At Home Physical Therapy for Dogs

Physical therapy may be recommended for dogs that have a condition such as arthritis or are recovering from an injury. Physical therapy is intended to increase the dog’s mobility. The therapy may be performed at a specialized clinic, but you may also learn how to perform some exercises with your pet at home.

Pet Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for pets in intended to improve your pet’s mobility and facilitate recovery from an injury. This type of therapy may also be recommended for dogs that are overweight or stressed. The therapy may be performed employing several techniques such as:

  • Massage therapy
  • Ultrasound and electrical currents
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Exercising
  • Alternation of heat and cold currents

Most commonly, the physical therapy is done by trained specialists that will ensure the treatment will not cause additional injuries to the pet.

Equipment Used in Physical Therapy for Dogs

During a physical therapy session, several devices can be used:

  • Treadmills, which are not recommended for pets with joint problems, but can strengthen the heart muscles and may also help overweight canines
  • Pools, which can be used for low impact exercises and are beneficial for senior dogs with joint pain
  • Exercise balls

Physical Therapy at Home

The physical therapy may be done at home, as long as you know how to help your pet. In some cases, the vet will recommend at home physical therapy, to spare the dog the extra stress caused by going to the therapy sessions.

When doing the the physical therapy exercises at home with your dog, you will have to bear in mind your pet’s safety. You should consult your vet first and learn the basic techniques to employ, so that you won’t injure your pet. You should also pay attention to possible injuries from the past.

You can purchase the equipment needed to perform the physical therapy at home. Make sure you also get some mats, which you can use if your dog performs certain exercises on the ground (e.g. exercise ball).

Start the physical therapy session by calming your dog with some music or aromatherapy. A gentle massage may also relax your pet. You can use some ointments that may have some benefits for the joints and improve circulation. You can move on to more complex moves that will involve the joints, bending the dog’s knees. Be very gentle and make sure the moves are natural.

After performing these warm up moves, you can start using the exercise ball. Remember that the dog will not have balance when starting to use the exercise ball, so stay close and make sure you catch him, should he fall. If using a pool, make sure the water temperature is not higher than the room temperature and keep the dog in the pool for no longer than 15 minutes. Supervise him while he swims and intervene when needed.

Make sure you don’t exhaust your dog. Signs of exhaustion may include breathing difficulties, fatigue or lack of interest.