Getting back in tip-top condition is no easy feat — especially when dealing with aches and pains that come with aging or recovering from serious injuries. You need therapy, someone to push you to take that next step and encouragement for the long – and often frustrating – journey it takes to get back into shape. Well, man’s best friend is no different. Thankfully, New Yorkers have rehab facility Water4Dogs to help make the process a little bit easier.
Situated at the intersection of Church Street and Worth Street in the posh neighborhood of Tribeca, Water4Dogs offers numerous services like acupuncture and hydrotherapy treatments geared towards strengthening and reeducating muscle groups, with most dogs that visit falling into two groups.
The first being the senior, arthritic dogs requiring a bit of TLC to keep their engines running. They tend to be pretty stiff and can have trouble standing up, laying down and walking.
“We get them going, loosen them up, stretch them out and build their overall strength,” says Dr. Jonathan Block, the veterinary medical director at Water4Dogs. “They just become different dogs. It is unbelievable.”
The other group are post-operative pups needing a little push to help speed up their recovery process. Just like humans, adding physical therapy to a medical plan, can help these dogs heal a lot faster. They tend to just need to go to Water4Dogs for a set time frame.
Regardless of what their situation is, the crew at Water4Dogs usually recommends 10 to 20 weeks of therapy with each session being between 30 to 60 minutes. And once the sessions are complete, the team educates the owners on how to do certain things at home to keep their pets loose and comfortable.
Check out everything Water4Dogs has to offer:
Much of the water action occurs in the 4-foot deep pool that is heated to a comfortable 90 degrees, allowing dogs to loosen up their joints and muscles.Can we say jealous?
Dogs that are looking for pain management solutions or are suffering from neurological conditions may have a few pins inserted during an acupuncture session.
Two underwater treadmills allow the Water4Dog crew to fill and drain water to various levels, allowing dogs to do treadmill work with the support of water. This exercise helps with strength building, gate reeducation and fitness.
Then there is the abundance of techniques that use frequencies to help dogs recover. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation sounds scarier than it actually is. It basically involves putting pads on pets and releasing a low frequency of electrical currents, which helps pain. And a higher frequency allows pups to build up their little muscles.
Laser therapy uses light energy delivered at a high frequency. This approach is used for tissue healing, pain relief and inflammation.
And therapeutic ultrasound helps with injuries like muscle tears, soft tissue, sprains and scars.
While Dr. Block and his staff has helped many dogs back on their feet, one memorable memory was that of an 80-pound Labrador that had just undergone surgery for a compressive spinal cord. He was expected to recover nicely from the procedure but weeks went on, the dog remained paralyzed and wasn’t showing any signs of recovery. The neurologist’s prognosis shifted from positive to dismal, telling the owners it was unlikely their dog would ever walk again. Not being satisfied with how this story was going to end, the owners set their pup on an intensive regimen including five days a week at Water4Dogs. And their perseverance started to pay off.
“After about four weeks, he started showing signs that he wasn’t content with this life either. He started to show signs of recovery,” says Dr. Block. After a few more sessions, the dog was up and walking – not perfectly but was able to go on and live a relatively normal lifestyle.
And for those that just want to have a little fun with their pooches — and wear off some of that extra built up energy during the colder season or being in a cramped shoe box apartment – the facility offers open swim. People can either schedule to have the entire pool to themselves or hang out with a few other dogs.
Regardless of why you choose to go to Water4Dogs, your pup will be in good hands.
“Most of our patients learn that it is very fun to come to our facility, and they have a great time. To see these pets come in one condition and after a certain amount of time improve to a much better condition is very satisfying for myself, my colleges and my staff,” says Dr. Block. “It gives their owners a great deal of satisfaction and that brings me a great deal of satisfaction.”