The importance of swimming before any surgery/operation for dogs

February 19, 2018

 

A common question asked on swimming before surgery, so we thought we provide more information and highlight the many benefits of swimming 

 

Dogs, scheduled for surgery can benefit from swimming before their operation.  Pre-habilitation is becoming more common this day as many people realise swimming could do so much more for their dog's pre and post surgery. And we have many clients are getting ready for hip, knee or elbow surgery. 

 

Swimming before surgery allows your dogs to increase their fitness and be comfortable in the water before introducing the stress inherent to surgical procedures. Dogs who are not presented to swimming may experience tremendous fear in an environment that they are unfamiliar. These fear/ stress may further aggravate injury and delay recovery with all unnecessary struggles that can be prevented if they were introduced to swimming before the ops. 

 

For dogs with medical conditions that restrict or prohibit concussive exercise, swimming will be crucial to the dog's overall health and recovery. In cases like orthopaedic surgery, it is essential to building the supporting muscle before the operation. And when walking and running are unsuitable forms of exercise, swimming enables supported, non-concussive training to strengthen the muscles.

 

After surgery, once the healing has had an appropriate amount of time to mend (veterinary consultation & referral is a must), swimming will provide the weightless exercise to improve joint movement, increase circulation and build supporting muscle, where concussive exercise such as walking can cause damage to the newly reconstructed area.

 

Of course, please consult with your veterinarian to determine if pre-surgery swimming is physically possible and would not aggravate their condition further.

 

The Benefits of Swimming

 

It may surprise you to know that for a dog, 1 minute’s swimming is equivalent to about 4 minutes of running, according to Dr Arleigh Reynolds, a Veterinary Surgeon and Canine Physiologist.

 

The resistance of water makes your dog work harder to swim than he has to work on land to walk or run. He will show improved muscular strength and tone, while working the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, without the impact of concussive exercise on land and the associated damage that it may cause.

 

In healthy dogs, swimming should be used in conjunction with another exercise on land to ensure the dogs’ bones are kept healthy by sustaining good bone density. Stronger, toned muscles help to protect dogs against injuries suffered during regular exercises, such as running or chasing a ball, or during more demanding activity such as agility.  It will help to build a strong foundation for faster recovery.

 

With our 30 degrees Celsius heated pools, dogs’ muscles won’t take long to “warm up” which helps relaxation and assists blood flow. It also helps to reduce muscle spasm and improve the dogs’ range of movement.  Research indicates that swimming in warm water can help dogs, significantly decrease recovery time from injuries and decreases pain.

Nowadays, swimming is widely encouraged for various dog issues such as; arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, orthopaedic surgery, stroke, paralysis, muscle degeneration, and pre/post-surgical conditioning.

 

Whether your dog is healthy, swimming will help him improve range of motion, mobility, over-all body condition and lift his spirits. 

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