Why are Therapeutic Exercises Effective for Dogs?

February 2, 2017
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Mary Ellen Goldberg, BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, CCRA, certified veterinary pain practitioner with VetMedTeam, LLC., explains why therapeutic exercises are the most effective form of physical rehabilitation for dogs.

Mary Ellen Goldberg, BS, LVT, CVT, SRA, CCRA, certified veterinary pain practitioner with VetMedTeam, LLC., explains why therapeutic exercises are the most effective form of physical rehabilitation for dogs.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“So, for dogs, I find that the physical rehabilitation where you are doing specific therapeutic exercises, you’re going to be doing things like 3- or 2-legged standing, so being a quadruped on 4 legs, holding up different limbs. I also get where I’ll have them try to do sit-ups for a treat, so they lay on your legs and you try to get them to start to sit up to take the treat, and that’s building core strength for the animal. So, the therapeutic exercises are what I think are the most effective for dogs.

If you have an animal that is so obese that it really has a hard time doing anything, getting them to walk in the underwater treadmill is going to be probably the least painful, easiest for the animal to start out doing. But you want to have them be in the underwater treadmill for at least 1 minute, at the most 2 minutes. Because to get up and walk, even though it’s not as painful because of the water, you don’t want to overtax the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, because the obese patient has cardiovascular problems, they have a hard time breathing, they have a hard time digesting, and also with their joints and movements they can have a hard time, so these are all areas that you have to go easy with them and start very slowly.”