Cheap but effective ways of rebuilding muscle tone in your dog – the Sticky Licky Mat

Our Sarah has been through a bit of a time with it all lately. She had a large cyst on her wrist for the past few months which started to open. Rather than risk infection, the vets opted to remove it. All fine. Until she decided that the long stringy blue thread was far too tempting and pulled the stitch out.
We now had an open wound. Many weeks of wrapping it up and wearing the dreaded collar followed, and still are, to try and heal the wound. But that meant no hydrotherapy. And that meant the wobbles came back.

We added extra sessions of laser and acupuncture from vet Eili Dettmering to help fill the missing piece in the jigsaw of multi-therapies but she was still losing some of the rear end muscle mass she had rebuilt with the months of weekly hydrotherapy. We needed to add something else.

As well as our range of exercises and stretches, we added the Sticky Licky Mat. That was something she really enjoyed. They cost around a £ (if you’re prepared to wait a bit for delivery), can be stuck on any appropriate surface and can be filled with all sorts of squishy foods.

For several minutes the dog stands – using front AND rear legs – to gradually lick the food out. A really simple and effective mobility restoring tool. To the dog, they are getting food. To the therapist, they are getting exercise. Add in a massage mat for them to stand on, and their balance is being exercised too.
It took a few goes to get the height right – too low and she was stooping, too high and she was stretching (although both heights would have their use in different rehabilitation cases). For Sarah, I could see she received the best benefit at just above nose height.

It also took a few goes at finding the right treat to use as well. Cottage cheese was a no-no – went everywhere! Low calorie cream cheese, meat and even sweet potato mash worked fine. I have had to buy another for our Sam, who doesn’t really need it but enjoys the exercise – although he thinks he is just licking treats.

Why does she have a brown patch on her back? Interesting story. Before she started seeing Eili she had alopecia over most of her body. Brown thin fur. But bit by bit, the acupuncture and laser has helped free any blockages and the fur is coming back. It was as though she has been dipped in black ink which gradually spread up her legs and along her back. One stubborn patch left but we’ll get there. Don’t underestimate all sorts of benefits from acupuncture and laser.

Why is she looking like a Gym Bunny wearing a sweat band on her wrist? To protect the wound and bandage. We have lots of these indoors for her to wear when her wrist arthritis flares up – keeps the wrists warm and comfortable. And can be recycled as bandage protectors.

You don’t need to shell out a lot of money to help your dog. There are plenty of cheap but effective toys that you can use as therapeutic tools. I’m certainly adding Sticky Licky Mats to my toolkit. Or recycle stuff like gym wrist bands for arthritis or protectors.

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