Pet care has never been better, and one of the emerging beneficial supportive care options for pet owners is dog physical therapy. This style of care has been shown to have benefits in human populations for years but has only recently begun to be used to help dogs with physical discomfort, recovery from injuries, and the aging process. Physical therapy for dogs is not that different than the physical therapy that is done for humans after surgery, an injury, or in old age.
If you have a dog that you think might benefit from physical therapy, you probably have a lot of questions about what this kind of care can do. Since this is a new option that many pet owners have never used to care for their pets before, it is reasonable that you might not be sure what physical therapy is all about. Being able to help rehabilitate your dog can be a big relief for many dog owners, and this kind of therapy has a myriad of additional benefits.
1. Recovery After an Injury
If your dog has been injured and has been forced to be less active than usual for a time, they might lose muscle mass as well as strength in the affected body part. When older dogs are injured, they are much more likely to lose muscle mass throughout their body rather than just in one specific body part. This is one of the key areas where physical therapy is such a big benefit for dogs. Recovery from surgeries and injuries can be greatly improved through the use of physical therapy for dogs.
The simple movements and stretches that your dog will need to do while healing from a surgery or injury are often easily performed at home as well. This is one of the best ways to support your dog’s healing and help them to get back to their former levels of activity that they enjoyed prior to their injury or surgery.
2. Manage Arthritis Pain
As dogs age, they can get arthritis. This can be a very limiting condition for many dogs, particularly larger dogs. Physical therapy can help with arthritis pain, and it can prevent stiffness and soreness. Dogs that are suffering from arthritis do not have to be severely limited in their mobility with physical therapy on their side. This is one of the best ways for owners to help their aging pets to feel better and to stay active for the long term. Arthritis can greatly impact a dog’s ability to get around and be active, which can lead to all kinds of other secondary challenges that pet owners will want to avoid.
3. To Help Elderly Dogs With Muscle Loss
Older dogs can lose muscle rapidly as they slow down and are less active. This can lead to wobbling balance and instability in their gaits. Being able to keep muscle mass up their gentle motion can make all the difference in your dog’s overall well-being as they get older. If you want to avoid this common problem that impacts aging dogs, you will want to be sure to look into physical therapy. Physical therapy done by dog owners at home can help aging pets to stay active and feel great even into their later years.
4. Increased Interest in Life
Some dogs that have been injured, as well as elderly dogs, can lose their interest in their favorite activities due to depression at their limitations. Physical therapy can help your dog to get their happiness back and to get reinvigorated about movement and activity. Being able to keep your dog emotionally invested in their daily activities and their life is very productive, and it can mean the difference between depression and a healthy outlook on life.
What Kinds of Physical Therapy Are There?
Physical therapy can be done in many different ways. The limitations of your dog’s situation, as well as their age, can have a lot to do with which activities are offered to your pet to aid in their healing.
There are some dogs that benefit from swimming therapy which can be done at specialty treatment facilities with a treadmill in a small swimming pool.
Cold Laser Therapy and Therapeutic Ultrasound
You can also provide treatments for your dog, like cold laser therapy and therapeutic ultrasound. These treatments must be done by a skilled professional, and are helpful in many situations.
Owners can offer their dogs supportive care in the form of passive range of motion exercises. These are simple exercises that you can do for your pet a few times a day as they heal or to support the range of motion and balance of an older animal. Your veterinarian or a trained veterinary technician can teach you how to do these exercises with your dog at home so that you can help them to heal and continue to be healthy and happy for many years into the future.
Physical Therapy for Dogs Offers Many Benefits
There are so many reasons that physical therapy can benefit your dog. For older dogs who are losing their ability to get around and for animals that have been injured or have undergone surgery, physical therapy can be the most beneficial solution for their needs. Keeping joints lubricated and flexibility up can help your dog, as can prevention of muscle loss and nerve damage. Physical therapy is becoming one of the primary ways that many people support their pet’s well-being, and you can easily learn to provide this kind of care for your animals as needed.
Asking your vet about physical therapy options for your dog is a great idea if you think that they are showing a loss of function or things like loss of balance. You might be able to make all the difference in your dog’s long-term health by adding physical therapy to their daily routine. Call (574) 277-6533 to talk with your Kryder + Harr Veterinary Clinic veterinarian about physical therapy for your dog in Granger, IN!
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.