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Low Impact Physical Rehabilitation Exercises for Canines

Updated: Sep 20, 2023


Gentle Canine Rehabilitation Exercises

Low-impact canine exercise offers several benefits for your pet, especially for dogs that may have physical limitations, are recovering from injuries, or are older. These exercises are gentle on your dog's joints and can help improve their overall health while promoting flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness.


Exploring the Top Low-Impact Physical Therapy Exercises for Dogs


Sit-to-Stand Transitions


Start by having your canine companion sit in a comfortable posture. Now, encourage them to stand up by using treats or verbal cues. Repeat this sequence several times a day, allowing your dog to rest in between. Don’t forget to reward them for correctly completing the task and positively reinforce the behavior with verbal cues. This is a perfect beginning point for your dog’s physical therapy journey. It helps build strength in your dog’s leg muscles while enhancing balance and coordination.


Passive Range of Motion


Gently move the dog's limb through their full range of motion without the dog actively participating in the movement. Do not push the joint beyond a comfortable range. Repeat the motion with each paw, and extend the duration of the stretch gradually. These basic movements benefit older dogs with arthritis or joint issues, as it can maintain their joint mobility, improve circulation and prevent atrophy.


Gentle Stretches for Limber Limbs


Begin by having your pup lie down on its side. Try to hold one of their front paws and extend it forward, holding for a few seconds. Release and repeat the process on the other side. It will improve flexibility and soothe muscle tension.


Balance & Proprioception Exercises

Safe Balancing Exercises for Dogs

Always ensure that the exercises are safe for your dog's age and physical condition. Start with easier exercises and gradually progress to more challenging ones as your dog's balance improves. Start with weight shift challenges and progress to balancing on hind limbs, foam discs, wobble boards, and more. Even stepping over obstacles can create great balance and coordination.


Paced Leash Walks


Ensure that your dog is properly trained to walk on a leash without pulling, and use a comfortable and appropriately sized leash and collar or harness. Vary your walking routes to keep things interesting and challenging. You can gradually increase the duration of the walks as they become more comfortable. Walking helps build and tone muscles, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of obesity


Hydrotherapy or Swimming


Typically performed by a canine physical rehabilitation professional in a pool or underwater treadmill. They can tailor the treatment sessions to meet the specific needs of your dog and ensure safety throughout the process. Benefits include pain relief, improved muscle strength, cardiovascular conditioning and much more.


Rolling for Core Strength


Using a physioball, put your canine’s front paws on the ball, like they are giving it a hug. With a treat in hand, slowly roll the ball forward and backward, allowing your puppy to adjust their balance. It is a great way to work on core stability, balance and proprioception.

Canine Core Strength Training

Cavalettis for Confidence


Using everyday items, such as broomsticks, or PVC pipes, create a homemade obstacle course for your furry friend. Encourage your dog to lift their legs, step confidently and weave in and out of objects. This is great for mental stimulation and muscle strengthening when stuck indoors or unable to go for a walk.


Graceful Dancing


Play some comfortable, relaxing music. Hold your puppy’s front paws and guide them in slow and controlled steps. This “dance” will encourage weight balance, shifting, and coordination.



That’s a Wrap!


Home canine exercise can help keep your furry friend physically and mentally stimulated while fostering a strong bond between you and your pet. Examples of home canine exercises include interactive play with toys, obedience training sessions, indoor agility courses, and mental stimulation games like scent work or hide and seek. Remember that every dog has different exercise needs, so it's essential to adapt your home exercise routine to match your dog's age, breed, and energy level. Always prioritize safety, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog's exercise regimen, especially if they have underlying health conditions.


Contact Kindred 9 Healing today to learn more about in-home canine physical rehabilitation.
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