The other day, a friend of mine was telling me how a couple years ago she had hired a canine hydrotherapist to work with her dog. Sophie, a beagle mix, was older, had severe arthritis and didn’t want to move around too much. My friend considered hydrotherapy and thought it would be a great way to provide relief of pain, inflammation as well as get her dog moving and exercised. Unfortunately, what my friend neglected to do was to check the credentials, certifications and experience of the so called “canine hydrotherapist” she hired.
See, what most people do not realize, is that unlike human therapists who MUST be licensed and who are heavily regulated, canine body workers are not (besides certain state’s whose laws are different). She had discovered later on, that the person she hired to work with her dog, was “trained” and would basically just watch and practice swimming dogs in a pool. She was not under the supervision of anyone who was qualified to certify her and she did not have to pass a test or anything educationally related to canine hydrotherapy. This women then deemed herself qualified and started the practices of aqua therapy on dogs.
Oh my goodness! She is absolutely 100% NOT qualified to do anything in the water with any dog, ever! Sadly, the “therapist” ended up hurting the dog during the course of their hydrotherapy sessions. Most likely by using improper technique and/or lack of monitoring the dog’s vitals. According to my friend, the owner of the dog, the dog showed increased signs of pain and discomfort for many days after the swim session.
TRAINED versus CERTIFIED
Trained definition: “teach (a person or animal) a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time.”
Trained canine hydrotherapists have NO certification and have only been shown or taught by someone the practice of hydrotherapy on dogs. These individuals who train, typically have no legal authority to train and recognize someone to practice the skill of hydrotherapy on any animal. These individuals also may not have experience with various dogs, breeds, conditions, disease AND may not have much time in the hydrotherapy pool.
Certified definition: “officially recognize (someone or something) as possessing certain qualifications or meeting certain standards.”
Certified canine hydrotherapists are required to complete and pass a regulated course given and taught by instructors who have the authority, license and legal right to certify and train individuals. These instructors more than likely have years experience and 1000+ hours in the hydrotherapy pool. They also often have their own practice and/or business specifically devoted to the practice canine hydrotherapy or pet health.
It is crucial to ALWAYS check the credentials of anyone you hire to perform any type of body work on your dog, be it massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, aqua therapy, etc. Always ask about the therapist’s schooling, education, certification INCLUDING how many hours were involved and how many hours they have been in the water with a dog since then. Hiring a too, LICENSED and INSURED hydrotherapist will also ensure coverage and safety of anyone at risk. Anyone who is qualified and legitimate will have no problem talking with you about this or even showing you their certification certificate. Because canine body work is currently an unregulated field, it’s solely up to YOU, the dog owner, to make sure the person working on your dog is fully authorized. Always do your homework so your dog can stay safe, healthy and IMPROVE with their therapy. Even the most professional legitimate canine therapy centers may not be certifying everyone who actually practices hydrotherapy. No matter where you go, ALWAYS make sure all staff is certified and fully experienced. NOTE: Certified and “Trained” are two completely different meanings.
Requirements for Your Canine Hydrotherapist
* Certified from accredited institute or organization
* 50+ hours experience in a canine therapy pool
* Insured and Licensed
* Knowledge of Canine Diseases, Anatomy, Orthopedic Conditions, General Canine Care
* Established, Professional, Friendly, Dedicated, Trustworthy, Transparent & Highly Recommended
Here at Dip’n Dogs, we take pride in our work and provide professional and top quality care to all animals. We are fully certified through the Canine Fitness Institute, we are licensed, insured, experienced with 500+ hours in the hydrotherapy pool and well versed/educated in the field of canine body work and care. We are here to help your dog succeed and live a long, healthy and happy life, as well as help heal them from any condition they may have. We truly believe in the practice of water therapy and the healing affects it has on all creatures. If you would like to confirm our certification, please feel free to request proof of certification or we can also get you in contact with our educators. Peace of mind is of the utmost importance when it comes to someone handling your dog, especially when they are vulnerable. We want you to be confident and sure of your decision with having Dip’n Dogs care for your canine and we thank you and appreciate your concern for transparency and standards.