Having arthritis does not mean that all sports and exercise for dogs cannot be done, it just means that we need to reduce the training level of dogs to reduce the stress and influence of exercise. Maintaining a moderate amount of regular exercise, not only does it not affect your joints, but it can also help protect your dog from arthritis. Exercise also helps keep muscles strong, which in turn helps support and stabilize joints. It also keeps tendons flexible and improves blood flow to the joints. In fact, regular exercise is absolutely essential for any dog with arthritis - it's just a matter of finding the perfect balance.
Striking a Balance
If it's already in so much pain that it's limping or has other symptoms, making it run, chase or walk will only make the inflammation and pain worse, exacerbating the problem. You should also not continue to play fetch or other games with your dog. However, too little exercise can worsen their condition. Movement and activity are important to keep the dog's muscles strong and improve circulation, which brings healing blood flow, oxygen, and increases the range of motion of those aching joints.
So how can exercising dogs give them these wonderful benefits while still keeping them safe and pain-free?
Exercise Do’s and Don’ts
Do: Go Low ImpactThink of swimming, walking and gentle play. Low-intensity activity is of great benefit to the cardiovascular system, increasing muscle strength and waistline, improving range of motion, helping with weight loss, and circulating blood for stiff joints. Swimming is great exercise for dogs with stiff joints. Swimming can firm up the muscles and get the joints moving. However, unlike walking, swimming does not require body weight on the joints. Be sure to go with your dog, since spa treatments don't involve dropping your dog in the nearest swimming pool.
Don’t: Encourage Running or JumpingYour dog's muscles and joints may become noticeably stiff. This is a common problem (especially when the dog is older). When a dog walks stiffly or with a limp, owners often find their dog's movements stiff, or suffering from joint pain, becoming inactive or having trouble getting up. Other symptoms include difficulty stretching, refusal to exercise, stopping walking and difficulty climbing stairs. Avoid activities in which your pup has to jump, leap, turn quickly, or run, such as Frisbee or long-range games of fetch.
Do: Warm Up and Cool DownIf your dog has arthritis or joint problems, you need to move their joints before exercising. Taking him for a walk without warming him up could further damage stiff joints. Before taking your dog for walks, give your dog the passive exercise recommended by your veterinarian at home. Make this a habit. Veterinarians generally recommend passive exercise, such as encouraging the dog to lie on its side. Gently knead all the muscles in both front legs, one leg at a time. Then grab the dog's paw and push it inward, gently pressing the leg so that all joints bend up. Don't go too far so you don't hurt the dog. After that, gently pull pawa apart and straighten legs.
Repeat 10 to 20 times on each leg. Roll the dog over and repeat with the other leg. Then the dog can go for its morning walk.
Don’t: Overdo ItWatch your dog closely for signs of overexertion, such as wheezing, pain or discomfort, and adjust your activity level accordingly. You need to stop the exercise immediately and take the dog to a clean, cool, and comfortable place to rest until the dog's heart rate stabilizes.
Secondly, some pet owners choose to replenish their dogs with food and water immediately after seeing their dogs exercise too much. This is a mistake. Feeding your dog with water while he's not fully rested can actually strain his gut. The scientific approach is to try to feed after half an hour of rest.
Owners can make a reasonable exercise plan based on dog's breed and weight, and avoid standing and walking upright for long periods of time.
Do: Keep It ConsistentDo your best to create an exercise program for your dog that you can do every day or every other day. This continuous movement will keep their joints and muscles in proper shape and avoid injury. Spending the same amount of time each day doing exercise helps to control pain and lose weight. Exercise also improves limb mobility and flexibility. Overexercise is not recommended, and underexercise can also stiffen the joints. For example, don't go for a 10-minute walk on weekdays and walk for two hours at a time on weekends. The dog's joints will be stiff and sore on Monday morning. Taking your dog for short walks a few times a day is better than taking a long walk once a day.
Don’t: Go for IntensityAvoid shock sports. Imagine slaving away at your computer five workdays a week, and chances are you'll try to make up for lost exercise time with an occasional high-intensity workout on the weekend. In fact, this "weekend warrior syndrome" can be dangerous for you and your dog, especially if your dogs have arthritis. Large dogs should not exercise excessively until they are one year old. Large puppies are developing muscle and bone, and excessive exercise can cause long-term injury problems. The amount of exercise each dog can handle is different, and it is up to dog owners to determine the amount of exercise their dog can handle. If your dog shows signs of fatigue or lameness after exercise, seek medical attention immediately.
Do: Maintain regular heat therapyHot compress is a good physical therapy for arthritic dogs. Get a hot pack that can be heated in the microwave and apply it to the sore joint. Be careful not to burn the dog. Or use heat therapy products, such as heating therapy braces, which are more convenient and safe. When your dog is in too much pain or writhes in pain, you can calmly talk to him and calm him down. The heat therapy will eventually work and relieve his pain.
Don’t: Not keeping warmYou can change the environment to help your dog relieve joint pain and stiffness. Many older dogs with arthritis freeze their muscles and joints when they sleep at night and become stiff the next day. So remember to keep your dog warm at night, such as sleeping in a heated dog bed or wearing a heating therapy brace. If the dog cooperates, cover it up at night to make sure it's not exposed to cold air. It’s better to raise the dog's bed slightly and keep away from the ground.
Let's not forget to warm up the dog before any exercise begins. Warming up will help raise your dog's heart rate and prevent sprains and cramps. Keeping warm is especially important for dogs with arthritis.
Proper heat therapy before and after daily exercise can help to improve exudate absorption and blood circulation. Use of heating therapy braces to help reduce joint discomfort and pain and improve quality of life in dogs with arthritis.SHOP NOW >