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The Different Kinds Of Physical Therapy For Dogs

The Different Kinds Of Physical Therapy For Dogs

If your dog is injured or has had surgery, it is imperative to provide them with physical therapy. Therapy for canines proved beneficial and was created specifically for them due to their effectiveness in the entire healing process.

Physical therapy for dogs can be considered an adaptation of the modalities and techniques used in the case of humans as well.

The goal is to decrease their pain and increase their levels of function and mobility to ensure a better overall life. Physical therapy for dogs is categorized into two broad divisions – manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

Manual therapy for dogs 

The term manual therapy in this context refers to the techniques used to improve the movement of joints, soft tissues, and muscles.

Cold therapy

This is known as cryotherapy. Here the therapists constrict the blood vessels. It is helpful in cases such as injuries, heavy exercise, and surgery. In the case of surgeries, this comes in handy for up to two weeks following such a procedure.

Such therapy prevents harmful inflammation and brings down pain and swelling, thus reducing the overall time that your baby needs to heal. However, for such treatment to be effective, do it within two weeks following surgery.

Warm therapy

This is also known as heat therapy or thermotherapy. Its effect is just the opposite of cold therapy. Here warm and moist heat is used since it penetrates deeper into the tissues; compared to dry heat. The best time for this treatment is before exercising.

It helps improve your dog’s blood flow, stretch-ability, and tissue metabolism. It also stimulates the healing process. However, you wait at least 72 hours following a surgery or injury before you start the process.

Also, you must be highly cautious with the heat levels in this case.

 Joint mobilization

This is known as passive range of motion or PROM. It moves the joints through their normal range of motion while your dog is lying down. It ensures that the joints and muscles do not get tight and improves the blood flow, synovial fluid production, and lymphatic flow.

The synovial fluid production helps with the cartilage health of your dog. It enhances the lubrication in their joints. However, it does not improve your dog’s strength and endurance. It is also not helpful in preventing muscular atrophy.

Read Also: How Can Pets Boost Your Health and Well-being?


This is a manual therapy where the therapists use the healing power of touch to help with the soothing process. Massage promotes healing across the body, let alone the affected area. With massage, it is possible to bring down the levels of pain, stress, swelling, and anxiety.

It improves circulation and maintains muscle tone. Get a certified canine massage therapist to do such work though you can do it at home with a bit of research and a gentle touch.


The full form of this particular treatment is neuromuscular electrical stimulation. Here low-level electrical currents target the muscles. Hence, it improves the healing process. It helps prevent muscular atrophy following surgery and injury and makes your baby stronger.

It helps regenerate their muscles and the nervous systems related to the same. Once again, this is something done by a professional since it uses specialized equipment that needs proper knowledge and experience to operate.


It is the abbreviation of transcutaneous electrical stimulation. It is similar to NMES. Here, low-level electrical currents are applied to generate electrical stimulation.

However, the sensory nerves get targeted to reduce the pain your dog may be feeling. It prompts the brain to ignore the pain for a short time, and it does so by sending a stimulus that is not painful to the affected area.

Once again, such work must be done by a professional since specialized equipment is needed.

Read Also: Ways To Monitor Your Dog’s Health At Home

Therapeutic exercises for dogs 

Here the dogs are made to go through various physical activities as part of a plan to cure them.


This is the first name in this context. As the name would indicate, this involves performing exercises in the water. Thanks to the buoyant nature of water, your dog can work their muscles without putting any stress on the joints and bones.

Usually, warm water is applied, and this helps increase their range of flexibility and motion. Once your dog has been healing for nine weeks, you can try hydrotherapy.

Gait training

This involves exercises that are supposed to improve the ability of your dog to walk and stand. They may be straightforward activities such as controlled and slow walking on a leash in the early stages of recovery.

Slowly, your dog can move on to slow hill works and eventually try walking down and up the stairs. It helps build strength and endurance in your dog and makes them a lot more mobile.

It is the best foundation you can layer if you wish to have your little one go through other therapeutic exercises in the future.

Agility training

It involves a wide array of activities that can play the same function therapeutic exercises do. There are different exercises over there, and they have been designed to suit various purposes. You have muscle-building workouts that involve some form of resistance training.

You have coordination exercises such as walking backward and weaving out and in of different obstacles. You have balance exercises such as walking in figure-eight and wobble boards.

The most effective physical therapy for your dog could include a combination of the above procedures.

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