Here at Pawseidon, we are so lucky to have a canine swimming pool, and a canine underwater treadmill – this is the dog equivalent of a super well-equipped gym!
We use our pool and our underwater treadmill (UWTM) all the time, and having access to both is a really important part of us being able to tailor our work to suit each dog perfectly – an essential part of making sure we’re able to provide the perfect experience for every single patient.
But what’s the difference between the two, and why might we choose one over the other for your dog? Well, this blog can help answer that question for you!
Let’s start with taking a look at our state of the art water treadmill…
A water treadmill is a little like the treadmills that you find in the gym – it has a moving belt to walk on, but it is built into a water-tight tank instead of being open sided. Once the dog is comfortable going into the tank, we can seal the doors which allows us to gradually fill the tank with warm water. When the water reaches the required level, we can start the belt which starts the dog walking.
When a dog is in a water treadmill, we can alter the level of the water. On land, a dog is 100% weight bearing, but we can change this using the water treadmill. For example, if we popped a dog into the treadmill and filled the water up to the level of their elbows, that dog would only be 85% weight bearing – so we’ve reduced the weight bearing by 15%. If we carried on filling the treadmill up to the top of the dog’s shoulder, he’d only be 38% weight bearing, so his weight bearing is reduced by a whopping 62%! This does come with some consequences, such as the fact it’s a bit harder doing a workout in deep water (anyone who has ever done aqua-aerobics will be able to confirm that!) so we have to balance out the level of difficulty with the reduction in weight bearing for the dog. But we love having that level of control!
Some advantages of the UWTM are:
So where does our pool fit into this? Well, the pool has lots of advantages of its own!
Our pool is a wonderful, custom-built canine pool, in a really bright and airy space, so hopefully it feels like a nice place to be. It’s similar to a human swimming pool, but there are a few key differences. We’ve taken care to make sure that the areas all around the pool are extra grippy and safe, to encourage dogs to be confident. We’ve thought about the entry and exit routes, making sure that dogs can enter the water in a controlled manner, and of course, the water temperature and depth are just perfect… both for the patients and for our team! We also use harnesses and buoyancy jackets to help maintain safety, especially in more vulnerable patients.
Whether we choose to work your dog (or indeed your cat!) in the pool, or on the treadmill, it’s the water that’s doing the work here, and the benefits of this are the same regardless of whether your pet is swimming, or trundling along on the treadmill. Warm water is great for…
It’s worth remembering that not all dogs like to launch themselves enthusiastically into water like Tom Daly. For some dogs, water can be a little intimidating, and we’re always super careful to ensure we take the time to make sure dogs are super comfortable in the pool or the treadmill. Hey, we love getting the dogs into the water so we want them to love it as much as we do!