Conditioning Your Canines for Work, Play and Post-Injury

Last month we were privileged to attend the Project-Go! Working Dog Conference and learn more about how teams of veterinary sports medicine personnel are helping rehabilitate working canines and other animals from what might be career-ending injuries. Using state of the art techniques including orthopedic surgery, stem cells, orthopedic supports and post-trauma conditioning, plus the use of good food and nutraceuticals are all part of a holistic approach used by the team at VOSM

One of the critical take-aways from this conference was the importance of preventing some of the more common injuries in the first place with a common sense approach to warm-ups and cool down periods for both the pet guardian / canine handler and the dogs.

With summer here many of us are getting more active and out with our companions, but we need to be sure to follow some of the same guidelines with our dogs that we do with ourselves. Light warm-up exercises before heavy exercise, and then rubbing down the muscles, and doing good stretches, including the hamstrings which can also get very tight on certain breeds will help keep everyone in good shape and prevent injuries. Check out this page with downloadable PDF's for warm-up stretches tailored to your BFF.

Swim therapy and hydro therapy are not only great for rehabilitation but a terrific way to strengthen and condition your dogs and a great way  to cool off in the heat. This also helps older dogs increase their mobility and stride while taking weight off the joints and help alleviate pain.

Make sure you are not taking your animals out for runs when it is really hot outside as their pads can get burned easily, so early morning or late evening is best on hot days. If you have to have them out in the heat be sure to stretch both yourself and them, stay well hydrated, and you can use specialized gear such as running boots, paw protection and cooling coats or bandanas to help cope with the heat.

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