Improving Your Dog’s Health and Mobility
Through Physical Therapy
More than 11 million Americans use outpatient physical therapy services each year. As services become increasingly available it will be easier than ever for people to get the assistance they need.
Physical therapy is effective in a variety of ways, helping people manage pain, injuries, chronic conditions, and more. On the other hand, there is much less awareness of the effects physical therapy can have on dogs. Physical therapy can help dogs manage a number of conditions including neurological diseases, arthritis, injuries to soft tissue, and surgery recovery. Regardless of the age and health of your dog, there’s a chance physical therapy could help your pet live their life to the fullest.
Signs of Health Problems
Unlike our family members, dogs have no way of articulating when something is wrong, so it’s important to be vigilant about your pets’ health and be aware of any evidence that your dog is struggling. Some of the most common signs that a dog could benefit from physical therapy include difficulties with mobility and stamina, taking longer naps than usual, and eating less food.
Although physical therapy can help dogs dealing with a variety of health problems, these symptoms may also indicate a more serious issue that could warrant a different course of treatment. Therefore, physical therapists usually require a referral from a family veterinarian, who will perform a physical exam to determine the root of the problem.
Treating Dogs with Physical Therapy
Your physical therapist will design a safe and comfortable exercise routine for your dog based on the type and severity of your pet’s symptoms. Two of the most common forms of canine physical therapy are a passive range of motion and the use of an underwater treadmill.
Passive Range of Motion Exercises
These exercises are intended to help dogs increase their mobility and maintain their normal range of motion. Other benefits of passive range of motion exercises include lower levels of pain and discomfort, improved flexibility, and better circulation leading to stronger joints.
A passive range of motion exercise usually involves manual movement of the joint in a back and forth motion. The bicycle motion, which is the most common passive range of motion exercise, is a slow and continuous exercise that can help keep dogs limber.
An underwater treadmill can be adjusted in both water level and speed, making it easy to tailor to your dog’s health. While a physical therapist may start with low-impact exercise, they can decrease the water level while also increasing the speed over time as your dog makes more progress.
While it’s important to closely monitor your dog’s comfort throughout their physical therapy treatment, PT can be a great way to help your pet live a healthier and more comfortable life. Talk to your vet about physical therapy if you think it may be the right option for your canine companion.
Guest Writer: betterpt.com
Have you tried physical therapy for your pet(s)?