Swimming therapy eases canine aches

Meg, a 9 year old retriever who has arthritis enjoys a swimming session at Meika Baldwin's new business K9 Hydroptherapy for rehabilitating dogs, in a specially built pool at her home on Kingsway, Newby. Picture by Andrew Higgins   sn122815c   10/07/12
Meg, a 9 year old retriever who has arthritis enjoys a swimming session at Meika Baldwin's new business K9 Hydroptherapy for rehabilitating dogs, in a specially built pool at her home on Kingsway, Newby. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn122815c 10/07/12
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Dogs love walkies but when health conditions prevent them from putting their best paw forward, opt for the swimming pool instead.

Meika Baldwin, 35, of Newby, has changed her working scenery, and after 15 years in a human resources roles, she’s converted the garage into her ‘office’; an animal hydrotherapy centre.

Meg, a 9 year old retriever who has arthritis enjoys a swimming session at Meika Baldwin's new business K9 Hydroptherapy for rehabilitating dogs, in a specially built pool at her home on Kingsway, Newby. Picture by Andrew Higgins   sn122815a   10/07/12

Meg, a 9 year old retriever who has arthritis enjoys a swimming session at Meika Baldwin's new business K9 Hydroptherapy for rehabilitating dogs, in a specially built pool at her home on Kingsway, Newby. Picture by Andrew Higgins sn122815a 10/07/12

She said: “I’ve got a dog 
myself and I’ve always been interested in animal welfare. After being made redundant I had the opportunity to think about what I wanted to do and what was missing from Scarborough so I did a course in small animal hydrotherapy and I loved it.”

Just as humans can tone up doing lengths of the pool, so too can man’s best friend.

Now something of a ‘personal trainer for dogs’, Meika assists pooches in a 4x2metre pool, equipped with resistance fitness jet, to help build their strength, stamina and fitness levels. So if pavements seem to cause your dog stress and discomfort, particularly after an operation, or if it suffers with joint-related problems, with a vet referral, a dip in the water could help.

“It’s a non-weight bearing exercise so it benefits by reducing pain, swelling and stiffness,” said Meika. “It’s good for hip and elbow dysplasia, arthritis, spinal injuries, strokes, cruciate ligament injuries and surgery. Because they can move freely in water, it builds up muscle tone and supports joints to make them stronger and fitter.”

Any dogs referred to LMS Canine Hydrotherapy begin with an initial session of one hour and then subsequent half-hour sessions.

All dogs are fitted with a life jacket and Meika, who is accredited through the Canine Hydrotherapy Association, accompanies them in the water.

She added: “Most absolutely love it, it gives them mental awareness and I stimulate them with toys, they can chase them round and it’s fun as well as 
being really good for them.

“It helps conditioning, but for fitness it’s a bit like a personal trainer for a dog. It’s good cardio for heart and lungs and it also improves mental awareness and well-being.”