Small Animal Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation

The benefits:

Improve recovery times

Improved orthopaedic and neurological post-op recovery times

Encourage correct posture, gait and range of motion

Improved posture, gait and range of motion

Provide strengthening and support pre-operatively

Pre-operative strengthening and support 

Assist with pain management

Management of pain

Reduce swelling and inflammation

Reduction in swelling and inflammation

Improve cardiovascular health

Improved cardiovascular health

Provide supportive movement for elderly and arthritic dogs

Movement support for elderly and arthritic dogs

Help build muscle strength

Improved muscle strength

Help maintain fitness

Fitness maintenance

Aid in weight loss

Weight loss

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What is Hydrotherapy 

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to improve healing, function, stability and strength.  Using the properties of water within a controlled environment, your therapist can customise treatments for your dog's rehabilitation and wellbeing.

At ARC we use a Hydro Physio underwater treadmill for dynamic and static aquatic therapy.  The water is heated to between 28-32˚C providing thermal therapeutic benefits that help your dog to relax, ease muscle tension, reduce joint inflammation and increase blood and oxygen flow.

Post-operative Icon


Pain management Icon

Pain management

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Weight loss Icon

Weight loss

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How Can Hydrotherapy Help

How Can Hydrotherapy Help my Dog or Cat?


Hydrotherapy can help dogs and cats get back to normal function after surgery. Water provides a low weight bearing environment to encourage movement. The buoyancy aids in reducing pain and minimises pressure on joints and muscles. The water's heat and hydrostatic pressure helps to relieve swelling and inflammation. By making small adjustments, the therapist can utilise the properties of water within the controlled environment of the treadmill, to suit your dog as they go through their rehabilitation programme.

Fitness and General Wellbeing

Exercising in water can provide many benefits for dogs of all ages. Whether your dog is a show dog, working dog, competitive athlete or you just wish to maintain overall good function, the underwater treadmill can be adjusted to provide anything from a gentle, low impact walk to a high intensity fitness programme which can be customised for your dog to keep them in peak condition. 

Pain Management and Arthritis

The therapeutic effects of warm water on joints and muscles help to relieve pain and relax tense muscles.  It allows for greater range of motion to help stiff and sore joints, build muscle strength and increase support for painful joints.

Posture, Gait and Movement

Posture, gait and movement can be affected by a number of factors – orthopaedic or neurologic conditions, muscle tension, arthritis and more. The reduced stress on joints, muscles and ligaments while exercising in a buoyant environment can help to re-educate gait and posture. Therapeutic movements made by your therapist help to engage postural muscles and encourage your dog to move in a relaxed, balanced posture. 

Weight Loss

The underwater treadmill provides the perfect environment to exercise in a low impact, low weight bearing, safe and controlled environment, relieving pressure on joints and minimising any risk of injury.

Book an Appointment

Book an Appointment

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my dog doesn’t like swimming?
We take things slowly. We want your dog to be relaxed and comfortable so they can get the best out of their treatment. We use therapeutic handling and water therapies which help to relax and reassure patients. Once dogs start to feel the benefits of the warm water they usually ease into treatment without problems.

Will someone be with my dog in the underwater treadmill?
Yes. A therapist will be with your dog every step of the way, including in the underwater treadmill.

How soon can my dog begin hydrotherapy after surgery?
Your veterinarian will be able to advise best if your dog is fit to begin hydrotherapy. If surgery was not performed at ARC, your vet will need to send a referral through to us prior to booking your first session. Generally, once surgical wounds have healed, and sutures have been removed your dog can begin hydrotherapy. The sooner they begin their rehabilitation programme the better.

How do I prepare my pet prior to the appointment?
Make sure your dog is toileted prior to the appointment (we recommend that you take them for a brief toilet walk upon arrival at the rehabilitation centre). Avoid feeding your pet within an hour of the appointment; they can drink water at any time.

Are there any reasons my pet can’t have hydrotherapy?
We don’t recommend hydrotherapy for pets with open wounds, skin irritation, vomiting or diarrhoea and/or urinary or faecal incontinence. Pets with cardiac or respiratory issues (including brachycephalic breeds such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs and pugs) should have veterinary clearance prior to hydrotherapy. We can arrange this via referral from your usual veterinarian (see below).

Do I need a referral from my vet for hydrotherapy?
If your pet has a medical condition or is coming for postoperative treatment, we do require a referral. For general fitness and conditioning, referral is not required, although preferred.

Can cats have hydrotherapy?
Yes. Hydrotherapy can also be beneficial for your cats’ rehabilitation. Talk to your veterinarian about making a referral.

Directions by car

How to find us

The hydrotherapy clinic is located in the building in front of the ARC hospital. Come into the main driveway and turn right between the two buildings (before you get to the hospital), the hydrotherapy clinic is on the right.

Parking is available right outside the door. Access is all one level, no stairs.

Clinic hours

Tuesday 9.30am – 6.00pm
Wednesday 9.30am – 2.00pm
Thursday 9.30am – 6.00pm
Friday 9.30am – 2.00pm
Alternate Saturdays 8.30am – 2.00pm

Hydrotherapy pricing

Initial consultation (allow 1.5 hours) $157.50
Single session (45min – 1 hour) $126.00
6 session concession card $630.00
8 session concession card $787.50


Hydrotherapy sessions are by appointment only. Contact us for more information or ask your veterinarian for a referral.
Some insurance companies cover the cost of hydrotherapy when referred by a veterinarian. Check with your provider.

Our Hydrotherapists

Debbie Hinton

Debbie Hinton

NZ Cert. Animal Management (Canine Behaviour and Training), Level 3 Certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy

Canine hydrotherapist

Debbie is finally pursuing a long time desire to work in canine rehabilitation, after 24 years in design. She developed an interest in hydrotherapy after her own dog had orthopaedic surgery and underwent post-operative rehabilitation. Debbie has completed a level 3 certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy through K9HS (UK).

Debbie has a love of animals and aims to help them live a long, happy and healthy life. Outside of work, she enjoys gardening, boating and dining out. She has 2 dogs (Luca and Marley) and one cat (Muffin) as well as 36 sheep!

Christina Winyard

Christina Winyard

DVN, BAS, Level 3 Certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy

Canine hydrotherapist & veterinary nurse

As a veterinary nurse working within the ARC hospital, Christina is extensively involved in the treatment of animals with orthopaedic and neuromuscular conditions. Christina believes that the healing process doesn’t stop after orthopaedic surgery and is passionate about the role that rehabilitation plays in recovery for an animal. Christina has completed a level 3 certificate in Canine Hydrotherapy through K9HS (UK). Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, swimming, mountain biking, skiing and loves indulging in European red wine. Christina has a dog (Blue) and a cat (Chas).

  • To allow appropriate social distancing, we are allowing ONE person per pet to enter the hospital.
  • Please wear a mask when entering the hospital.
  • We are currently experiencing a high demand for emergency care. Please call us so we can explain current triage processes and wait times.