Canine fitness and conditioning
Whether your pet is a finely tuned athlete or an overweight couch potato, he/ she could benefit from a fitness and conditioning consultation and exercise programme.
Canine sports medicine is a rapidly growing field, as we learn the importance of keeping our pets fit and strong to prevent injury.
This is important in working dogs, agility and competition dogs all the way through to the ‘non-competitive’ athlete, who spends the weekends hiking Hong Kong’s great country park trails or swimming off our fabulous beaches. A common misconception about physical therapy is that it is only necessary after an injury has occurred. Just as an athlete sees their trainer, physiotherapist or podiatrist to prevent injury; so too should our canine athletes who are subjected to similar stresses as they place heavy demands on their musculoskeletal system during their work and play. Of course we never know when an injury will occur but it is in the pet’s interest to prevent injury or identify small problems before they progress.
Working dogs, such as Hong Kong Police, Customs Detector, Search and Rescue Dogs and Guide or Assistance dogs all have very different requirements and fitness needs. What they do have in common is a need to stay healthy and injury free, which can be difficult in light of their often strenuous activity. A regular routine of stretching and massage with focus on known areas of stress can be very beneficial to ensure their continued fitness.
By considering the type of injuries an animal could be exposed to, we can tailor conditioning programmes to strengthen weak areas and prevent injury, as well as manage it. Therapeutic exercise and manual therapies are largely used in this area, but laser, thermal therapy, and electromagnetic field therapy is also incorporated to target any specific needs of your pet.
Six year old mini poodle, Buddy, went from a bouncing super active doggy to unable to move overnight, when his brain had an infection that affected his ability to do everything. We used physiotherapy exercises and his determination to get him back moving.
People always ask me if it really is possible to do physiotherapy with cats. Yes! But not all cats are the same, and it’s important to let them tell you what they will and won’t tolerate, and always have some other tricks (and treats) up your sleeve. This story is about Mr Aries.