Wellness is a key aspect to maintaining healthy and graceful senior years. As dogs age, their body tissues start to break down, muscles and nerves fire less rapidly and joints stiffen. All of this leads to a decrease in mobility. The goal of physical rehabilitation for senior dogs is to keep those joints mobile and maintain muscle memory and nerve pathways.
What is Animal Physical Rehabilitation?
The goal of physical rehabilitation is to improve mobility, range of motion and use of joints and muscles. Treatment techniques vary, and much of the physical rehabilitation can be taught to owners to do at home.
- Joint mobilization
- Soft tissue massage and use
- Aquatic therapy
- Therapeutic exercise that target trouble areas
How Can Physical Rehabilitation Help My Senior Pet?
Rehabilitation can prevent future injury by helping to maintain or even regain muscle and skeletal health. Keeping your pet active, particularly in the winter when older dogs have difficulty with slippery ice, helps with weight management and prevents the loss of further muscle mass and increase of joint stiffness.
One of the best tools for older arthritic dogs is aqua therapy. The buoyancy of the water allows for a low impact exercise, while the resistance of the water proves to be quite a workout. This is perfect for arthritic patients.
For dogs with neurologic dysfunction swimming in the tub can help reinvigorate nerve pathways and regain use of their hind end.