Winter has been fairly cold and wet in some parts of the country. As the weather starts to warm up, we are eager to venture outside and make up for lost time. We remove the extra layers, buy a new harness or leash for our dog and get excited about our fun time and planned outdoor events.
We look at our best friend and realise that they spent majority of their time indoors and didn’t get out as much, yet we are keen to head to the park and play ball or Frisbee.
The plan sounds great if your pet has been active all year long, however it can backfire if you rush into it! consequently you might end up seeing the vet before summer arrives. Dogs who spend majority of their winter time at rest will need to rebuild their muscle tone due to muscle weakness and possibly muscle atrophy or wastage. Even short periods of inactivity will impact both human and dog muscle strength.
COMMON SPRINGTIME INJURIES
Most common soft tissue injuries are Cranial Cruciate Ligament tears (CCL) and Neck problems. Similarly, they can also sustain minor strains or sprains.
CCL is one of the most common knee injuries that can impact both humans and canines as a result of slipping, twisting, falling, joint degeneration or getting hit by a car. Classically your dog will appear limping, not weight bear and display lameness. Cruciate conditions are commonly seen in medium to large breed dogs and can be exacerbated in overweight dogs.
Neck problems usually result from collar strain. When your dog gets excited or sees another dog they may jump forward suddenly causing tight collar pull. If your dog hasn’t been out for a walk in a long time, they are likely to pull on the leash the first few times causing pressure and pain to the neck.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament (connects one bone to another) while a strain is an injury to the muscle-tendon usually taking place when the muscle is strained beyond its ability due to overuse.
INJURY PREVENTION STRATEGIES
To prevent long term physical impairment, increase fitness and well-being we recommend the following strategies:
- Warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles by taking them for a slow walk before and after heavy exercise.
- Replace the leash with a harness or halti if your dog pulls on regular basis.
- Try and exercise your pet weekdays, not only weekends.
- Do not let your dog overexert themselves by walking or running too much, muscles will start to fatigue and tear.
- Make sure a qualified Canine Myofunctional Practitioner administers CMT (Therapeutic massage) specifically in the winter months.
- Reduction in weight would do wonder if your dog is obese – seek guidance from your vet clinic.
- Application of Cold or Heat therapy can help in case of inflammation and swelling – obtain advice from your vet or a qualified therapist.
HELP KEEP YOUR DOG IN SHAPE ALL YEAR ROUND
Keeping your dog strong and flexible all year round is as simple as choosing numerous activities that are appropriate to your lifestyle and your pet’s overall health condition. Some suggestions:
- Daily walking.
- Jogging in a steady pace close to you after appropriate warm up.
- Consistent stretching to improve flexibility.
- Swimming or Hydrotherapy.
- Conditioning training.
- Monthly Therapeutic massage.
- Good diet and if necessary joint supplementation.
- Therapeutic Exercise post surgery.
In order for your animal companion to remain in good physical condition regular exercise will help promote loss of fat rather than muscle, consistent Myofunctional Therapy and conditioning training will have a positive influence on both their physical and psychological well-being while a balanced diet, lots of tender love & care and a holistic approach will safeguard from injuries and promote recovery.
To find out how Myofunctional Therapy, Stretching and Therapeutic Exercise can help return your pooch to normal function and may prevent injuries contact Melina on 0403 939 202 or Enquiries@PetNurture.com.au
Allegretti, J., & Sommers, K. (2003). The complete holistic dog book Home health care for our Canine Companions. Berkeley, California, United States of America: Celestial Arts.
Hourdebaigt, J.-P. (2004). Canine Massage: a complete reference manual (2nd Edition ed.). Wenatchee, WA., USA: Dogwise Publishing.
Watson, S. L. (2010). BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Rehabilitation, Supportive and Palliative Care. (S. a. Penny, Ed.) Gloucester, England: British Small Animal Veterinary Association. Retrieved May 12, 2017
Becker, D. K. (2017, Jun 02). A Major Recipe for Injury – Vets See No Shortage Every Year at This Time. USA. Retrieved August 2017, from http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/06/02/common-springtime-injuries-in-dogs.aspx?utm_source=petsnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20170602Z3&et_cid=DM144944&et_rid=2027342821
Individual blogs are based upon the opinions of the specific author, who retains full copyright. The material is not intended as medical advice, it’s intended as a sharing of knowledge and information.
We are not veterinarians and do not diagnose any conditions, perform surgery or prescribe medications, we can assess the muscles as part of being a Canine Myofunctional Therapist. Muscle therapy is not a replacement for proper veterinary care and any injury or disease must be medically diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. We encourage you to make your own pet health care choices in collaboration with a certified pet health care professional.