Hydrotherapy is the cornerstone of many canine rehabilitation programs. A majority of our patients swim; however, it is not an absolute for those that are not candidates due to a medical condition, temperament, or lack of skill. Our staff has been highly successful in transforming non-swimmers into avid fans.
Angell hosts an above-ground 8′ x 20′ warm-water pool with a 4′ depth. The pool is heated to a therapeutic 84-89°, and can be accessed via a ramp or stairs. Angell provides towels, life vests (required for each dog), inflatable collars for dogs who are uncomfortable with getting their ears wet, and a variety of toys of different sizes and shapes for dogs that enjoy playing fetch. Our pool also features adjustable massage and resistance jets.
What to Expect
Every new hydrotherapy client begins with an introduction to the staff and facilities, allowing your dog to become familiar with the environment before beginning a swim. Your dog will be fitted with a life vest and slowly introduced to the pool. During the initial swim, an Angell staff member will enter the pool with your dog.
Throughout each subsequent swim session, a skilled staff member will supervise your dog. If your dog retrieves, our staff will typically sit at the edge of the pool to throw toys and monitor your dog’s energy level and motivation. Staff members modify throwing pace and adjust the intensity of massage and resistance jets as appropriate based on your dog’s condition and abilities on any given day.
For dogs who do not retrieve, or dogs who need more hands-on interaction in the water, we typically enter the water with your dog. We may use a leash, or else simply guide your dog through the water. We tailor an interval workout for your dog, which entails either a number of laps around the pool or a length of time swimming in place, alternated with periods of rest.
Swim time for all dogs is adjusted gradually and as needed, with a maximum swim time of 25 minutes. To maximize safety and individual attention, only one dog is allowed in the pool at a time.
You are invited to observe from poolside. If your dog is reluctant to swim, we may ask you to move around the outside of the pool with toys, or otherwise help encourage your dog’s involvement.
Some of the key benefits of therapeutic swim include:
- Restored mobility
- Enhanced stamina
- Increased strength
- Cardiovascular health
- Zero impact to joints
- Weight loss
- Improved confidence
Fitness swims are an excellent way for canine athletes and family pets alike to maintain weight, increase muscle tone, improve mobility, and enrich your dog’s life.
Trying something new provides mental stimulation, which increases a dog’s confidence and reduces anxiety. As a dog grows less anxious, they become less prone to destructive behavior and less likely to engage in fear-based aggression. Using a variety of toys, changes in water resistance, and other aspects of the workout, Angell staff ensures that each swim is both engaging and challenging for your dog, which maximizes the behavioral health benefits.
In humans, 15 minutes of swimming at a moderate pace equals a 3-mile run. Adding swimming to your dog’s routine helps burn calories and boost cardiovascular health in a low-impact, fun, and safe environment.
Swimming is a great way for your canine athlete to cross-train. Water-based exercise takes gravity out of the equation, giving dogs the opportunity to develop muscles in a different way than they do on land. Angell is proud to work with agility competitors, flyball competitors, rally and obedience competitors, show dogs, and recreational athletes.