AWG Guest Post Series: Good Dog Aquatic Fitness

Today’s guest post comes from Luis and Mary Carillo, owners of Good Dog Aquatic Fitness in North Andover, Massachusetts. Good Dog is a referral facility that specializes in canine Luis and Mary Carillo, Good Dog Aquatic Fitness hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, and massage therapy to help dogs recover from injury and illness as well as maintain their overall health and quality of life.

Luis, a licensed Physical Therapist and certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, and Mary, a Certified Small Animal Massage Therapist and Animal Care Specialist, started Good Dog Aquatic in 2004 after seeing how much their own dog Saba benefited from swimming after a total hip replacement (full story below).

Today, Good Dog Aquatic is a busy practice with new clients coming in all the time. Luis and Mary work closely with several veterinarians (and have even managed to convert a few doubters).

by Luis Carrillo, PT, CCRP

More and more pet guardians are turning to alternative health treatments in combination with traditional veterinary medicine to improve and maintain their dog’s optimal health.

Canine hydrotherapy at Good Dog Aquatic FitnessHydrotherapy is one such treatment that utilizes the buoyancy, resistance and hydrostatic pressure properties of water. Buoyancy counteracts gravity, reducing pressure and strain on the joints, limbs and spine, which allows for pain free exercise and greater freedom of movement. The dog is able to work through their full range of motion in the water, increasing flexibility and muscle tone. The uniform hydrostatic pressure across all the limbs helps to promote better circulation and blood flow to the entire body. Swimming works every muscle of the body including the heart, and cardiovascular training through resistive current and longer swims improves endurance. Dogs of all ages, especially older dogs who cannot otherwise exercise as vigorously because of various health issues, find water therapy just the right exercise.

Dogs that show signs of advancing degenerative joint disease (DJD) in their hips, knees, shoulders and elbows can benefit from hydrotherapy. It helps to reduce pain and inflammation, build strength and endurance and increase mobility and function.

Recent advances in orthopedic surgery and aquatic therapy have offered dogs with Cruciate (knee) repairs including TPLO (Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy), a chance to recover quicker and return to their former activities including agility, sports, ball playing and walks. Dogs who have had spinal surgery and spinal “strokes” have been shown to return to a better quality of life with the use of hydrotherapy as part of their recovery plan.

Our practice, Good Dog Aquatic Fitness, was inspired by our dog Saba. When Saba needed a total hip replacement, Luis, drawing from his experience as a human physical therapist, had him swimming as part of the post-op recovery and found that it dramatically shortened his recovery time. A few years later, Saba developed Degenerative Myelopathy, a neurological disorder similar to Multiple Sclerosis. Swimming and physical therapy helped Saba manage his DM and live a Massage at Good Dog Aquatic Fitnesshappy life to a ripe old age of 14.

Inspired by how beneficial hydrotherapy had been for Saba, Luis completed his Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner Certification and founded Good Dog Aquatic Fitness in 2004 with the goal to improve the overall quality of life for dogs and their guardians.

At Good Dog Aquatic Fitness, we work closely with the referring veterinarian to develop a custom program tailored to your dog’s special needs. In addition to hydrotherapy, we also use therapeutic exercise, balance training, massage therapy and laser therapy as part of our treatment. We customize a home exercise program as well, which allows owners to actively participate in their dog’s recovery and further strengthen their relationship.

To read all the wonderful Good Dog Aquatic success stories, visit their website

Also, don’t miss Sophie’s story in another canine hydrotherapy post.

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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