Are you new to pet parenting and looking for ways to ensure your dog lives a long healthy life? Or your four-legged buddy has started to slow down due to aging and losing interest in everyday activities? If yes, then you need to see an experienced animal physical therapist. Why? Let’s find out.
Dog Physical Therapy in a nutshell
Physical rehabilitation of dogs involves hands on manual therapy, exercises, massages, and various techniques to stabilize joints and muscular health.
Canine physical therapy is a proven method that substantially enhances strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall health. Especially post surgeries, it is very effective and a viable alternative to bucket loads of medications. Some medications make dogs giddy and anxious. Moreover, animal physical therapy is a long-term solution that improves the overall quality of life.
Above are some good reasons to find a reliable physical therapist for your dog. But if you are a skeptic who likes to be sure before making the jump, read on.
When do we need to see an animal physical therapist? What are the symptoms?
While physical pain in dogs is visible, other subtle symptoms go unnoticed. Let’s look at them.
Pronounced symptoms that require physical therapy
- Dog exhibits pain upon being touched or during movement
- Difficulty standing from a sleeping position or after lying down for a while
- Poor posture
- Reluctance to go for walks or unusual gait
- Hesitation to climb the stairs
- Dragging of hind legs
More subtle signs that may need physical therapist intervention include:
- Extended naps
- Decreased appetite
- Lack of interest in daily activities
Then there are various conditions that benefit from dog physical therapy. A few of those are:
- Canine IVDD
- Canine Spondylosis
- Hip or Elbow Dysplasia
- ACL Tears
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Muscular or joint pain
- Much more!
To reverse or treat such conditions and limit suffering, animal physical therapists use a gamut of techniques. From performing assisted exercises to instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, there are various methods. Some of the most common therapies are:
- Range of motion exercise
- Cryotherapy or cold therapy
- Thermotherapy or warm therapy
- Dry Needling
- Massage therapy
- Balance and coordination exercises
- Laser therapy
- Therapeutic ultrasound
- Neuromuscular Electrical stimulation
- Exercises for weight management
Physical Therapy works on various aspects of a dog’s condition. From mobility to reducing pain, it is adept at limiting many such problems.
Here is why you need to get your furry buddy a trusted dog physical therapist.
- Gain mobility and range of motion:
Injuries or surgeries render our canine friends motionless for quite some time. It not only leaves in decreased appetite but anxiety and weight gain, a perfect breeding ground for sedentary-lifestyle-borne diseases. And it hinders the joy that comes from socializing or playing, running, walking, etc.
But thanks to canine rehabilitation, the dog can enjoy free movement, as their joints are well lubricated and mobilized with therapy. A canine physical therapist may use stretching, range of motion exercise, hands on manual therapy – such as joint mobilizations, and active range of motion exercises to help regain mobility.
- Pain relief
Physical therapies help reduce postoperative pain or pain associated with injury or agings. Pain may cause mood swings, sadness, and depression in canines. Massage therapy, dry needling or acupuncture, and passive range of motion are some techniques that not only reduce the pain but also positively affect their mood.
- Reducing inflammation
Physical therapy helps reduce inflammation and swelling and speeds up the healing process. There are a wide range of tools a canine physical therapist may use for this.
- Strengthening the muscles
Dogs may be weaker after surgery, from aging, injury, or for other reasons. Specific targeted exercises done with consistency will help strengthen your animal. In addition, neuromuscular electrical stimulation may be used to help get inactive muscles firing again.
- Weight Management
We all know what excessive weight harbors – diseases. Especially dogs that undergo knife or suffer from movement-restricting conditions tend to gain weight. Eventually, it takes a toll on their joints and overall health. This is where physical therapy plays a crucial role. Physical therapies ensure supported movement allowing dogs to maintain a healthy weight. And obviously, the diet has a significant role to play here.
Does a physically healthy dog benefit from physical therapy?
To answer this, you have to look at how movement, such as dance, walking, running, or any other sport, enhances our mood. Similarly physical therapy helps dogs in more ways than one.
Physical therapists can administer various exercises for dogs to improve their overall mental and physical health. It makes them mentally fit and more importantly, a regular checkup keeps you on top of any possible injury. Animal physical therapy is suggested by animal neurologists as well. It helps with fighting mental health conditions.
How quickly does physical therapy improve my dog’s health?
Every dog is different and unique. Therefore each may respond to the therapy differently. It also depends on how good your physical therapist is and how diligent you are with your home exercises.
Are there any risks to Physical Rehabilitation?
Dog physical therapy is very safe, provided you have a trusted dog physical therapist. It is always good to ask your local pet owner community for suggestions.
Summing it up…
Physical therapy is a time-tested and proven method to boost your dog’s physical and mental health. And post-surgery, injury or aging makes it is a must.