Do you own a dog? Warming up with some stretching is important for us humans to do. It helps keep our muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. It turns out that dogs need that flexibility too so they can maintain a range of motion in their joints. To help celebrate National Dog Biscuit day, it is time to get those yummy biscuits ready to help get your dog stay healthy and flexible.
It may seem strange that you may need to teach your dog how to get a good stretch in. You do not need to go as far as dog yoga (yes, that is a thing), but you may want to consider a few simple stretching exercises. Not only will these simple stretches help with range of motion, but also help increase circulation and push more oxygen to their muscles. This is especially great for older dogs who put on a lot of weight in the front half of their body, as well as for dogs with weak ligaments. Teaching your dog proper stretches will strengthen their muscles and allow them to have better joint mobility of the forelimbs.
When it comes to teaching your dog to stretch, you need to think low and slow. Stretching should not be rushed, because your dog needs some time to process the stretching exercise. Think of them as babies, as most of them will not get it on the first try. You need to be patient. Begin with a small range of motion exercise and then slowly increase the range of the stretch. Be sure to closely watch your dog’s response to make sure they are understanding you correctly. If your dog is not cooperating, the stretch may be too aggressive, or they may be sore. When this happens, you should back off the intensity until you can stretch the muscle for 5-30 seconds at a time. When stretching, always use both hands to hold the limb you are stretching and never force a joint or muscle. And as always reward you dog with a biscuit to tell them they are doing a good job.
Biscuits are a great way to not only pamper your dog but to help train them to live a long and healthy life. If your dog is becoming irritated during a stretch, please see your Veterinarian or Canine Rehabilitation Specialist, as special care may be required to avoid injury.
For more information on dog stretching, click here.
Article written by William Graves.