top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Physical Rehabilitation help my dog?

Can Rehab Help My Dog?

Rehabilitation uses the same techniques as human physical therapy and applies them to dogs. We commonly see dogs struggling with arthritis, dog sports injuries, surgical recovery, obesity and neurological disorders. Even healthy, young dogs can benefit from rehab in the same way that humans benefit from a wide variety of exercise. Sometimes rehab can help prevent an injury from happening. We have included an extensive list of conditions that we treat below, but if you don't see your pet's condition, please give us a call to discuss it as it may be something we have treated before but see less often.

  • FHO (Femoral Head and Neck Ostectomy)

  • Total Hip Replacement

  • Amputation

  • Fracture repair

  • TPLO cruciate repair

  • Extracapsular cruciate repair

  • TTA cruciate repair

  • Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO)

  • Luxating Patella Repair

  • Limb Deformity/Angulation Surgery

  • Tendon Release Procedures

  • Arthrodesis of a joint

  • OCD surgery (osteochondritis dissecans)

  • Ventral Slot Fenestration surgery

  • Amputation - adaptation, build supporting muscles, manage pain

  • Arthritis - increase mobility and range of motion, decrease inflammation and need for medications

  • Back Injuries/IVDD - increase muscle support to help prevent reinjury, manage pain, gait retraining for return to walking

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome - manage pain, maintain strength and function

  • Cruciate Injury/ ACL tear- speed and improve recovery, restore extension, decrease inflammation, reduce risk of injury for other leg

  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) - slow progression of disease, maintain muscle function and prolong life

  • Elbow Dysplasia - increase mobility, decrease inflammation, strengthening
  • Fractures - faster recovery, prevent muscle contracture

  • Hip Dysplasia - build supporting muscle mass, increase mobility and comfort

  • Joint Dislocation - strengthen supporting muscles and ligaments, prevent re-injury

  • Joint Replacements - faster adaptation, improve coordination and strength

  • Muscle Injuries - speed healing, decrease inflammation, prevent scarring, restore normal function

  • Neck Pain/Wobblers - reduce pain, improve function

  • Nerve Injury - speed recovery, functional adaptation, manage pain

  • Neuromuscular Disease - strengthening, adaptation, manage pain

  • Obesity - individualized weight loss programs

  • Patellar Luxation - strengthening of quadriceps, prevent injury

  • Shoulder OCD - increase mobility, strengthening

  • Tendon Injury - increase range of motion and strength, decrease inflammation and scar tissue

Why can't I stay with my dog during their therapy?

Why Can't I Stay With My Dog During Their Rehab Session?

We understand the incredible bond you have with your dog and we know it can difficult to be away from them, especially when they're already in a fragile state. Our goal is to get them as healthy, comfortable and fit as possible so they can continue to be at your side for as long as possible. In order for them to benefit the most from their rehab visits, we ask that you be prepared to leave your dog with us for their treatments.


Most pets that come to see us have suffered some kind of trauma or pain, so being around a new person can be scary for them. By working with your dog one on one, we get to develop a special relationship with your dog built on trust and relaxation. We rely on that relationship to be able to help your dog. They need to trust that we are not going to hurt them when handling their surgical site or injury. They have to bond with us enough to perform whichever strange, new exercise we are asking them to do. And they have to be able to relax, so the therapeutic effects can take hold.

A relationship like this takes time and consistency to build. The unspoken promise "I won't ever hurt you" is our number one priority as we challenge their physical abilities. We are careful to closely monitor their abilities and comfort so we can build upon their strengths without over taxing them. This bond is vital to their recovery process.

When an owner is present, their pet can't focus on their therapy. They remain attached to their person and are less inclined to bond with us. This impedes your dog's progress and limits their ability to recover. 

How does the Consultation work?

How Does The Appointment Work?

Your first appointment with us is the Consultation.
First, you will need to email your completed New Client & Patient Paperwork (4 pages total) as soon as possible upon scheduling. On the day of your consult, make sure to give your dog all their regular medications as prescribed. We ask that you please take your dog to potty before your appointment. During this appointment you will meet with Lauryn, the Rehabilitation Practitioner, and one of the Veterinarians on staff. We will discuss your pet's medical history, including what brought you to rehab and any other medical or behavioral conditions your pet might have, as well as your goals for your pet. Once we have a thorough understanding of your dog's medical needs, we will ask you to leave them with us for about an hour.

This gives us one on one time with your dog to further evaluate their abilities, begin to earn their trust and perform treatments to help your pet start to feel better. We will give you a specific pick-up time so we can meet with you once more. We will provide you with our assessment of your pet's condition, discuss which treatments would be most effective for your pet and show you how to do at-home treatments & exercises to further benefit your pet's recovery. These at-home treatments & exercises are generally not optional and your pet will not recover as quickly without them. 

Lastly, we will provide our recommendations on continued treatment. Every dog is different and there's no one size fits all approach. Some pets can get away with just once weekly visits, but most need 2-3 visits per week to give them the best chance of recovery.


Just like people, dogs benefit from consistent exercise. The more sedentary your dog is, the more likely they are to hurt themselves when they do exercise or fail to recover entirely.

Some dogs are better off with a surgical repair of their injury. We are very honest in these situations as we would prefer that you spend your time and money on the best possible outcome for your pet. Of course, not all dogs are great surgical candidates and rehab is often their best chance for healing or preventing further injury.

For continued care, we will set up specific drop-off appointments for your pet. We ask that you take them to go potty before dropping them off and bring 2 towels to each appointment (larger or furrier pups may need extra). These sessions are usually 1-2 hours and owners are not present. We do take pictures and videos of our patients when time allows. There is no guarantee that photos/videos will be taken of your pet since this is something we do only when there is free time between treatments. We do encourage you to check out our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts to get a better feel for what your pet's rehab sessions might look like.

What if my dog doesn't like water?

What If My Dog Doesn't Like Water?


Many dogs struggle in water and become fearful because they are suddenly submerged and their feet can't touch the ground. The underwater treadmill provides fantastic low-impact resistance exercises while the patients feet remain on the ground and their head and shoulders stay dry. The water level is adjusted very slowly and rises up from below them so that at first, only their toes get wet. Gradually, the water level rises and the treadmill band moves forward.


Your dog is walking and distracted and before they know it, the water level is up to their elbows and everything is fine. Of course, we are always right there at their side (and sometimes inside the treadmill) to provide support and encouragement every step of the way.

What if my dog doesn't like other dogs?

What If My Dog Doesn't Like Other Dogs?

All breeds, all sizes, and all ages are welcome at CROC. We see everything from Chihuahuas and Maltese all the way up to Great Danes and Mastiffs.


We can offer this because our patients are never allowed to interact with other patients unless they are from the same family. Each dog is harnessed and securely anchored to their own bed so that while they can see other dogs, they cannot reach them or otherwise interact with them. 


If your dog is particularly reactive around other dogs, we will do everything we can to coordinate an appointment time during a quieter part of the day. We will always give your dog a chance to try it out. Often times, pups are less bold away from their family and do just fine. 

How do you assess my dog if they're on pain medications?

How Do You Assess My Dog If They Are On Pain Medication?


We get this question often and we want to be very clear!

PLEASE! Give your dog all their medications as prescribed by your regular vet!

Some pet parents are concerned that our evaluation of their pet will not be accurate if the symptoms are "covered up" by pain medication. While we appreciate that the pet parents just want to help, we would prefer that you maintain your pet's pain management routine. Many years of medical training allow us to see even the tiniest signs of pain or weakness. By seeing what your dog can do while on their current pain control, we can help weigh in if their pain management plan needs adjusting such as dose or medication changes/additions. 


Ultimately, a dog too painful to participate in rehab won't be able to do the work necessary to heal and won't be comfortable enough to trust us. That trusting relationship that we build with our patients is vital to their recovery. Please, always give them their medications as prescribed so we can help them feel even better.

Does CROC accept my pet insurance?

Does CROC Accept Pet Insurance?

Unlike human health insurance, pet insurance is structured as such that clients must pay for their pet's care at the time of service, then submit their receipt to their insurance for reimbursement. The upside to this is that this also means that you can go to any Veterinary Medical facility of your choosing (no having to check if the doctor is in network) but it does mean that clients are on the hook for medical costs until insurance reimburses them.

Many pets come to us having already experienced intensive (and expensive) medical care or surgeries and we know that insurance coverage can be the difference between continued recovery care and having to hope for the best. We do recommend checking with your insurance to make sure they Physical Rehabilitation (sometimes also referred to as hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, physical therapy, etc) as not all plans include that kind of coverage. We do our very best to make sure your dog's visits get covered to the maximum extent that your policy allows so feel free to chat with us regarding your claims.

Why does my dog need an exam?

Why Does My Dog Need An Exam?

We know. You've already seen your regular vet and/or a veterinary specialist and now you have to prepare for yet another exam appointment. Veterinary medicine is similar to human medicine in that doctors have a legal requirement to examine a patient and establish a relationship with them before they can provide any medical care or prescribe any medications. 

Physical rehabilitation might seem like "just exercise" or "just massage" but the truth is that it is so much more medically involved than most might think and we also cannot legally perform ANY sort of Physical Rehabilitation without one of our veterinarians examining your dog and establishing the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship.

Our highly trained staff has years of medical training to properly understand the myriad of medical conditions that our patients present with. Not only do we have to have a thorough understanding of the conditions that we treat, but we also have to understand the conditions that often come along in addition to their presenting problem, like gastrointestinal diseases, cardiac and respiratory conditions, dermatological issues, cancers and their respective treatments, as well as cognitive and behavioral changes for all stages of a dog's life. Without this deep understanding of our patients' medical status, one could very easily overexert or injure a patient. This is why it is so important to ensure that your dog's rehabilitation facility has staff formally trained and licensed in Veterinary Medicine and Rehabilitation.

My dog's legs are suddenly paralyzed. What do I do?

My Dog's Legs Are Suddenly Paralyzed. What Do I Do?

If your dog's paralysis just started today, SEEK EMERGENCY VETERINARY CARE IMMEDIATELY. Not all emergency veterinary hospitals are prepared for this type of condition, so a hospital with a Neurology Specialist on staff is preferred. Our local recommendations include:

Blue Pearl Pet Hospital - 1371 Reynolds Ave, Irvine - (949) 833-9020

Veterinary Neurology Center - 3051 Edinger Ave, Tustin - (949) 784-8703

Be sure to call ahead to confirm that they are open and accepting new patients as veterinary emergency hospitals have remained overworked and understaffed since COVID began.

Paralysis of any kind always warrants immediate veterinary care. Often, sudden paralysis is caused by something pinching on the spinal cord like a slipped disk. The spinal cord is an unforgiving tissue and does not bounce back from injury well, so for any chance of returning to normal neurological function, it is imperative for that pressure to be relieved as soon as possible.

Depending on your dog's symptoms, be prepared for a full examination and a likely recommendation for an MRI of your dog's spinal cord. Some patients will require corrective surgery to give them the best chance of returning to normal function.

We frequently treat patients with partial or complete paralysis after they have been evaluated and treated by a neurologist. While we cannot guarantee a perfect recovery back to normal function, we have had many successful cases of patients that began therapy unable to walk and graduated walking on their own. How well a patient responds to therapy is sometimes a toss up, but patients that receive medical treatment right away, start consistent rehab therapies as soon as possible after, and get all at-home exercises performed regularly have the best chance at recovery.

On average, there is an approximately 6 month window from the time of spinal injury to reach maximum recovery. Significant improvement beyond that 6 month window is unlikely and dogs that remain non-ambulatory at that point may be recommended for a Cart Fitting and custom built cart.

bottom of page