Do you know the signs and symptoms of arthritis or joint pain in your dog? Dogs older than six years, especially large breeds, tend to develop arthritis as they age. If your canine pet seems lethargic, is stiff after laying down or seems to put in more effort climbing stairs or getting in or out of your car, or worse seems to be afraid to be touched (especially along the spine or on a limb or joint, licks one area, has swelling, seems irritable or has lost its appetite, it may be one of 65% of aging animals that has arthritis.
Arthritis in dogs (and sometimes their human companions) can be treated with medications in the short term, but the effectiveness of the most common medication (steroids) decreases in the long run. The best treatments are diet and exercise. A wonderful partner to regular exercise is reducing inflammatory foods (grains, tomatoes, peppers, and for human’s high fat, highly processed foods) and supplementing with anti-inflammatory nutrients from turmeric, ginger, apple cider vinegar, tropical fruits, et cetera). Diet alone is not the cure. Moderate exercise is a profound healer. Yet with the pain of arthritis, who wants to walk or move? When in pain, animals and people alike tend to baby the soreness, which denies muscles their natural purpose (to be used). This exacerbates the pain and problem. As unused muscles atrophy, inflammation builds up and starting to exercise again requires guidance from a medical professional.
That’s where an underwater treadmill can come in (for pet and partner). Animal hospitals and rehabilitation programs across the country use them regularly to treat injury and arthritis. They describe experience for animals who come in 2 or more times a week as having a spa-like experience. In the temperature-controlled chamber of an H2O For Fitness hydrotherapy treadmill, stiff muscles soften and the tension eases. The water buoys up the body, reducing impact and strain, and the jets provide resistance. A walk in an underwater treadmill offers three to four times the resistance, so workouts tend to be shorter.
Vets from Boston to Iowa and everywhere around love to use underwater treadmills because they can customize exercise regimes to each animal. They document and regulate resistance, slope, and time. They begin with slow warming walking in the water and end with stretches to help with tendons.
While most humans and animals benefit from short walks several times a day, an individual suffering from arthritis may have avoided healthy exercise for a while. All is not lost. Talk to your caregiver, or your pet’s caregiver and ask about rehabilitation centers that offer underwater treadmill. Trained professionals can assess the health of you or your pooch’s joints and start you out with a program to limber up stiff and unused limbs, reducing swelling, building muscle mass and improving range of motion again. Arthritis may not go away, but it can be controlled. Pain can be reduced and overall vitality and health restored with the help of underwater treadmills. With underwater treadmills, athletes and the aging, the beloved animal and its companion may discover that this exercise is affordable and available near you.