Water Therapy for Dogs in Las Vegas
Do you have you have a senior pet who’s having a hard time getting around? Or do you have a young pet with tons of energy? I bet you didn’t even know that water therapy for dogs in Las Vegas was even a thing. Well, good news, it is and the woman doing it is highly trained and loves helping your pets feel better. I recently interviewed Kathy Carr from Canine Bodywork and Aquatics and she basically blew my mind with all of the amazing information she has. I’ve broken down some highlights, but watch the video at the bottom to get the full version.
Kathy’s Background and Education
Kristen: Okay, so let’s talk first about you. So I know your background, but no one else does, so how did you get into working with animals in general?
Kathy: I’ve been an avid animal lover my whole life, done a lot of volunteering, worked with a lot of rescue groups, shelters, that kind of thing, and about 12 years ago, got very interested with helping comfort, helping heal, helping to make our furry friends feel better, so took my first animal massage course about 12 years ago, mainly focusing on dogs and horses, a little bit of cat and other animals as well, loved it, and then just kinda kept going from there.
Kristen: And Kathy and I did the same animal massage program, but not at the same time. It’s IP Touch through UNLV, which is actually no longer there, and it was online, but now it’s not, so you’re out of luck if you want to do it. So once you got your IP Touch certification, where did you go from there?
Kathy: Kept learning, kept taking webinars, different courses, ended up at the Northwest School for Animal Massage out of Washington, which was phenomenal. Did spirits and transitions course, which was fantastic as well, power of touch with Megan Ayrault.
Kristen: Oh wow, so you’ve done a bunch of other massage courses.
Kathy: Yeah. Yeah.
Kristen: Oh, very cool. Did you do those all online, or did you go?
Kathy: No, Northwest School of Animal Massage is a combined, so it’s a lot of in person hours as well as some online introductory stuff as far as your anatomy, physiology, that kind of thing.
What Dogs Should Do Water Therapy?
Kathy: Okay. Basically here, dogs of all ages are welcome and can come. If you’re a puppy learning how to swim, you can maybe come for three sessions or so, and just make sure that, a lot of dogs don’t have that instinct to just automatically swim, which some people think they do, so they’ll just kinda freeze in there and you’re kind of manually showing them how to paddle and use their front limbs correctly and also kick appropriately, so they’re using all four limbs as well as their tail power for the balance and that kind of thing, helping with their turns and everything.
Kristen: Wow. That’s great.
Kathy: If you were a three or four year old athlete dog, you’re doing agility on the weekends, very fit, maybe in the summer months it’s too hot to get that third run in during the day or that extra run midday or something like that for fitness, so this is a great way to not only outlet, physical, release some stress, pent-up energy when you’re that young, but it’s a non-weightbearing, of course, exercise. The resistance within the water is 15 to 20 times that on land, and about a five-minute swim they say is equivalent to about a five-mile run.
Kathy: So it is very strenuous workout. And we do have jets for those very athletic dogs. We can put those jets on and they can get an even tougher workout, of course in a safe environment, where I’m watching them and making sure they’re not overheating. If they need a break, if they need a water break, just to take a break and do some body work and massage while we’re in there too.
Kristen: That’s what I was gonna ask you. So how long does a normal session last in the pool?
Kathy: Anywhere between half an hour and an hour, depending what they do need, what your goals are.
Do They Wear a Life Jacket, What if they Can’t Swim?
Kristen: Do you put life vests on them when they’re in?
Kathy: The first session, I always want to use a life jacket on the dogs, just for safety and for me to assess your dog more, make sure if I miss a signal that they’re giving me, if they’re reaching a threshold with their anxieties, I want to make sure I’ve got more safety for your dog by having that jacket, but of course the whole time, it’s a very close and intimate situation when we’re in the water, I can actually feel your dog’s heartbeat, right there with me, so I’m very In tune if they’re freaking out.
Kristen: And how deep is it?
Kathy: It’s only four feet.
Kristen: Okay, so you’re fine. You’re standing.
Kathy: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Kristen: So speaking of anxiety, I know when I put my Chihuahuas in the pool, they lose their mind and they’re like “ahhh,” freaking out. So how many sessions does it take to get a dog that hates water to be comfortable enough to actually benefit from what you’re doing?
Kathy: Mm-hmm, well some dogs I think just like some humans just will not like the water or enjoy it as much ever. But most dogs adapt quickly and absolutely love it!
In conclusion Aquatic Therapy can be great for all kinds of dogs and their health and well-being. If you want more information on Kathy and everything she does at her wellness center ‘Canine Bodywork and Aquatics‘, Check out her website or give her a call. She would be happy to answer any of your questions.
Kristen is a local pet expert and owner of Little White Dog Co. in Las Vegas, NV. She specializes in dog walking, pet sitting, animal massage and dog yoga.