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A Complete Guide to Physical Therapy for Dogs

Physical therapy can be a great option for dogs with injuries or illnesses. It uses techniques like exercise, heat therapy, massage and other touch therapies, water therapy, and acupuncture to help improve range of motion and muscle strength. 

The goal of physical therapy for dogs is to get them back on their feet as quickly as possible so they can get back into the swing of things at home and enjoy playtime outside. 

The type of dog physical therapy chosen will vary based on each individual and what will work best for their particular situation.  

Canine Rehabilitation After Surgery

If you've just had your dog undergo surgery, physical therapy is something you should consider. It can help them recover more quickly, and reduce the risk of complications down the road.

Whether or not your dog will need physical therapy after surgery depends on what kind of surgery they had and how old they are. 

For example, if you have a senior dog who's had hip surgery, it's important that they're able to walk as much as possible so their muscles don't atrophy from lack of use. Physical therapy can help with this.

If your dog has undergone a more invasive procedure like ACL replacement or knee surgery, they'll likely need physical therapy to help them learn how to walk again without pain or stiffness, and to help them relearn how to use their legs after being immobile for so long during recovery time at home.

Physical therapy can also be helpful for dogs who have undergone spinal surgeries such as spinal stenosis where there may be muscle weakness or tightness caused by nerve damage from the operation itself that needs targeted treatment before it becomes a chronic pain issue later on down the road.

In addition to helping your pet regain strength and mobility, canine physical therapy can also aid in the recovery process after a post-surgical infection. The gentle stretching exercises performed by physical therapists during these treatments help prevent scar tissue from forming, which can lead to stiffness over time.

Aiding with Injury or Illness

Physical therapy is often used to help dogs after injury. There are many different types of canine physical therapy, such as hydrotherapy, laser therapy, and cold laser therapy. Each type of physical therapy can be used to help a dog recover from an injury or surgery, and each has different benefits for the animal.

Hydrotherapy is a type of physical therapy that uses water to help dogs recover from injuries and surgery. Water is used in many forms in hydrotherapy, including swimming pools and jets, heated tubs, and even bathtubs. This type of physical therapy helps to increase blood flow throughout the body and reduce swelling in injured areas by moving blood around them more quickly.

Laser therapy uses low-level lasers to stimulate healing by increasing blood flow to injured areas. The use of lasers has been shown to be effective in helping dogs heal from injuries such as torn ligaments or tendons, broken bones, arthritis pain, muscle strains or sprains, tendonitis injuries (swelling caused by repetitive motion), back pain caused by degenerative disk disease or disc herniation syndrome (which occurs when an intervertebral disk (IVD) protrudes between two adjacent vertebrae).

Heat Therapy for Arthritis in Dogs

Arthritis is a common disease that affects people and pets alike. In fact, if you have a pet, there's a good chance it will eventually develop some form of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis (OA). OA occurs when the cartilage in your dog's joints breaks down. This causes the bones in the joint to rub together, which leads to inflammation and pain.

Dogs with OA often show signs of stiffness after waking up or after exercise. They may also have difficulty getting up from lying down or sitting down. There are many different treatments available for dogs with OA, but heat therapy has been shown to be one of the best ways to ease their pain.

Heat therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses infrared light to help reduce pain and inflammation. 

It can be used to treat both acute and chronic conditions, including arthritis, muscle spasms and strains, joint injuries and post-surgery recovery. When used appropriately, heat therapy has been shown to improve mobility in dogs suffering from arthritis or other painful conditions.

Heat therapy involves placing a pad or wrap around the affected area that emits a gentle heat source over time. This helps increase blood flow to the affected area while relaxing muscles and promoting healing through increased circulation of oxygen-rich blood cells. The most common types of heat therapy devices for dogs include:

  • Heat lamps (for large areas)
  • Pet blankets (for smaller areas)
  • Hot water bottles (for localized application)

Exercise as a Key Part of Physical Therapy

Exercise is an important part of a dog's physical therapy, but there are some things you should keep in mind when setting up your exercise routine.

First and foremost, always make sure your dog has had at least one hour of rest after eating. This will ensure that he doesn't get sick from exercising too soon after eating.

Secondly, don't overdo it. Keep exercise sessions short and sweet; no more than 15 minutes per day. If you're unsure whether or not your dog is getting enough exercise, look for signs of lethargy or boredom that may indicate he needs more activity.

Finally, if your dog is older or has any health concerns (such as arthritis), his physical therapist might recommend that you avoid certain types of exercise altogether until he's improved enough to participate safely.

Massage and Other Touch Therapy

Dogs get injured just like people do. They may hurt their paw when jumping off the couch or fall down the stairs. They may be hit by a car or attacked by another dog. Or they may just need some TLC after having puppies! 

Whatever the reason for your dog's injury, it's important to give him plenty of rest and keep him from overexerting himself while he heals. Massage can help with this process by increasing blood flow to damaged areas so that they heal faster and reducing pain in those areas so that your dog feels comfortable enough to move around again without causing further damage or discomfort.

Massage and other touch therapies can be an important part of physical therapy for dogs. 

Massage can help ease arthritis, injuries, muscle pain, stress, anxiety and depression in your dog. Massage also improves blood flow to the muscles which helps with flexibility and range of motion. Before you start giving massages to your dog it's best to learn how to give a massage that doesn't cause harm or discomfort.

Dog Physical Therapy

Water Therapy for Dogs

Water therapy is a common technique used in canine rehabilitation and physical therapy. It can be used to help with many things, including arthritis and muscle pain, range of motion and muscle strength, recovery time, balance and coordination, flexibility.

  • Water therapy can help with arthritis in dogs.
  • It can also help with muscle pain or soreness due to injury or illness.
  • Water therapy may also improve the range of motion or flexibility of your dog's joints.

Water therapy can help with muscle pain. It can also help with a range of motion or flexibility of your dog's joints. Water therapy may also improve the range of motion or flexibility of your dog's joints.

Dog water therapy

Acupuncture for Dogs

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that's been practiced for thousands of years. It involves inserting needles into certain points on the body to help promote healing and wellness.

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from neck pain to arthritis and it's also been shown to be effective in treating a number of conditions affecting dogs. Here are just a few examples of how acupuncture can benefit your canine companion:

  • Relieve pain and inflammation associated with injuries, surgeries, or chronic conditions like arthritis.
  • Relieve stress and anxiety, which can lead to behavioral issues like aggression or destructive behavior.
  • Help improve digestion issues due to food allergies or sensitivities or help pets recover from illnesses like cancer or kidney disease.

Dog Acupuncture

Choosing the Right Techniques and Dog Physical Therapy Exercises

It's important to use the right techniques when doing physical therapy with your dog.

  • Be gentle. It can be tempting to push your dog harder than they want to go, but this will only make them less likely to participate next time you try.
  • Start slowly and build up over time. If you push too hard, it will take longer for them to recover and get back into shape after each session of physical therapy.
  • Consult with a professional before starting any type of exercise program with your dog—he or she may have advice on how much exercise is appropriate for your pet's age and health condition as well as how often physical therapy sessions should happen per week (the answer depends on whether their condition is improving).

Using CBD During Dog Physical Therapy

Incorporating a daily dose of CBD, like that found in Canine Cush, during physical therapy can be a great way to offer your dog relief from pain, inflammation, and anxiety. 

When your dog is in physical therapy, it can be easy to forget their body is still recovering from the injury or ailment that brought them there in the first place. Fortunately, CBD can help in the healing process making physical therapy more effective.

Consider Physical Therapy for Your Dog

Dogs are just like us. They can get injured from playing too hard, or doing things they shouldn't be doing, and they can develop physical problems that need treatment. 

Just like humans, dogs need physical therapy to help them recover from injuries and regain mobility. They also benefit from physical therapy to improve their quality of life by improving their posture, strength and agility. 

Physical therapy can be beneficial to any dog, but those with health problems can benefit significantly and reduce the risk of long-term pain

Read More:

Evidence for Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

The Importance of Water Therapy in a Physical Rehabilitation Program