Frequently Asked Questions

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How long is a session?

Appointments are booked in one-hour increments. This hour includes:

  • time to discuss your dog's condition and any updates or concerns since the last appointment, prior to the swim
  • swim time and rest time (amount of time spent resting between sets is dependant on your dog's physical condition)
  • use of the wash n' go room to rinse and dry your dog after the swim
  • scheduling your next appointment
  • getting any questions answered before you leave.

Do you use life jackets?

This depends on the dog's condition and swimming competence. Some dogs will use a life jacket in the beginning and then switch to using a harness as they get stronger. The harness doesn't provide floatation, but still allows us to always have "a handle" on your dog.


Do you use hoists?

Although our facility does come equipped with a hoist, we prefer not to use it. We haven't met a dog yet that we haven't been able to lift safely into the water ourselves. Mechanical hoists are loud and stressful to dogs; we want to ensure that your dog is calm and relaxed, especially on the first visit. Stress can actually slow down the physical healing and rehabilitation process.


How many sessions will my dog require?

This depends entirely on the ailment and current physical condition of your dog, as well as how many times you are able to attend. Generally, a minimum of once a week is required. For certain conditions, two to three times a week is needed initially to get good results. The frequency may be reduced once your dog has reached a critical point of recovery.

Do not be surprised if in the first session the actual swim time is minimal. With dogs who are nervous it is very important to slowly and gradually build up the duration of the swim time. Swimming programs are designed to reflect the fitness level of the individual dog, and each dog is continually assessed for changes in cardiovascular and respiratory performance. Swimming programs are modified based upon this assessment.


Can I get in the water with my dog?

Ideally, it is best that you remain in the pool room to encourage your dog from the sides of the pool. This allows the hydrotherapists to do their work without interruption and in clear view of the underwater camera.


My dog does not like to be in water. Will hydrotherapy work for him?

Some breeds do like the water more than others. However, we find that if we take our time and keep them calm, all dogs settle down once they feel safe. The first session is spent very quietly letting your dog get used to the water on the platform with a hydrotherapist sitting beside him/her. Sometimes toys or treats are offered at this point to comfort your dog. Once the dog feels at ease, the hydrotherapist will slowly pick up and gently place him/her in the water while still holding on. We will often stay this way until the dog trusts us and has reached a suitable comfort level. We then start doing the "crab walk" with the dog in our arms to get the idea of moving. Slowly, we release our arms and let the dog float. A dog's instinct is to swim and it's surprising how quickly this happens.


What do I need to bring?

All you need to bring is yourself and your dog. We supply the lifejackets, towels, toys, and treats. Some people like to bring a camera. Please arrive at least 5 or 10 minutes prior to your appointment. This will give you time to let your dog relieve himself/herself before the swim, which is extremely important. We do have biodegradable bags if you need them.


When can I do U swims?

If your dog is healthy and stable, U Swims are a great way to exercise and spend time with your dog. You can enjoy the warm salt water and therapy jets as well!

After a series of hydrotherapy sessions your dog is often well enough to switch to a maintenance schedule. At this point, you can join your dog in the water; it is less expensive, and you may enjoy being part of your dog's swim therapy.


Would swimming in a lake or pond be just as good?

All swimming is good but there are a number of potential hazards to consider, such as:

  • cuts from rocks and unseen objects and subsequent infections
  • injury from slipping on rocks and banks coming in or out of the water
  • getting out of their depth and panicking
  • getting tangled in weeds
  • swimming to exhaustion
  • getting hit by motorised water vehicles
  • polluted water
  • poisonous vegetation or algae
  • cold water effects on muscles and blood flow
  • in some cases it is illegal

Many dog owners take their pets to swim in lakes and rivers which is great recreational fun. However, there are many drawbacks for a dog that is fragile and healing from trauma. For example, access to the water can be uneven and hazardous. Also, it's impossible to control how much exercise the dog is getting, particularly in a river with a current; if your dog gets into trouble you may not be able to rescue him or her in time. Sadly, many of our rivers and lakes are no longer free of pollution and the risk of leptospirosis is high.

In the safe and controlled setting of Canine Water Wellness, none of these dangers are present. The dogs swim in warm, clean water, which is kept at a therapeutic range of 30°C, making it easy for any dog to have a relaxing yet invigorating and fun swim.


Is hydrotherapy just for large dogs?

No. Unfortunately, many small dogs suffer from the same compromising conditions and ailments as large dogs. We have lifejackets to fit dogs that are extra, extra small right up to dogs that are extra, extra, large.


Is there a lot of chlorine in the water? Will it irritate my dog's skin?

The pool at Canine Water Wellness is a natural salt water pool. Salt is the raw material from which chlorine is produced. In salt water pools the chlorine level is 0.5 to 1.0 ppm, compared to that of a regular chlorinated pool which has 3.0 to 10.0 ppm. A salt water pool is best for the skin and there is no chemical feel. Even though it is not necessary, you may still choose to rinse off your dog before drying him in our separate Wash n' Go room.