Why Hydrotherapy?

What is Hydrotherapy? 💦

Emma Barkshire Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a water-based treatment used in the complementary therapy industry, either in a pool or water treadmill. Hydrotherapy is a treatment that uses the properties of water to gain the most benefits. Water-based treatment has been around since the Greek and Roman times, and its use has been expanded to animals as well as people. First for racehorses, then in the greyhound racing industry, and then expanded to all dogs.

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Hydrotherapy is a non-weight bearing activity, and therefore can be used when normal land-based weight bearing is difficult, or when normal pressure puts too many stresses and load on joints. The viscosity of the water provides stability and support, meaning dogs that may struggle to support themselves on land will find it easier in the water. The buoyancy of the water, and the use of aids such as harnesses and life jackets provide extra support while the non-weight bearing treatment is taking place. 

The temperature of the water is kept at around 30 degrees, so there’s no chance your pup will turn into a pup-sicle. We have observed that 30 degrees is the perfect temperature to provide the best therapeutic environment, this allows for muscles to relax and also reduces pain.

Key Benefits

Canine hydrotherapy is commonly used in the treatment of the following health conditions:

  •   Hip/Elbow dysplasia
  •   Cruciate disease
  •   OA (osteoarthritis)
  •   Patella luxation
  •   Fractures/breaks
  •   FCE (fibrocartilaginous embolism)
  •   CDRM/DM (degenerative myelopathy)
  •   Spondylosis
  •   IVDD (intervertebral disc disease)

Swimming for Health & Fun! 💦

Hydrotherapy does not just benefit poorly pups. It also has therapeutic and psychological benefits for animals. Some of the therapeutic benefits of hydrotherapy are…

✅ Pain relief

✅ Relaxation

✅ Improved mental well-being

✅ Maintaining and increasing range of movement

✅ Improving muscle condition, gait and proprioception re-education

Stimulation of blood circulation

Reduction of oedema (swelling)

Slowing down progression of degenerative conditions

✅ Improved cardiovascular fitness.

Discover Hydrotherapy


Hydrotherapy has been used as treatment for thousands of years, to treat conditions such as OA, Elbow/Hip Dysplasia, Degenerative Joint Disease, Cruciate Disease, OCD and more.


We also have dogs that come swimming just for fun and exercise. We teach dogs how to swim, and introduce dogs to water for the first time in a safe and clean environment. 


The pool is heated between 27-31 degrees, so it’s nice and warm!

This soothing temperature is perfect to ease aching joints, sooth muscles and increase vasodilation. 


The non-weight bearing nature of hydrotherapy means muscles can be exercised without putting pressure on the joints. Range of movement gently increases and gait abnormalities can be corrected.

Who is it for?

Hydrotherapy has such a wide range of benefits, both physical and psychological, it’s easier to ask who isn’t this for? Simply put, treatments offered by Barkshire Hydrotherapy are for four-legged friends who have tails and say “woof”.

If your dog suffers from joint pain or a degenerative health issue, hydrotherapy will be especially beneficial to their comfort. Sometimes pain comes with old age, but that doesn’t mean they have to put up with it. By strengthening the muscles and ligaments gently in the water, their joints will be more able to cope on dry land.

Although we certainly do see plenty of geriatric canines, we also see plenty of younger ones too, because hydrotherapy is a common rehabilitation treatment for broken or fractured bones and puppies get into just as many scrapes as their mature counterparts. Perhaps even more so. Hydrotherapy can also benefit nervous or anxious dogs because of the calming effects of the water.