Ways to keep your Halifax/Dartmouth dog in tip-top form!
At Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives we are advocates of preventive veterinary medicine. This means that we wish to give you the best advice on how to keep your pet healthy and prevent health problems, not just treat disease once it is present.
As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, I have a special interest in the Musculoskeletal and Nervous systems. Keeping these systems in top form can prevent injury and keep your pet moving freely throughout his/her entire life.
Most of us think of dogs as being very agile. And although this is true, most dogs have very little hind limb awareness. Basically, their hind end moves along because their front end went first! Teaching our dogs to have better hind limb awareness can greatly decrease their risk of injuries to their back legs.
All dogs’ joints contain conscious proprioception receptors. These receptors tell the brain where the body is in space. If we stimulate these receptors to become more sensitive, they can warn the brain faster if the body starts moving in an unusual direction. The brain can then stimulate the muscles to contract and prevent the joints from twisting and being injured. Simple exercises like walking backwards so the hind legs have to take the lead, or walking slowly over the rungs of a ladder, so that your dog has to pay attention to the placement of all 4 of their paws, can help your pet improve their conscious proprioception.
Strong core muscles are also very important. The abdominal muscles and the epaxial muscles (the muscles along the back) play a large role in supporting your canine’s body. And just like in humans, many dogs do not have a strong core. If the core muscles are weak, the limbs have to do more work stabilizing the body. Teaching your dog to “sit pretty” is more than just cute. Your dog has to use all those core muscles to hold that position. Can they already do “sit pretty”? Make it more challenging by offering treats over their left then right shoulders. The weight shifting increases the difficulty and works those abs even more!
There are many more exercises that can help improve your dog’s core muscle strength and conscious proprioception. With two veterinarians and two technicians trained in canine rehabilitation, Full Circle Vets is ready to teach you the right exercises to keep your pets in tip top musculoskeletal health!
Dr. Janis M. Fisher, DVM, CVA, CCRT
Your pet deserves the Full Circle of Veterinary Care!
Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care. Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), diagnostic ultrasound, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline focused medicine and more. Take the first step and join us.