Getting it right from the start

Bailey is a 2 year old Sproodle who decided to have a couple of random stop and sit downs during walks.  When his vet examined him, it was noticed he seemed to have a stiff neck and upper back and was prescribed a short course of NSAIDs. 

But a few weeks later, on a return to the vets, he still seemed uncomfortable and was recommended to visit us for a check-up and advice.

Working with such a young dog is perfect for our ‘helping you to help your dog’ philosophy.  Discovering and assisting Bailey’s mobility issues as a puppy, will enable his Mum to carry those skills into his maturing days.  It’s about knowing what to do and being empowered to help and those skills can be learned at any stage.

Your dog will get older but that course doesn’t have to be predetermined.  It doesn’t have to be a case of they get old, they stop moving, they get worse which will ultimately lead to an unacceptable impact on their quality of life.

Bailey knew that he needed some help and, although timid, allowed me to work with him and show his Mum what he needs now and in the longer-term.

Things such as getting into the habit of giving him a quick warm-up and cool-down before and after exercise is something that will benefit him whatever his age.  Our Sarah refused point blank to move in the morning until we’d given her a warm-up in the park.  She knew how beneficial it was.  We simply incorporated it into our morning routine.

Daily massage on the muscles and joints that take all the stress and strains of being a dog is beneficial whether your dog is 2 or 12. 

We found that, as well as tight neck and upper back muscles, Bailey was also uncomfortable on his thighs possibly due to compensation.  This gave us a plan for a massage and exercise routine Bailey’s Mum could do now, to help with his current issues while enabling her to know how to will help him later.

As Bailey gets older the massage routine will grow and develop.  His needs as a puppy will differ from those as an adolescent or middle-aged boy.  A 15 to 30 minute daily massage, warm-up and cool-down, simple stretching mobilising exercises and generally making the most of every opportunity given, will make sure you get to know your dog’s body and needs.  This will prevent injuries by identifying tissue change before it becomes a problem.  Added to that the bond created with your dog, helping your dog with physical therapy is a wonderful skill to learn.

Looking at Bailey’s expressions during the session, he will soon start to become a Massage Diva demanding and guiding his Mum on the areas that need help.

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