Does Physical Therapy for Dogs Work?

November 22, 2021 | ​​​​​​​
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Several treatment techniques can improve the health of canines. One increasingly helpful technique is physical therapy or canine physical rehabilitation. Physical therapy is just as important for canines as it is for humans. 


Veterinarians are increasingly using physical therapy when working with pets. The pets can benefit significantly from the therapy that helps reduce pain and increase mobility. 




Why Dogs Need Physical Therapy



There are several reasons why your pet may need physical therapy. A dog of any age can require physical therapy. If your pet is recovering from some form of surgery, the veterinarian can recommend physical therapy. A dog may also need physical therapy if he has arthritis or soft tissue injuries. If a dog has a neurological disease, physical therapy can help with treatment. 




Signs Your Dog Needs Physical Therapy



Several signs indicate that your pet may need physical therapy. These include difficulty waking from naps, hesitating when walking upstairs, and reluctance to play or go on walks. Other signs to look out for include decreased appetite, evidence of pain, or sleeping longer. If you notice these changes in your pet, you need to talk to your vet. 




Benefits of Canine Physical Therapy



There are several benefits of canine physical therapy. The rehab can help in restoring function to an injured dog or one that has a health condition. The therapy includes techniques such as exercise, massage, electrical stimulation, heat treatment, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. 


A combined treatment approach can help improve joint and muscle health, aid in rehabilitation, and relieve pain. Dogs recovering from surgery, injury, or disease can benefit from physical therapy. The therapy can also be an alternative to surgical treatment, especially for older dogs. 




How Canine Physical Therapy Works



An experienced veterinarian or canine rehabilitation practitioner will begin by reviewing the dog’s overall condition. The specialist will then come up with a personalized treatment plan that will help address the dog’s specific condition. 


Apart from the therapy administered at the rehab center, at-home exercises are good for the canine patient. This will help continue the therapy progress between sessions. 




Effective Canine Physical Therapy



Physical therapy for dogs is for dogs. The different techniques or exercises enhance: 
 

  • Strength.
     

  • Balance. 
     

  • Flexibility.
     

  • Endurance. 


Physical therapy is helpful not just for sick or injured dogs but even for healthy animals. Therapists come up with age-appropriate therapy techniques to benefit each dog. The exercises have both physical and mental benefits. 


The therapy is usually safe, but there can be some complications. If not done well, physical therapy can fail to yield results or even lead to worsening of the condition. It is vital to ensure that an experienced canine rehab professional performs the therapy. 


If you notice signs that indicate that your pet may be in pain, visit a veterinarian immediately. A complete physical examination will be necessary to ensure that your pet is healthy enough to undergo physical therapy.




For more on therapy for dogs, visit Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center at our office in St. Petersburg, Florida. You can call (727) 677-9500 today to schedule an appointment.

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