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Keeping Your Canine Healthy
Keeping Your Canine Athlete Healthy
We all know how many hours of work go into preparing for competition. There is the time taken to choose the music, choreograph the piece, train the new moves, link them all together and the costume to be decided upon and made. Yes, this sport certainly takes a lot of hours just to produce a few minutes of ‘brilliance’ in the ring. What a shame if all that time and effort is expended simply to come to nothing because of an injury to your dancing partner.
Our dogs are very precious to us and we must do all that we can to ensure that we reduce their risk of injury to a minimum. Asking our dogs to work without an adequate warm-up or post-event cool-down and stretching is asking for trouble. As little as ten minutes at the beginning and the end of a training session or performance can really make a difference to the continued good health of your dog.
Warming a dog up is easy and should take just five to ten minutes, by the end of which the dog should be panting.
Stretching is the final part of the athlete’s regime and it should be for your dog too.
These are split into rear and foreleg stretches.
Rear Leg Stretches:
Hamstrings - bring the leg forward, in a straight line, under the dog’s body while keeping the knee (stifle) joint straight.
Front Leg Stretches:
The stretches should be held for at least 15 seconds and performed twice. The stretch should be to the point of resistance or tightness but not if there is any hint of pain involved.
Stretching is good for preventing muscle pain as well as providing some relief from it. It is also a superb way of monitoring the dog’s physical wellbeing as it can aid in early detection of potential problems. Regularly assessing the range of motion and quality of movement of your own dog’s joints could help you to prevent the development of chronic muscular-skeletal problems
By following the above routine you can maximise the potential of your dog whilst minimising the risk of injury.
Remember, any dog with a specific injury would benefit from seeing a canine physiotherapist for a customised programme of exercises.
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