If you have ever soaked in a warm bath or used a heating pad, you understand the calming and relaxing effects of heat. This effect is the same for dogs that are exposed to heat therapy. If your dog has arthritis or other conditions that cause aches and pains, heat therapy is an option. There are various heat therapy methods for dogs.
Heat therapy has several advantages for dogs with arthritis. It promotes blood flow and relaxation. It decreases inflammation in muscles and joints. Heat therapy is also good for chronic injuries that cause dull pain or soreness. It helps to release tight muscles, stimulate circulation and ease muscle spasms.
There are several methods of therapy that use heat as the main treatment. Hydrotherapy involves the use of heated water. Your dog will swim in a pool where the temperature is set at 28.9 to 30 degrees Celsius. The warm pressure of the water reduces pain and swelling. It also reduces the strain caused to joints as your dog wades. Ultrasound therapy uses sound waves to heat deeper tissues. This reduces muscle spasms, promotes healing and increases the flexibility of muscles. Heat packs and moist hot towels also provide effective relief when placed on the affected area.
If you want to keep your pet comfortable while he rests at home, heated pet beds are an option. Most heated pet beds are designed for extreme comfort and have adjustable heat levels. Heated water bottles are good for dogs with arthritis. Placing a heated bottle next to your dog can reduce the pain in his joints. Make sure the bottle is not too hot. This also applies to using hot towels. Also, there are several heating pads for dogs on the market. They resemble human heating pads, but do not get as hot.
Infrared heat therapy elevates your dog's surface body temperature by sending waves of energy that radiate deep penetrating heat. This type of heat helps dogs that have arthritis, and protects dogs that are susceptible to it. Also, infrared heat breaks down any foreign matter that collects in the joints so it can be released from the body. Some pet beds and heating pads have built-in infrared heat. They are more expensive, but provide a deeper heating sensation than other heated beds and pads.
Heat therapy is not suggested for acute injuries or areas where swelling and inflammation are prominent. If you use a heated towel or water bottle, test it on your wrist to make sure it is hot, but not uncomfortably so. Heating pads that are made for humans should not be used on your dog. These pads are too hot for dogs. Instead, try using microwaveable pet heating pads, such as SnuggleSafe or Thermo-Wave, because they release safe and gentle heat.