30A Swim Dog Offers the Only Certified Aqua Therapy for Canines in North Florida

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Doggy day care is out, and swimming is the new trend, as pet owners are flocking to the therapeutic pool at 30A Swim Dog for help with arthritis, obesity, hip dysplasia, stress, anxiety and more.

"Whatever the ailment may be, there are specific hydrotherapy exercises designed to reduce your dog's pain, stress and anxiety." -- Melanie Metcalf-Barrett

If your pooch has lost the pep in his step, chances are his ailing joints could benefit from a dip in the pool. Melanie Metcalf-Barrett, founder of 30A Swim Dog, says the assisted hydrotherapy sessions she offers are winning raves from pet owners and veterinarians who believe dogs can reap enormous health benefits from the safe, low-impact workouts. From loosening joints to relaxing muscles and improving cardiac fitness, dogs of all breeds and sizes are diving into her pool to take advantage of the only certified aqua program in the region.

A lifelong animal lover, Metcalf-Barrett's interest in assisted hydrotherapy stemmed from researching holistic treatments for dogs. She became a certified instructor after completing 50 hours of training with 60 dogs and received a Certificate of Achievement from Canautics Canine Aqua Therapy in Orlando. She built a customized, 12' x 28' foot non-chlorinated, heated pool that seems to be popular with clients like 12-year-old "Bella," a mixed breed who was barely able to walk on her back legs but showed noticeable improvement after a few sessions in the pool.

"Assisted hydrotherapy is great for dogs who are arthritic, handicapped, injured, or recovering from surgery," she said. "I've also been working with dogs that have chronic, degenerative diseases, hip dysplasia, or need to lose weight. Whatever the ailment may be, there are specific exercises designed to help reduce pain, stress, and anxiety."

Metcalf-Barrett added she gets lots of calls from people who suddenly notice their dog is having trouble climbing stairs or jumping into the car. Dogs with stiff joints are often thrilled to discover they can paddle easily in the pool. Warm weather during summer months adds to the therapeutic value of the treatments, but Barrett said she plans to use a tent to cover the pool so she can offer sessions all year long. The cost of each session is typically $30 for 30 minutes or $45 for an hour and regular customers can receive discounts. So far she has four local veterinarians sending everything from pit bulls to poodles to her pool. Because she's the only certified instructor in the entire region with the next closest locations in Atlanta and Orlando, booking sessions hasn't been a problem.

"I'm getting referrals from vets who know that swimming in a heated pool can help arthritic dogs maintain mobility, accelerate recovery from surgery, improve neurological rehabilitation from back injuries and blown discs, and relieve anxiety caused by phobias or stress issues," she said. "Drugs can offer some temporary relief, but hydrotherapy can help more in the long run with agility, balance, and strengthening joints. Best of all, most dogs really seem to enjoy it!"

No stranger to animal causes, Metcalf-Barrett has volunteered at the local animal shelter in Fort Walton Beach for years, offering her services as a professional photographer and videographer for pet adoption programs. She's also certified in animal aromatherapy and is a member of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy as well as the Association for Canine Aqua Therapy.Her own pet menagerie includes four dogs, two cats, 15 small birds, two horses and a Flemish Giant rabbit.

"I love working with animals and I'm thrilled that people are entrusting me with their pets at 30A Swim Dog," she said. "We're located on 30A, so we tell people they can go to the beach and drop their dog off at the pool!"

For more information about 30A Swim Dog, call 850-218-0476 or visit the web site at http://www.30aswimdog.com

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Rhonda Price
30A Swim Dog
+1 (561) 371-9407
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Melanie Barrett
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