Canine Health Management through Dog Wellness Centers

A new trend in managing weight and rehabilitation is dog wellness centers, which vary in the services they provide but often include exercise centers, grooming, boarding and even veterinary care.

Services Provided

Unlike veterinary clinics, which usually offer many of the same services, dog wellness centers vary significantly from clinic to clinic. Some veterinary clinics actually double as wellness centers, providing dental care, grooming, behavioral counseling and exercise programs in addition to their veterinary services.

However, most wellness centers don't have a veterinary component and consist primarily of services that help promote overall health for your dog. Many provide grooming and boarding services, possibly even training or behavioral counseling, but most focus on exercise and nutrition counseling as well as injury rehabilitation.

Weight Management

Obesity can cause many health problems in your pets, such as joint problems, heart problems and other general health problems. Many wellness centers offer customized diets and exercise programs to help you reduce your pet's weight.

Large facilities allow them to provide treadmills, swimming pools and trained professionals that will exercise your dog the appropriate amount. Weight management programs will usually begin with reducing your dog's calorie intake. Exercise programs usually begin slowly to get your dog accustomed to the increased work load.

Rehabilitation Centers

If your dog has hip dysplasia or arthritis, or has recently undergone surgery, he may need a physical therapy program to help him recover properly. Wellness centers usually have various equipment and programs available to rehabilitate your dog without pain. Overweight or stiff senior dogs can also benefit from these programs.

Wellness centers provide many services such massage, acupuncture and exercise equipment. Exercise programs usually include stretching, exercises that increase range of motion and strength-building exercises. They also includes exercises that don't put a lot of weight on the joints or injured area, such as swimming or treadmills, either on land or below water.

Other services could include thermotherapy, ultrasound or electrical muscular stimulation. Thermotherapy utilizes either cold to lower swelling and inflammation or heat to increase blood flow and increase muscle capabilities. Ultrasound uses sound waves to increase circulation and range of motion for an injured dog. Electrical muscular stimulation stimulates muscles and reteaches motion while reducing swelling and pain.

Finding a Wellness Center

While wellness centers can be an excellent way of providing your dog with exercise and rehabilitation, research local facilities before sending your dog there. Owners are often not allowed for treatment, so it's important that you trust your dog's therapists.

Ask to observe treatment and tour the facilities. Ask for the education level or certifications of the people who will be working with your dog. Because there are a variety of nutrition and exercise therapy certifications available, some are not as good as others and experience levels can vary widely.

Make sure you understand the treatment program and exactly what your dog will be doing. Double check that program with your veterinarian.

Wellness centers can provide a variety of services designed to increase the health of your dog. If your dog suffers from obesity, arthritis or a joint disease, visit a wellness center near you to see what programs are available.