These days, the idea of canine rehabilitation has become much more common and much more mainstream, with pet owners searching for physical therapists to both prevent injury and help their beloved pet family members recover after surgery. 

As the canine rehabilitation and physical therapy industry grows, different technologies and modalities to support dog joint health and overall wellbeing are also increasingly being studied.

Recently, two technologies which sound quite similar, but do have major differences have been the focus of some rehabilitation research: Cryotherapy and cold laser therapy for dogs. 

How Does Cryotherapy Help Dogs?

Cryotherapy, “cold therapy,” is just what it sounds like; Treatment involves applying extreme cold to some part of the animal for a brief period of time (typically 10-20 minutes) to stimulate healing, improve tissue function, and reduce inflammation, edema, and pain (1). 

Cryotherapy treatment for dogs with arthritis and stiff joints has proven effective, and it is often used after TPLO surgery

A new study has shown that dogs receiving cold compression therapy (cryotherapy) immediately after TPLO surgery were able to put more weight on their operated leg and had increased joint flexion only 24 hours after surgery than dogs receiving a soft padded bandage (1). 

Cryotherapy’s ‘magic’ is in decreasing swelling, which allows for greater range of motion. Long term effects still need to be studied, but these short term effects are very promising for veterinary rehabilitation professionals. 

How Does Cold Laser Therapy Work on Dogs? 

Cold laser therapy is a relatively easy procedure in that your pet does not need to be sedated or clipped and tends to last, on average, anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes (2).  

A laser is a light that travels at a particular frequency, which is used to stimulate optimal cell function and increase blood circulation. Benefits of cold laser therapy for dogs include improved blood flow to tissues, which means more nutrient supply, more oxygen, and increased removal of waste materials like carbon dioxide. 

Cold laser therapy has been used to treat arthritis in dogs, tendon and soft tissue injuries, speed up wound healing, and overall, decrease joint pain and inflammation. 

Cold laser therapy does not actually involve any form of temperature regulation. It is called “cold” because the levels of light used in the laser are low, so there is no heat produced as a side effect.  

How Do I Know What Kind of Physical Therapy My Dog Needs?

Since the canine rehabilitation field is a science, and a relatively new interest in research, technologies and protocols are changing quickly. It should also be mentioned that there are many other effective forms of rehabilitation and physical therapy for dogs, such as therapeutic ultrasound and underwater treadmill exercise, which have not been discussed here, but are equally as fascinating! 

It is an exciting field and no two dogs have the same therapy needs. Your dog’s treatment plan should be adapted to them. For this reason, you will want to find a veterinarian and certified canine rehabilitation specialist who are up to date on current research. 

These experienced experts will be able to work with you and Fido on an individual basis to create custom treatment and rehabilitation plans. 

New Additions to Canine Rehabilitation

In the meantime, as dogs start their treatment, don’t underestimate the healing power of nutrition. Feeding a high-quality food with the correct levels of vitamins and minerals is key for every single function and process in your dog’s body, especially during the rehabilitation process. 

Additionally, choosing to feed a canine hip and joint supplement that is research-backed and lab-tested for purity standards is wise. These supplements for dogs, when formulated correctly, will offer key joint supportive nutrients that will help enhance your dogs’ ability to repair and rebuild their joints, while decreasing inflammation. 

Whether your dog has undergone surgery or just needs some preventative support, high-quality nutrition and joint supplements will ensure their long lasting health and wellbeing. 

You can call us at (540) 227-0204 or email us at info@rocketanimalhealth.com today if you have any other questions. Our team of animal lovers and experts would be happy to help your pet thrive. 


Read More:

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00381/full
  2. https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/caring-for-your-dog/laser-therapy-for-dogs.html

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