Swimming has long been known to be one of the most complete sports, not only because it exercises so many different parts of your body but also your breathing. And to make it even more effective, it removes a lot of your body weight from the equation, making it easier particularly if you have specific injuries. It was recommended to Oscar from an early age to treat his elbow displasia and it turned out to be the best convalescence after both his elbow surgeries at Fitzpatrick’s.

I’m not an expert at this but I saw back then – and see today still – how much swimming helps both our dogs, both from a physical perspective and a mental one. They get excited, tired and sleep a lot better after a good swim. It also provides endless smiles and giggles, as well as priceless photo opportunities, for passersby.

Well, this month we are lucky enough to have the expertise of someone who not only loves dogs, all dogs, but also happens to know a thing or two about dogs and water.

Welcome to February’s DogBlog!

Michelle Sharp, Hydrotherapist


Because water really does work

Hydrotherapy, what is it? Does it work? 

Around 3 years ago our rescue boy Stitch won a fun swim at a local Canine Hydrotherapy Centre. Would he like it? What’s it all about? He was never a dog who voluntarily got into water, avoided puddles on walks and never willingly got into rivers or the sea. After his session I was fascinated! I had always wanted to work with dogs but wasn’t really sure what field I wanted to get into. After being cabin crew for over 10 years I wanted a change, I wanted my customers to always be happy to see me – you can guarantee that in dogs! I took the plunge and went back to retraining, I attended a two-week course in Level 3 Canine Hydrotherapy. I learned all about the anatomy of a dog, the different medical conditions, the science behind water and even down to the chemicals in a pool. Since then I have gone on to qualify in Level 4, focusing on the underwater treadmill and the complex injuries and post-surgery cases we receive. I now work in that very Hydrotherapy Centre where our boy Stitch had his first ever swim!

Stitch (Thailand street dog, closely related to a Thai bangkaew, around 8/9 years old)

So what is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy uses the properties of water to aid in injuries, post-surgery and arthritis. Of course we also see dogs for pure fun and this element is a great help for an alternative form of fitness. The properties of water assist in the relief of pain, swelling and stiffness; they also help to promote the natural anti-inflammatory fluid in a dog’s body. The water is a lovely warm 28-30 degrees.


Gizmo, Pomeranian (15 in April); and Flower, Thailand street dog (dna related to Chow, Husky, Malamute and Thai Ridgeback, around 2/3 years old)

escrever aqui

It helps to increase the dogs’ core strength and improve balance, which can really benefit older dogs. It can significantly improve the rate of healing following injury or surgery.

We also see dogs before surgery to build muscle strength, which promotes faster healing after surgery and in some cases even prevents surgery being necessary. A lot of our clients come to us when they really don’t want to put their dog through a large invasive operation.

It is a safe form of exercise without the stresses or forces on joints which are associated with walking on hard ground, this is really beneficial for those dogs with arthritis.

Gwen (Pomchi, 12 in July) left, on treadmill; Fred (Jack Russell, 9) second left; Abbie (Romanian rescue, 3 in June) right.

Before seeking hydrotherapy for your dog I would highly recommend attending a centre that has hydrotherapists who have received the correct training; these centres are happy to show you qualifications and are normally recognised by either of the following:

CHA (Canine Hydrotherapy Association)

NARCH (National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists)

Unfortunately anyone can open a Hydrotherapy Centre and claim to know what they are doing. A normal initial assessment would usually take one hour; this is where we assess your dog, its individual needs, what motivates them, they get to know us. We also take measurements which are noted on their files, these are then taken again on following sessions to see muscle gain. We then proceed with a plan of what is best for your dog and if they are to start in our underwater treadmill or the pool. After around 4/5 sessions, evenly spaced at once a week, most owners are amazed at the positive effects it really has on their dog!

I have now been a hydrotherapist for over two years and I absolutely love my job, the dogs are always happy to see me; even though I have 3 dogs of my own, I really have many more.

Michelle’s birthday 99km February walk fundraiser for Dogs Trust I’m joining the 99km walk in February for the DOGS TRUST this year! ❤️?❤️?

It’s also my birthday on the 9th February so I’d like to use that as another excuse, given as it’s going to be a lockdown birthday! ?

Me, Gizmo, Stitch and Flower will be aiming to reach 99km by the end of February, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a right breeze! I did aim to reach at least £99 but this happened so quickly then it was £200, then £250… we’re now at nearly £1,000! We aren’t going to lie, it would be amazing to reach £1,500 by the end of February! 

Thank you for your support. Myself, Gizmo, Stitch & Flower (who are both former street dogs and rescues themselves) are hugely grateful for any donations we receive. ?

We are raising money for Dogs Trust and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate £4, £5 or £50. Every little bit helps. They really need a lot of help this year, not many dogs are being rehomed due to Covid-19 and the charity finds itself pushed to the brink where more and more dogs are being given up due to people who got lockdown dogs going back to work. ?

Dogs Trust continue to work towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

How will the money I have raised help Dogs Trust?

Taking part in events such as the 99k for Canines Challenge, raises vital funds which help stray and abandoned dogs in their care. ??

We estimate that up to 40,000 more dogs could need help as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. You will help change the tale and be there when dogs and their owners need us most. 

Dogs Trust rely on public support to fund their work and are entirely reliant on the generosity of amazing people like you to continue their life-saving work.

Every single donation raised provides each dog that comes into their care with nutritious food, veterinary treatment, a microchip, neutering, vaccinations and most importantly, love and cuddles from their Canine Carers, all towards the aim of finding each dog their forever home.

Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the charity.

In the last 30 days…

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Top contributors in the last month:

1 – Richard Plumtree
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For more ideas and recommendations, try:

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And if you have suggestions, reviews and feedback, please drop us a line: or 07932509737

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Finally, if you’d like to write a piece for our monthly blog, all it needs to be is dog-related and dog-friendly.

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