You might find this simple method of administering hydrotherapy wraps to your dog helpful in these cases.
Hydrotherapy is the scientific application of water in the treatment of disease.
There are several different types of hydrotherapy methods, but the one I use, hydrotherapy wraps, involves:
- 1 to 2 five gallon buckets, depending on the type of wrap you want for your dog (hot or cold wraps only require one bucket, contrast wraps require two)
- 1 cup of Epsom salt (for hot or cold wraps), and 1 cup of Sea salt (for the second contrast wrap bucket, though Epsom will work if you can't get your hands on Sea salt)
- a piece of fleece or wool (or two pieces, in the case of contrast wraps - one for each bucket) that is large enough to drape over your dog's entire body, or the portion of your dog's body you wish to treat.
This method of using wraps, rather than a tub filled with water, is a little less messy and certainly less wet for your dog, and for dogs that dislike or are anxious about baths, this is much more tolerable.
Check out the video I created, if you're interested in trying hydrotherapy wraps on your dog at home (with your vet's blessing— you'll want to determine if this kind of therapy is right for your dog, the frequency of these sessions, as well as which type of wrap will be most beneficial to your dog.
A hot Epsom salt bath relaxes tissues and draws blood up from deeper tissues. Pain associated with spasm and contraction can be relieved with a hot Epsom salt bath or wrap. Generally speaking, chronic pain responds best to these hot wraps or baths.
A contrast wrap, involving both hot and cold applications one after the other, stimulates the cardiovascular system generally and locally and is an invigorating experience for your dog.
Before you attempt any cold or hot wraps with your dog, get clearance from your veterinarian and canine massage therapist, if you have one, as your dog may have contraindications, making hot or cold wraps counterproductive. Also, animals that "run cold" like sight hounds shouldn't have cold wraps (only site specific wraps, if absolutely necessary). Dogs that "run hot" like Huskies do not enjoy hot wraps.
For the full procedure, consult my Hydrotherapy How To video in this post, or HERE.