Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Job Description [Updated for 2024]

canine rehabilitation therapist job description

In the evolving world of veterinary medicine, the focus on canine rehabilitation therapists is rapidly growing.

As our understanding of animal care and therapy advances, the demand for skilled individuals who can enhance, restore, and preserve the physical abilities of our canine companions increases.

So, what does it truly mean to be a canine rehabilitation therapist?

Whether you are:

  • A job seeker trying to understand the core of this role,
  • A hiring manager outlining the perfect candidate,
  • Or simply fascinated by the field of canine rehabilitation therapy,

You’ve come to the right place.

Today, we present a customizable canine rehabilitation therapist job description template, crafted for effortless posting on job boards or career sites.

Let’s dive right into it.

Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Duties and Responsibilities

Canine Rehabilitation Therapists work with dogs to help improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve overall health and fitness.

They often work in veterinary hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or private practices, and their duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Assess and diagnose dogs’ physical conditions and needs
  • Develop customized treatment plans for each dog, based on their specific needs and abilities
  • Provide hands-on therapy, such as massage, stretching exercises, and other physical therapy techniques
  • Use specialized equipment, such as hydrotherapy pools, treadmills, and therapeutic lasers, to assist with treatments
  • Educate pet owners on how to carry out specific exercises and treatments at home
  • Monitor the progress of each dog and adjust their treatment plan as necessary
  • Collaborate with veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other animal health professionals to ensure the best possible care for each dog
  • Maintain detailed records of each dog’s condition, treatment plan, and progress


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Job Description Template

Job Brief

We are seeking a dedicated Canine Rehabilitation Therapist to join our team.

As a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, you will be responsible for evaluating, treating, and working on the recovery of dogs who have undergone surgery or suffer from acute or chronic health conditions.

You will need to possess a strong understanding of animal physiology, veterinary medical conditions, and how to apply therapeutic exercises to aid in animal recovery.



  • Evaluate canine patients and establish appropriate rehabilitation plans
  • Perform a variety of therapeutic exercises and procedures
  • Monitor progress and adjust treatments as necessary
  • Communicate with veterinarians and pet owners about treatment plans and progress
  • Develop home exercise programs for pet owners to follow
  • Ensure the safety and comfort of patients at all times
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments and advancements in canine rehabilitation
  • Maintain records of patient treatments and progress



  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree
  • Completion of a canine rehabilitation therapy program, such as the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) or Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) program
  • Proven experience as a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist or similar role
  • Strong understanding of animal behavior and physiology
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to handle dogs of all sizes and temperaments



  • 401(k)
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Paid time off


Additional Information

  • Job Title: Canine Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Work Environment: Veterinary clinic or animal rehabilitation center. This position may require working on weekends and holidays.
  • Reporting Structure: Reports to the Veterinary Clinic Manager or Director of Rehabilitation.
  • Salary: Salary is based upon candidate experience and qualifications, as well as market and business considerations.
  • Pay Range: $75,000 minimum to $120,000 maximum
  • Location: [City, State] (specify the location or indicate if remote)
  • Employment Type: Full-time
  • Equal Opportunity Statement: We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.
  • Application Instructions: Please submit your resume and a cover letter outlining your qualifications and experience to [email address or application portal].


What Does a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Do?

Canine Rehabilitation Therapists, also known as animal physiotherapists, work predominantly with dogs to help improve their physical wellbeing.

This can involve working with dogs that have undergone surgery, have chronic illnesses, or are recovering from injuries.

They use a variety of techniques, including hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises, massage, and application of heat or cold, to help the dog regain or improve mobility, reduce pain, and increase overall quality of life.

Canine Rehabilitation Therapists develop personalized treatment plans based on the specific needs of each dog, and they monitor the dog’s progress throughout the treatment process.

They work closely with veterinarians to understand the dog’s medical history and current health status, and often provide advice to dog owners on how to continue therapy at home to optimize the dog’s recovery.

In some cases, Canine Rehabilitation Therapists may also work with healthy dogs, particularly working dogs or athletic dogs, to help prevent injuries and improve performance.


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Qualifications and Skills

A skilled Canine Rehabilitation Therapist should possess a unique blend of qualifications and skills that make them capable of working with a variety of dogs, such as:

  • Degree in Veterinary Medicine, Physical Therapy, or a related field, with additional certification in canine rehabilitation.
  • Hands-on experience with dogs of different breeds, sizes, and temperaments, as well as knowledge of the specific physical and behavioral characteristics of these breeds.
  • Strong understanding of canine anatomy and physiology, and the ability to use this knowledge to design and implement tailored rehabilitation programs.
  • Excellent observational skills to identify subtle changes in a dog’s movement or behavior that may indicate injury or progress in recovery.
  • Strong communication skills to liaise with pet owners, to explain treatment plans, and to provide updates on a dog’s progress.
  • Patience and empathy to work with animals who may be in pain or distress, and to soothe anxious pets and owners.
  • Physical stamina to handle large or energetic dogs, and to perform hands-on treatments such as massage or physical manipulation.
  • Problem-solving skills to adapt treatment plans as necessary based on a dog’s response to therapy.


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Experience Requirements

Canine Rehabilitation Therapists usually start their career by obtaining a degree in physical therapy or veterinary medicine.

This is followed by gaining practical experience by working in animal hospitals, veterinary clinics, or animal rehabilitation centers.

Entry-level therapists may have 1 to 2 years of hands-on experience, often acquired through internships or part-time roles in animal care facilities.

During this time, they typically learn how to develop rehabilitation plans, operate specialized equipment, and work closely with veterinarians and other animal healthcare providers.

Professionals with more than 3 years of experience often expand their knowledge and practical skills in providing complex physical therapy treatments for dogs.

They may also develop expertise in treating specific conditions such as orthopedic disorders, neurological issues, and post-surgical recovery.

Those with more than 5 years of experience usually have in-depth knowledge about various breeds and their unique health needs.

They may have some managerial experience, such as supervising a team of therapists, managing a rehabilitation center, or running their own private practice.

This level of experience often makes them qualified for higher-level roles or consulting positions within the field of canine rehabilitation therapy.


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Education and Training Requirements

A Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, also known as a veterinary physiotherapist, usually holds a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as veterinary medicine, physical therapy, or animal science.

To specialize in canine rehabilitation, a professional certification or a master’s degree in Animal Physiotherapy or Canine Rehabilitation is often required.

These programs typically cover anatomy, physiology, medical conditions and treatments, biomechanics, and hands-on rehabilitation techniques for dogs.

In addition to formal education, practical experience is also important.

This can be gained through internships, residencies, or supervised practice at veterinary hospitals or rehabilitation centers.

Most states require Canine Rehabilitation Therapists to be licensed or certified.

The certification process usually involves passing an exam administered by a recognized organization such as the Canine Rehabilitation Institute or the University of Tennessee’s Canine Rehabilitation Certificate Program.

Continuing education is important in this field to stay up-to-date with the latest research and techniques.

This can be achieved through workshops, seminars, and advanced courses in canine rehabilitation.

In addition, a successful Canine Rehabilitation Therapist should have excellent communication skills, a deep love for animals, and the physical stamina to work with dogs of all sizes.


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Salary Expectations

A Canine Rehabilitation Therapist earns an average salary of $42,650 (USD) per year.

The salary may vary depending on years of experience, education, location, and the number of clients they serve.


Canine Rehabilitation Therapist Job Description FAQs

What skills does a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist need?

A Canine Rehabilitation Therapist must possess strong problem-solving skills to accurately diagnose a dog’s physical condition and determine the best treatment.

They should have a deep understanding of canine physiology and behavior, as well as hands-on skills for therapeutic exercises and massages.

Excellent interpersonal skills are also necessary to communicate effectively with dog owners and veterinary colleagues.


Do Canine Rehabilitation Therapists need a degree?

Yes, Canine Rehabilitation Therapists typically need a degree in veterinary medicine, physical therapy, or a related field.

Afterward, they need to complete a specialized training program in animal rehabilitation.

Some may also be certified by professional organizations, such as the Canine Rehabilitation Institute or the University of Tennessee’s Canine Rehabilitation Certificate Program.


What should you look for in a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist’s resume?

The first thing to look for is their education and certification in canine rehabilitation.

Additional qualifications in veterinary medicine or physical therapy can also be advantageous.

Experience working with dogs in a rehabilitation setting is crucial, so check their employment history and any relevant internships or volunteer work.

Also, look for skills such as knowledge of canine anatomy, physical therapy techniques, and the ability to work with special-needs or aggressive dogs.


What qualities make a good Canine Rehabilitation Therapist?

A good Canine Rehabilitation Therapist should have a deep love for dogs and a desire to improve their quality of life.

They should be patient, compassionate, and able to empathize with both the dog and its owner.

They should be detail-oriented and observant, capable of noticing subtle changes in a dog’s physical condition or behavior.

Lastly, they should be committed to continuing education to stay updated on the latest techniques in canine rehabilitation.


Is it difficult to hire a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist?

The difficulty in hiring a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist can vary depending on the location and specific needs of the clinic or hospital.

In certain areas, there may be a shortage of qualified professionals, making the hiring process more challenging.

It’s important to offer a competitive salary and benefits package to attract and retain top talent in this specialized field.



So, there you have it.

Today, we’ve unraveled the true essence of being a canine rehabilitation therapist.

And guess what?

It’s not just about playing fetch.

It’s about healing man’s best friend, one gentle touch at a time.

With our trusty canine rehabilitation therapist job description template and real-world examples, you’re ready to embark on this rewarding journey.

But why stop there?

Dig deeper with our job description generator. It’s your next paw-step to precision-crafted listings or fine-tuning your resume to dogged perfection.


Every therapeutic touch is a part of the bigger healing process.

Let’s pave that path. Together.

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