Simple, Gentle Stretches You Can Complete in Minutes a Day
There are three areas of your dog’s body for which stretching is especially beneficial – the hips, shoulders and back.
The following stretches, done slowly and gently, are well tolerated by most dogs. However, if you don’t feel confident in your ability to do the stretches, consider asking your vet or a small animal chiropractor demonstrate the stretches for you so you can do them at home.
Instructions for most of these stretches have your dog standing, but you can also do them with your dog lying on her side, or in the case of the chest stretch, on her back. The model for the standing stretches, our dog Rosco, was an adult rescue who has never rolled onto his back. Some dogs are very uncomfortable in this position, so if yours is, don’t force the issue. To demonstrate the lying-on-back chest stretch, we used our dog Ada, who we’ve taught from puppyhood to ‘play’ on her back.
Needless to say, if your pet shows any sign of pain during stretching, discontinue the movement and have her seen by your vet as soon as possible.
- Stretching the hip flexors. The hip flexors are muscles that enable your dog to move his legs and hips while walking, trotting or running. To stretch the hip flexors, ask your dog to stand, and grasp a back leg above the knee. Gently and slowly move the leg back straight out behind your dog’s body. When you reach a point of resistance, where further extension will require applying pressure, hold the leg in position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 2 or 3 times with each back leg.
Please contact Dr Bruce with questions at 781-337-1180 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org