Anyone for a doggy paddle? Why canine hydrotherapy is growing in popularity

Paddle Paws Canine Hydrotherapy. A dog enjoys a swim. Picture: DANNI PHILLIPS

Paddle Paws Canine Hydrotherapy. A dog enjoys a swim. Picture: DANNI PHILLIPS - Credit: Archant

The benefits of swimming are widely known.

As well as being fun, the low-impact activity has many health benefits and has seen a steady increase in popularity since the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Now it seems it is not just us reaping the benefits - dogs are getting in on the action too.

Tucked away in a village, just outside of Dereham, there is a swimming pool which has been built specifically for canines.

From recovery to relaxation, Paddle Paws Canine Hydrotherapy in Beetley is offering a service catering for the region's four-legged friends.

Opened two years ago by Danni Phillips, the dream to run her own business came to fruition after her pet pooch, Kai the Rottweiler, was struck by a car.

'We started doing hydrotherapy with her,' she said. 'If it wasn't for that then she would not be walking now. She does have arthritis but the hydrotherapy has helped so much and keeps it at bay.'

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Following her training at Greyfriars Veterinary Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy Referrals at Guildford, Surrey, Miss Phillips launched the business and has not looked back since.

'It's so rewarding. Some dogs are barely walking when they come in and then build up with the hydrotherapy. That's the best thing about this job - seeing them act like a puppy again.

'It's also really nice if they start coming here from when they are a puppy and we have many dogs which come on a regular basis.'

Clients attend for a number of reasons from arthritis, joint displacement and injuries to pre and post operative recovery, weight management and even general relaxation.

Miss Phillips compared the treatment to sinking into a warm bath when suffering from aching muscles, and added that vets recommend hydrotherapy.

But it is not all about rehabilitation. Paddle Paws holds a recreational fun and fitness session and also puppy swims inside the heated pool.

'Puppy swims are good for getting them into the water and building up their confidence', Miss Phillips, said.

Miss Phillips who has four Rottweilers, said the highlight of the job is gaining the trust of the dogs and their owners.

She said: 'I treat all the dogs here as if they were my own.'