Exercise for Dogs with Arthritis

It can break your heart to watch your beloved furry friend limping around from arthritis pain. If your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, you should consider exercise as an important part of therapy.

In addition to these exercise ideas, make sure your pet is the appropriate weight, eating the correct diet, resting on an orthopedic bed to support his joints and getting acupuncture regularly. In my opinion, there is nothing better than acupuncture and the correct Chinese herbs to help your arthritic pet feel good….Nothing.

All exercise should be done under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian. Start slow (few minutes each day) and work up to 15 minute sessions.

Some great exercises are:

Slow walking. This will increase blood and qi (“chee”) and help your pet’s overall circulation.

Hiking. The incline and decline of hiking can take stress off the joints. And the cool smells along the way will be much appreciated by your dog.shutterstock_152409521

Swimming. Many pets that have body aches on land find swimming a wonderful way to enjoy pain free movement. The water should be a normal temperature and the sessions should start very slow (few minutes). Watch your dog for signs of being tired and provide him frequent breaks. Dogs need to wear flotation devices in the pool. It will help support them and prevent drowning if they become too tired in the water.

Interactive play inside your home. Pick a carpeted area and roll the ball or throw a toy. Even short periods of play will keep a dog active and help stimulate them mentally.

Strength exercises. Work with an integrative medicine veterinarian to learn how to do simple, in-home exercises geared toward strengthening your aging pet.

Some people are accepting of their old dog not moving and not playing. In integrative medicine, this isn’t the case. While seniors should rest (often), they should also enjoy moving and being part of your world. When you know better, you do better. We can do better together!

Dr. Ashley Geoghegan

Dr. Ashley Geoghegan, known affectionately as Dr. G, has spent a lifetime devoted to animal care. Dr. G graduated from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and served in the U.S. Army as a veterinary officer. At VetNaturally™, she practices Integrative Medicine, which is a combination of Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine (TCVM) , canine rehabilitation and conventional Western medicine.