever Tried One?

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