What Is Canine Physical Therapy? How Can It Help My Dog? - Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy
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What Is Canine Physical Therapy? How Can It Help My Dog?

Our dogs love us so unconditionally and we love them too. We always want the best for them. We care for them, we feed them, we exercise them, and we love them. But what happens when they have an injury? We take them to the Veterinarian because they have a limp, back injury, are in pain, or can just tell there is something wrong. Maybe the injury is obvious or maybe we can just see little changes in their mood or behavior. Often times the vet can help with pain meds or other treatments. But what happens when the problem has more to do with a joint, muscles, or other parts of the body that seeing the veterinarian doesn’t help? This is where canine physical therapy or dog physical therapy can be key. There is so much that is involved in canine physical therapy and it can help in so many ways.

What is canine physical Therapy?

Canine physical therapy begins with a thorough assessment of your dogs’ joints, muscles, nerves, strength, gait and overall function. A skilled canine physical therapist will watch your dog walk, move, and watch for any abnormal behavior that may indicate pain or dysfunction. The dog physical therapist will take your dog through a series of tests looking at strength, signs of nerve dysfunction, joint pain or dysfunction, and evaluate your dog’s overall function. They will move your dog’s joints, feel muscles, and do a thorough assessment of what is going on and what can be done. Through this process they will be able to know if canine physical therapy is right for your dog. At Salt Lake Animal Physical Therapy, we offer a free discovery visit just for this purpose:

Canine physical therapy adapts techniques and treatment methods from humans to improve function, mobility, and overall quality of life in a dog. Physical therapy for dogs can be used to reduce pain, improve gait or limping, increase strength, help degenerative diseases, obesity, increase function, help age related diseases, for post-surgical conditions, and much more. The methods and techniques are endless, but the most important thing that goes behind canine physical therapy is the professional that executes it. Meaning the thought process of why, how much, and when something is done is important. The trained canine physical therapist or dog physical therapist evaluates the client and develops a treatment plan based on that evaluation.

The skilled canine physical therapist may perform:

  • Soft tissue mobilization to release tight muscles
  • Passive or active range of motion to improve mobility and function
  • Hands on manual techniques which is called manual therapy for a variety of reasons
  • Joint mobilizations or distractions to decrease pain, increase range of motion, or decrease inflammation
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to increase bone or tissue healing
  • Laser to decrease pain or inflammation, or help tissue repair
  • Weightbearing, proprioceptive, or balance work to stabilize joints, increase weight bearing, or give neuro feedback
  • Progressive exercises both in clinic and an at home program
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation to get the muscles activating properly again
  • And so much more!!!

How can it help my dog?

There are so many ways that canine physical therapy can help your dog. It can help with your dog’s limp, so your dog can get back to walking, running, or playing in the park, whether young or old. It can also help your dog’s aging or stiff joints. It can help your dog that may have back or disc problems. The list is really endless. Canine physical therapy is designed to help your dog get out of pain, get back to doing the things that you and your dog want to do together, and just help them live a happy and healthy life.

Listen to how canine physical therapy has helped others: