how to become an……Animal Hydrotherapist

Do you want to help animals by offering them hydrotherapy? This page has been compiled to answer some of the most common questions, on how you can be a hydrotherapist. If you've any further queries please email and I'll try to help, or please contact the organisations mentioned.

Are qualifications needed to become a hydrotherapist working with dogs, horses or other animals?

Strictly speaking no. The title of "canine hydrotherapist" and "equine hydrotherapist" or "animal hydrotherapist" aren't legally protected. But there are professional training courses that you can take which lead to recognised qualifications. If you're properly qualified, it will give your potential customers some confidence!

Remember - It is an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained. A Veterinary Surgeon is extremely unlikely to refer any customers to you unless you are fully qualified and insured.

What qualifications can I get & how do I get them?

Hydrotherapy is commonly used to help horses and dogs. But it's also possible for other animals to receive hydrotherapy too. Generally, there are separate courses for canine and equine hydrotherapy. With other small animal hydrotherapy course also available. Given the different physiology of each animal species. Plus the variety of different ailments they can experience, different knowledge is required.

Although you can become a therapist who only offers hydrotherapy. Many veterinary surgeon's and physiotherapists, (plus other animal therapists), train in hydrotherapy as an extra service to offer their animal customers.

If you want to work as a canine hydrotherapist. Then you should consider taking a qualification that enables you to become a member of one of these professional associations for animal hydrotherapists:

  1. Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA). This association sets a number of minimum requirements. Which all aim to ensure dogs are safe. This may seem obvious. But it can be easy to overlook small details. So a dog owner who wants to ensure a safe hydrotherapy experience for their loved canine, will often look for a CHA approved centre.
  2. National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH). This is a "not for profit" professional association which maintains the List of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (RCHs) in the UK. NARCH ensures that all RCHs adhere to the highest professional standards and ethics and these requirements are laid out on this website and within the Guide to Professional Conduct for Registered Canine Hydrotherapists
  3. Institute of Canine Hydrotherapists (ICH) - ICH sets the standards for professionalism and clinical proficiency in therapeutic canine hydrotherapy. All members are qualified professionals who annually pledge their commitment to the Institute of Registered Veterinary Animal Physiotherapists Code of Practice. The Board is directly accountable to the IRVAP Council
  4. Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) - RAMP is Committed to Protecting the Public and their Animals, and Promoting Public Confidence in the Animal Musculoskeletal Occupations it Registers

Or if you want to work in equine hydrotherapy, and be a member of a professional association - then consider joining the Institute of Equine Hydrotherapists which is part of the Institute of Registered Veterinary & Animal Physiotherapists.

How to Choose Your Animal Hydrotherapy Training Course?

It’s important to consider carefully what the professional association is that you are looking to become a member of, as there can be a variance in their requirements. Being able to have access to continuous professional development and part of an organisation with high quality standards will give potential customers extra confidence that you're also offering a high quality service.

Although safety is important for anything, working with animals in water does present additional risks. So understanding the safest way to work with animals is vital to avoid causing injury, ilness or even a death.

So what training can you complete to be a hydrotherapist working with animals?

If you’re interested in training to help animals through hydrotherapy, there are a few options both within the UK and across the world.

When choosing your course, look to see what the qualification is and if it has any kind of accreditation. If it does have accreditation, what is this. Also consider what does the qualification enable you to do - which memberships bodies does it enable you to join.

Please see below a list of useful links to animal hydrotherapy training courses and professional associations.

If you've any questions please email me here at info at taranet .co. uk

Your Hydrotherapy for Animals Training Links

Canine Hydrotherapy Association
Hadlow College
Institute of Equine Hydrotherapists
Institute of Canine Hydrotherapists
K9 Hydrotherapy Courses
Animal Rehabilitation and Health Academy
Animal Courses Direct
Michelle Monks Canine Health & Wellbeing Academy
National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists

Get training advice tips for other popular complementary therapies for animals as follows: