I meant to write this blog back in January when our local dog park reopened after the floods. There was plenty of excitement and I saw many carks parked in front of the gate and lots of dogs running around. This got me thinking about the general advise I give to my clients.
A lot of the dogs that I see have some sort of injury to their legs or back. We use a combination of acupuncture, biomechanical medicine, rehabilitation and supplements to get them back on the road to recovery. Part of the advise we give is that we need to warm up before exercise. That sounds familiar right?
Muscles that are cold are not as supple and if your dog has been lazing around for most of the day and then gets driven to the dog park after work, the muscles need warming up before any strenous activities. It can be as simple as a general massage along the back and down the legs followed by a slow walk around when getting out of the car/ house. Running around and stretching those bodies out will be safer and less likely to lead to injuries after that.
What about chasing balls🥎? That one is mostly a big no, no in my patients and most other dogs. Chasing balls often involves explosive starts, stops and twisty turny activities. The perfect recipe for cruciate and shoulder injuries. A much more controlled activity is retrieving, preferably something that doesn’t roll like a sturdy frisbee or toy. Teach your dog to sit, throw the object and when it lands, your dog can then fetch it back (I do have a Golden that is a patient who didn’t get the Retriever bit though, just get the object and runs away with it🤦🏻! ) It is less explosive and kinder on the body.
Sniffing is also another great activity you can enjoy with your dog. Hide treats, socks and toys around the garden, house for them to find. Sniffing is a calmer activity than tracking objects with the eyes while still keeping the brain active. So go out there and enjoy a different ‘fun’ with your dogs.