Monday, February 8, 2010

Cathy Chen-Rennie, Head Swim Coach, contributes advice about arthritic older dog

Cathy contributed to an Expert Panel on a local blog site called

The reader’s question: We have an 11-year-old Queensland Cattle dog that has numerous issues. Right now, we would like to strengthen his hind legs which have arthritis. Can you help us?

Cathy's advice
There are many things you can do to help your dog with arthritis, some examples include making sure the dog is lean, exercising him on a regular basis, adding nutritional supplements and working with your vet on a pain management regimen. My training is within canine massage and I’ve worked with a number of dogs in a canine aquatic fitness setting - so I know from experience that swimming is a great non-impact exercise that works the joints gently. Water has the benefit of buoyancy so your dog can exercise while getting a bit of a break from gravity. We have observed many dogs using their hind legs for propulsion when swimming so we’ve seen that it helps with stretching the back leg muscles.

With a swim coach, your dogs can gain confidence in the water and perhaps work up to doing a few short length laps in the pool. A swim coach can also create resistance and drive by having them tread water or letting them swim against a current. I work with dogs in an indoor warm-water swimming pool and perform massages while in the water to help them feel comfortable. We use warm water because it promotes muscle relaxation and good circulation. If you would like to learn more about canine aquatic fitness, please feel free to contact me.

To read the rest of the article...InCirclePets Article "Experts Weigh In on Aging Dogs and Arthritis"

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