Pups rehabilitate in the pool
Carrie Lane, owner of K9 Lap of Luxury, was first inspired by the powers of canine hydrotherapy at a pool in Fall City. Lane showed her bull mastiff and was looking for a low-impact way to condition him. While she said she wasn’t even sure if he could swim, after just a few sessions she realized the pool was just what he needed. As a large breed, exercise on land just wasn’t good for his joints. The pool provided a low-impact method of exercise. Skip forward six years, and Lane and her husband opened K9 Lap of Luxury hydrotherapy pool in Lynden after their move north illuminated the lack of hydrotherapy clinics in Whatcom County. “It was always about the dogs. I love being in the water with them,” she said.
In addition to her master’s in psychology, Lane said she is certified in small-animal massage, advanced rehabilitation massage, canine aquatic therapy, and pet first aid. Each 30-minute therapy session is a combination of exercise, massage, and range-of-motion stretching, depending on the needs of the animal. Dogs are equipped with flotation devices as they swim about in the 8,500 gallon pool that is heated between 87 and 91 degrees, depending on the season. The warm water loosens muscles, improves range of motion, and decreases the chance of injury, Lane said. “The water helps dogs get a kind of exercise they might not be able to experience on land.” The hydrotherapy can be beneficial for both physical and emotional healing. Hydrotherapy can decrease pain, increase circulation, and improve weight-loss efforts. On the emotional side, pet owners who simply want their pup to learn to swim, or become more comfortable in the water, can utilize the pool too. “The warm water calms them. They leave relaxed. I love seeing the difference [hydrotherapy] makes,” Lane said.
Northshore Veterinary Hospital is another option for pet parents who are seeking the rehabilitating benefits of hydrotherapy. The clinic features an underwater treadmill system for this low-impact type of physical therapy. Upon each visit to the Northshore Vet, technicians will adjust the water level, temperature, and speed of the treadmill. By personalizing the system to each dog, the technicians are able to give every pet the most effective treatment.