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What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy, in simple terms in therapy undertaken in water. Hydrotherapy provides the opportunity for your dog to recover from injury, increase stamina and fitness, lose weight or simply to just have fun, all within a safe and controlled environment.

At The Small Animal Clinic, your dog will swim with a fully qualified hydrotherapist in water heated to the perfect temperature to ensure muscles are working effectively. Our hydrotherapists are fully trained to understand your dog’s condition and create a hydrotherapy plan specific to your animal’s own needs.


What treatments are available?


This is for animals who are suffering from an ongoing condition such as arthritis or soft tissue injury, or have recently undergone (or is preparing for) surgery.


For dogs wanting to increase/maintain stamina and fitness such as working dogs, we have jets within our pool which can further increase resistance for our fittest dogs. Also great for dogs who may need to lose a few excess pounds and want to undertake exercise within a non-weight bearing environment.

Puppy swims

To introduce your puppy to swimming in a safe controlled environment, with a qualified hydrotherapist. First swims can take place two weeks after their second vaccination.

Therapy for fun!

For those dogs who just love to swim!

Dogs can enjoy their swims with their owner’s safe in the knowledge that the environment is controlled and carried out under the watchful eye of a qualified hydrotherapist.

Aqua massage

This is predominantly a massage session, undertaken within the warm pool water which relaxes the muscles. The session will finish with a swim round to aid joint flexibility and stretch the muscles.

FAQs for hydrotherapy

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to bring?

It is recommended that owners bring their dog’s own towel and shampoo however The Small Animal Clinic do have both available to use if needed. A drying coat is always a good idea to take your dog home in to ensure they are kept warm (weather depending).

Can I get in the pool with my dog?

Owners are welcome to be present to watch from outside the pool and encourage their dog at all times during the session. Unfortunately, due to insurance and health and safety, we are unable to allow guardians in the pool at any time.

What if my dog doesn’t like water?

We allow up to an hour for the initial session to ensure we have plenty of time to calmly and slowly introduce the new environment to your dog. Your dog will never be left alone and always be provided with a buoyancy aid on their first session.

Is hydrotherapy covered under pet insurance?

Many companies will cover the costs of hydrotherapy for your dog’s rehabilitation, so please check with your insurance provider in advance. We will of course happily complete any documents required in order to assist in your claim, however we are unable to provide hydrotherapy treatments without payment, and therefore any claims will have to be paid direct to yourself from your insurance company.

Can’t I just swim my dog in a pool or the sea?

Simply put, no!

Swimming in cold temperatures will reduce blood circulation and may lead to further stiffening of muscles and cramping. There is an undercurrent in open lakes which will make it harder for your dog to swim in and can potentially cause problems, further to this, water-borne diseases and pollution could also cause various illnesses.

Our pool is heated to 28°C to ensure blood circulation is assisted and our water is tested three times a day the day to ensure it is safe for your dog.

Hydrotherapists are trained specialists and get in the water with your pet to ensure there are no abnormal movements when swimming.

What happens in case of an emergency?

Our hydrotherapist is trained to ensure your dog is kept safe within the water and is trained in first aid should any incidents happen. Our clinic is also situated within walking distance of ‘Wood Farm’ veterinary surgery for extra peace of mind.

Can I walk my dogs on hydrotherapy days?

Short walks for toileting are encouraged, however we recommend you replace your dog’s walk with a swim on the day they visit. This is to ensure your dog does not overexert themselves and further allows the hydrotherapist to undertake an accurate evaluation of the dog without them being tired.

We also request feedback prior to your dog’s next session, on how they were following the swim, this information assists in guiding the hydrotherapist on whether to increase or decrease swim times. It is therefore more accurate if the only exercise they have undertaken is the swim.

How many sessions will my dog need?

This is really dependent on your dog’s specific needs and reasons for hydrotherapy. The frequency of the swims can be discussed with your hydrotherapist on the initial session.

Can I feed my dog before their hydrotherapy session?

Please do not feed your dog anything for three hours prior to their session. This helps to prevent sickness and gastric dilation volvulus (bloat).

Does the water have any chemicals in?

Yes, we take health and safety very seriously and as such, add sanitiser to our pool to ensure it destroys any potentially dangerous bacteria and viruses. To make sure chemicals are kept at a safe level, our pool is tested three times per day.

Following the session, your dog will be showered and shampooed to remove any traces of chemicals from their coat.

Why do I need to veterinary consent form prior to swimming?

The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, and Exemptions order 2015, states an animal must not undergo any kind of therapy, without prior veterinary consent. The Small Animal Clinic abides by this legislation, meaning that we will never undertake a hydrotherapy session without first receiving veterinary consent, this includes for fun swims. It further ensures the hydrotherapist has all the medical information required to make decisions on the type of treatment and specific techniques required for your dog.

Come visit us!

You will find ‘The Small Animal Clinic’s’ Hydrotherapy centre within ‘Centre Paws’ in Wymondham, Norfolk.

Incorporating a dog groomer, dog agility, a dog friendly café, animal massage and even alpaca trekking, Centre Paws is the ideal place to bring your dog. We are only five minutes from the A11 and 20 minutes from Norwich, and you will find ample car parking on site.

+44 7769 784 846

The Small Animal Clinic, Wymondham NR18 0RR