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Frequently Asked Questions

My veterinarian told me that hydrotherapy would help my dog? What do I do next?

CRCG will start with a rehabilitation evaluation. This is not a diagnostic medical assessment. Your regular veterinarian will manage the general medical condition of your dog. A rehabilitation therapist looks at function and structure related to that diagnosis. Many dogs have the same diagnosis but present with different issues related to that diagnosis. A canine rehabilitation exam will assess your dog’s function and define the appropriate therapy with parameters that can be measured. The therapy plan defined by our canine rehabilitation therapists will include an individualized home program and the appropriate treatments such as laser, massage, exercise, and hydrotherapy that are best for your dog’s condition.

Do I need to make a reservation to come in for a first recreational swim?

Yes, we do ask that an appointment is made for the first recreational swim at our facility.  If you want your dog to be alone in the pool, you will want to schedule reserved pool time.  Those times are Sunday from 1-5, MWF from 9a – 11a, T/Th from 1p – 7p.  Note that there are different fees for recreational vs reserved pool. Please be sure to allow at least an hour before closing time to ensure that your dog has enough time in the pool!

Can I get in the pool with my dog?

Due to health code regulations, we do not allow clients in the pool. Staff will accompany your dog in the pool if necessary during the orientation. If your dog requires assistance after the orientation, additional charges apply to have staff assist your dog in the pool.

What happens during the recreational swim orientation?

The orientation will start with a brief tour to acquaint you with the facility and where to take your dog for potty breaks. We will outfit your dog with a lifejacket. ALL dogs are required to wear a lifejacket during the orientation, which can be removed once the dog is using the ramp and getting in and out of the pool on his or her own. Then we will take your dog into the pool area and introduce him or her to the water.

The ramp presents the biggest challenge for swimmers new to our facility, even those who are experienced swimmers. We will work with your dog to help them get the hang of using the ramp to get in and out of the pool. Once your dog is confidently using the ramp and is comfortably getting in and out of the pool, you are free to use the pool on your own. If your dog needs a bit more work to get comfortable, we have a few tricks to help things along! Some dogs need more than one visit to get the hang of swimming, and some dogs prefer other forms of exercise.

The orientation will give you a good idea of your dog’s swimming aptitude but is not the be-all, end-all. We do hear from clients that their dog will swim in lakes and rivers but not in our pool. If your dog won’t swim in our pool, it certainly does not mean that your dog will never swim!

My vet recommended rehabilitation and physical therapy for my dog. Where do I start?

All rehab clients start their rehabilitation program with a evaluation appointment.

In this appointment, you and your pet will spend time with the practitioner discussing the issues to be addressed. You will receive a home program with stretches and exercises to complement the rehab program, and then we will do a treatment.

Treatment may consist of hydrotherapy (the variable current pool or underwater treadmill), laser, massage, ultrasound, or a combination of treatments. The practitioner will establish a treatment plan to give you an idea of frequency and duration of treatment. Most clients start by coming in once a week, although that can vary depending on schedule, budget, and the dog’s needs.

How long do I need to wait before my dog can swim after a spay or neuter?

Usually, we ask that you wait 2 weeks at least before swimming after a spay or neuter. Most of the time, skin staples and sutures come out at that time. Even if there are internal sutures that do not get removed, the body needs at least 2 weeks to form a strong bond of healing between the skin and tissues of the scrotum or abdomen. Swimming takes a lot of work by the body, especially the core muscles, so stressing those areas can cause pain and swelling, which can sometimes lead to other problems.

What's the difference between rehabilitation and recreation?

Rehabilitation is directed at assessing, restoring, and maintaining a dog’s physical function and movement. Working with the owner, veterinarian, and often other healthcare professionals, a rehabilitation practitioner will work with you and your animal to achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being through modalities such as hydrotherapy, massage, acupuncture, and ultrasound.

The goals of therapy are to relieve pain, restore range of motion/movement, improve function, prevent injuries, and expand the physical potential of the patient. Rehabilitation at CRCG requires vet referral.

CRCG loosely defines recreation as all those things that an owner and/or dog does in order to make their leisure time more interesting, more enjoyable, and more personally satisfying. Open swimming in our indoor pool constitutes recreation and does not require veterinarian referral.

What's involved in evaluating a dog for treatment?

A Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist/Practitioner (CCRT/CCRP) starts by reviewing your dog’s history and then performs a general, neurological, and chiropractic exam and checks all muscles and joints. The practitioner also evaluates range of motion, gait, weight-bearing, and muscle girth.

Following the initial evaluation, your CRCG therapist works with you to create a recommended, custom, and comprehensive treatment plan. The treatment plan is based on a combination of the vet referral, the recommended treatments, your goals for rehabilitation, your input, and other considerations.

Note: Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapists/Practitioners (CCRTs/CCRPs) are veterinarians or physical therapists who evaluate and treat dogs with health problems resulting from injury, disease, aging, or obesity. Rehabilitation therapists/practitioners also provide support in conditioning for sport and show dogs. Canine rehabilitation is an adjunct to veterinary medicine.

For post-operative or conditions of injury, a referral from your veterinarian, or for post-operative conditions the vet who performed the surgery, may be required. Please contact the clinic to clarify the proper procedures.

What equipment and therapies do you use in treatment?

CRCG’s Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapists/Practitioners (CCRT/CCRP) use the endless pool, an underwater treadmill, ultrasound, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, hands-on massage, therapy/swiss balls, and other equipment in providing rehabilitation therapy for a dog.

Therapies include hydrotherapy, cold laser, ultrasound, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, Assisi Loop, hands-on massage, and exercise.

May I watch the treatment or do I have to leave?

You are absolutely allowed to be with your dog. As a matter of fact, CRCG encourages it.

Your encouragement and concern may be critical to your dog’s rehabilitation.

The rehabilitation practitioner will cover with you policies and procedures for observing and/or participating in a treatment session. Additionally, part of CRCG’s approach to treatment is owner instruction. Owner instruction is individualized by the dog’s needs, your capabilities, and other plan considerations. You will be taught appropriate activities like strengthening exercises, massage, and stretches.

You may also leave your dog in our care on a temporary basis.

Will I receive instruction on how to support my dog's treatment at home?

An important part of CRCG’s approach to treatment is owner instruction. Owner instruction is individualized by the dog’s needs, your capabilities, and other plan considerations. You will be taught appropriate activities like strengthening exercises, massage, and stretches. Rehabilitation is not effective if there is no carry through at home. In some situations, CRCG will provide forms and/or written material to accompany verbal instruction.

How does the referral process work?

CRCG will contact your family veterinarian for the referral information (medical history) prior to the initial evaluation. If you would like to take the form to your vet at your next appointment, referral forms may be obtained by either calling CRCG, downloading the form off of our website, or have your vet complete our online form (refer to our forms page for details).

My dog doesn't know how to swim. Does that matter?

The rehabilitation practitioners of CRCG strive to provide an environment that is fun and safe for your dog and to help your dog feel safe and comfortable. There are many times when a dog is fearful when it first is introduced to water and then learns to love to swim and play in the water. Most dogs who do not know how to swim can also be taught to swim in the variable current pool or underwater treadmill. With the underwater treadmill, the water flow and level may be controlled so as to avoid any “panic.” Some dogs wear a vest and all dogs are supervised and assisted.

On the recreational side, we will work with you and your dog to learn how to use the ramp into and out of the pool and help get him or her comfortable with swimming in a pool.

There are some cases, however, of dogs that cannot be taught to swim.

Is the pool water safe for my dog?

For dogs who do not react adversely to submersion, the pool water is safe. To ensure high standards of hygiene, CRCG’s water management system filters, heats, and sanitizes the water through a circulation pump, a specially designed in-line electric heater, and a high-rate sand filter system before a low dose of chlorine is added manually. Levels of chlorine are kept to a minimum because any bacteria will be killed electronically through the ozone filter.

The recreational pools are fresh-water (chemical-free). To ensure high standards of hygiene, CRCG’s water management system filters, heats, and sanitizes the water through copper ionization system.

When should I consider the variable current pool or underwater treadmill for my dog?

Some of our clients have found the variable current pool or treadmill to be better than the recreation pool for dedicated, supervised, and independent exercise. Owners who want to condition their dog for specific shows or sporting events also find these options beneficial.

Regarding treatment for older dogs or dogs recovering from an injury or surgery, our therapists will define a plan that may or may not include hydrotherapy.  Please contact us and discuss your dog’s situation and condition so that we can best help you.

What should I bring with me to my session?

Bring a clean brushed dog to the first and subsequent sessions. This is important because our pools are sensitive to excessive dirt and hair. All dogs must be leashed while in the clinic so make sure you bring your dog’s collar and a leash.

Although CRCG provides lots of balls and other toys, feel free to bring your dog’s favorite toy for “additional motivation.”. We do not allow dog treats in the pool area.