Archive for the ‘E – Education’ Category

5 Reasons Your Dog May Be Shaking His Head

Friday, May 8th, 2015
Pets shake their heads for several reasons.

Pets shake their heads for several reasons.

3 Reasons Not to Shave Your Dog

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
CTA_April2015_NeverShave-01 Preparing for warm weather has its challenges.  We will be posting a series of tips this month to help you get ready for summer.

 

5 Common Mistakes When Trimming Nails

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
       

Rehab Reasons to Trim Nails

* Dogs don’t walk correctly when the nails are too long and this strains the leg muscles and torques the spine.

*Long nails grow around and into the bottom of the foot. The dewclaw nail can grow around and into the leg.

* Nails help provide traction and increase a pet’s ability to walk and run without slipping. Pets with excessively long nails hurt themselves because they slip and fall.

 

5 Mistakes When Trimming Nails

9 Ways To Help Your Dog Age Well

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

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1) Walk Backwards

Kneel with your dog between you and a wall, put one hand under their belly to keep them from sitting (not to support their weight). With the other hand, use a treat to lure their nose to their chest and help them to move backwards (or put gentle pressure on their chest if that doesn’t get them to back up). Have them walk backwards a few feet, once or twice a day to help build hamstring strength.

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2) Warm or Cool Compress

If a joint or limb seems particularly painful, place the compress on the area for 5-10 minutes to help with pain relief.  For a warm compress, put rice in a sock and microwave until warm. For a cool compress, use a bag of frozen corn or peas (whatever you currently have in your freezer).

3) Side Steps

Stand perpendicular to your dog, place one hand on their collar (so they don’t go anywhere), place your knee/leg on their flank, and your hand on the other side to keep them pressed against you. Then slowly step into your dog to get them to shift their weight away from you and take a step. Make sure to repeat on the other side.

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4) Walk

Try to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day, even if it’s a really short one (either because of your busy schedule or your dog’s physical limitations).  Regular exercise helps keep bones and muscles healthy and every little bit counts (even if it’s just down the driveway and back!).

5) Sit to Stands

Ask your dog to sit. Be sure they’re sitting squarely so their back paws are facing forwards and they’re not lounging on one hip or the other. Ask them to stand on all 4s from the seated position. And repeat! Doggy squats!

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6) Diagonal Leg Lift

Gently lift the front leg and opposite back leg at the same time and hold for 3-5 seconds. Hold the wrist in front of the shoulder, and the ankle behind the hip so they can’t bear weight through you–they have to balance themselves. Repeat with the opposite two legs.

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7) Couch Walks

Take a cushion off your couch and have your dog walk across, or have them stand on it while they eat dinner. This is a core exercise and will help with balance.

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8) Trim Nails

Keep your dog’s toe nails and toe fur trimmed to help with slipping and difficulty on hard floors.  Throw rugs, yoga mats, and dog boots/socks with good grip can help also.

9) Range of Motion

Anytime your dog is relaxed, with open hands, gently guide your dog’s limbs into flexion and extension to keep the joints healthy.

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**If your dog is having any issues or pain when doing these exercises, please consult your veterinarian, or contact us at www.dog-swim.com (303) 762-SWIM.

Family Wellness Month

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

May is Family Wellness Month! In honor of making family wellness a priority, here are a few ideas & exercises to keep the whole family well.

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W – Walk: go on a brisk walk with your dog.  This is a good light workout for you and your dog, especially if you walk at a brisk pace. Ask your family to go with you! Walks are great for bonding, enjoying the scenery, and spending quality time with your family (and away from our modern day technology-filled world).

E – Eat Healthy! : Make a healthy meal for yourself and your family, and save some extra vegetables for your dog. Most dogs love sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and would love for some healthy treats or for a great addition to a meal. And your body will love your healthy delicious meal also. (Here are some great sweet potato recipes)

L – Lunges: With treats in hand, ask your dog to sit, then face him and do a reverse lunge (with knees shoulder-width apart, step backwards with one leg so your front leg is bent at a 90 degree angle and your knee is over your ankle). At the bottom of your lunge, hold your position and ask your dog to shake (or touch). Continue with the other leg back for a reverse lunge and ask your dog for his other paw.

L – Learning: Teach your dog a new trick. Better yet, teach your family members how to teach your dog tricks.  Learning new tricks is a great way to engage your dog’s brain, and the mental stimulation will also help to tire them out (and it might tire you out too!).

N – New Things: Try something new (new to you, your family, and your dog)! This can be anything, try an agility class, or go on a new hiking trail, or try swimming, or go just on an adventure. Trying new things together will build your bond, your dog’s confidence, and probably yours too! Check out our Local Pinterest board for some great dog-friendly places in our area worth trying.

E – Eat Healthy, Part 2 : Salmon is packed with healthy omega-3’s and amino acids, as well as vitamins A, B, D and other good minerals like iron and calcium. Plus, it tastes great! Here are some delicious salmon recipes to make for you and your family. And when you’re done cooking for your 2-legged family members, give the salmon skin to your furry ones! They will love it and it is also a great source of oils and vitamins for them also.

S – Side Shuffle: In an athletic position (feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, back straight) shuffle sideways and have your dog come with you. Then, facing the same direction, shuffle back the other way. Repeat 10 times.

S – Sit: Lean against a wall and slide down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle for a good wall sit position. If you have a small dog, hold her while you hold your sit. If you have a big dog, ask her to put her paws on your lap. OR if your dog knows touch (nose to hand touch), ask for a touch on either side of you and switch back and forth so your dog gets a workout too. If your family members are joining you in the wall sit, have your dog go between family members doing a touch (or shake).

EXTRAS:

Push-ups: In an area where you have space on the floor, have your dog come with you and and ask him to sit or lay down and stay. Then do as many push-ups (on your toes or knees is fine) as you can without stopping. When you stop to take a break and catch your breath, have your dog do 5 doggy push-ups: tell him to sit, then lay down and repeat 5 times.

Hike: Going on hikes are a wonderful way to get the whole family together to enjoy nature and each other’s company. Plus, your furry family member will love it also! One great thing about hikes is that there is such a variety that you are sure to find something suitable for the whole family. Here is a list of some dog-friendly hikes in Colorado.

Importance of Rehab

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

ImportanceofRehab-01WHY IS REHAB IMPORTANT?

If your dog is young, old, post-operative, or arthritic, it might be time to consider canine rehabilitation. Essentially physical therapy for dogs, canine rehab can help with many different doggy afflictions. People often are surprised to hear that rehab is an option for their own dog, and we are frequently asked how rehab works or why someone should consider it for their furry companion.

WHAT IS CANINE REHAB?

Canine rehab is a field of veterinary medicine that focuses on soft tissue injuries (muscle pains, ligament tears, and tendon strains, for example). Rehab is a way for dogs to reinforce normal neurological pathways, to gain strength and coordination, and to increase joint range of motion. It identifies painful or problematic areas; rehab vets can help with those undiagnosed lamenesses for which other vets may prescribe just R & R (or “rest and Rimadyl,” in the veterinary world). Canine rehab utilizes three main treatment options: 

epcorgis_small_squareExercises are at the core of canine rehab. Just like people, dogs respond well to small amounts of consistent exercise. If you want to tone your biceps, for example, you focus on high repetitions, low weights. The same is true for your dog: if Fido just had knee surgery and has lost tone in his hamstrings, we ask him to start with gentle weight-shifting exercises a few times a day instead of hiking him to the summit of Pike’s Peak.

Another tool of rehab is hydrotherapy, the use of water to aid in your dog’s treatment in the form of underwater treadmills and swimming pools. The buoyancy of water helps alleviate stress caused by weight-bearing on your dog’s joints, while still offering strengthening properties as your dog swings its legs through the water. Depending on your dog’s issues, a rehab vet may utilize the treadmill, the pool, or both.

Lastly, rehab incorporates different modalities to offer a well-rounded treatment plan. Cold laser, therapeutic ultrasound, and muscular electrostimulation are available to your dog. All reduce pain, encourage greater blood flow, and increase the rate of healing. Used alone or in conjunction with exercises and hydrotherapy, almost every patient feels the benefits of these modalities.

WHO NEEDS REHAB?

Any dog can benefit from rehab. Our typical patients include post-operative and geriatric dogs, but we also have young, healthy pups. If your dog is in agility and you’re looking to improve her weave-pole time, we can help with that. If your puppy is too uncoordinated to function all four limbs at once, we can help with that, as well.

Post-operative patients (especially all you TPLO’s out there) are the most obvious rehab candidates. Just like in people, dogs need more than just strict rest to fully recover from orthopedic procedures. Surgeons have learned that six weeks of strict cage rest after slicing-and-dicing does not result in healthy dogs or happy owners. Rehab helps ease a dog back into normal activities by safely strengthening the muscles around the weakened bones or joints.

Pre-operative patients are less obvious rehab candidates. If your dog just “blew out a knee” and had corrective surgery, the surgeon likely told you that more than 80% of such patients end up “blowing out” their other knee. Rehab will help your dog strengthen BOTH legs after the first surgery to help protect both knees, thereby decreasing the risk of a second surgery (and a second surgery bill). This is true for non-knee anatomy, as well: wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, ankles, and spines can benefit from a little extra muscular support, as well.

Even if your dog is already scheduled for surgery, it’s a good idea to bring him or her by beforehand for an introduction to some of the exercises that will follow the surgery; that will give him/her a head start post-operatively. They can jump right into the treatments rather than spending some of that precious post-op time in the introductory phase (this is especially true for the underwater treadmill).

fitpawsYoung and old dogs are both known for their lack of limb-control (known as proprioception). In older patients, it’s likely due to a medical condition, such as arthritis or a neurological disease; in puppies, it’s due to…well, being a puppy! Exercises to help your dog place its paws accurately and work on balance can make a significant difference in your and your dog’s lives. Take dogs diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, for example. This is a debilitating neurological condition with 6-month prognosis from the time of diagnosis without rehab. With it, they can stay comfortable for a year or more.

Dogs with a bum leg or two also find rehab useful. Some dogs are born with inherently bad joints: think bulldogs, dachshunds, and German shepherds. Some are born with angular limb deformities, which occur when bones do not develop and meet correctly within the joint.

Healthy dogs can benefit from rehab, as well, for all of the same reasons just listed. Rehab can help agility or working dogs strengthen muscles and avoid injuries. Hunting dogs can improve their retrieval times and decrease risk of injury by improving their proprioception. Even if your dog is just your walking buddy who likes to play fetch, rehab can help improve their overall fitness level to help prevent any number of metabolic and orthopedic complications that accompany an aging animal. Just like exercises keeps your own cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems in better shape, they help your dog in the same ways.

WHAT DOES A REHAB APPOINTMENT ENTAIL?

massageAt CRCG, your first appointment will be an evaluation. A rehab vet examines your dog as a whole, feeling each palpable muscle, tendon, ligament, and joint. This gives the vet a complete picture of what is painful for your dog and how to best approach treatment. The vet then demonstrates and helps you practice various simple exercises for you to do with your dog at home. The vet also lays out a general game plan for rehab, and you both discuss how that does or doesn’t work with your own goals or schedule.

Appointments can include any of the methods discussed above: exercises, hydrotherapy, and manual modalities. During each appointment, you are right there with your dog. A tech does not whisk your dog away “to the back” for treatments; you are an integral part of each step along the way in your dog’s rehab. Rehab is truly a team effort, and without your dedication at home, it would be a slower and less successful process.

Who else is part of your dog’s rehab team, you may wonder. A rehab vet is a veterinarian who underwent additional training and certification. A certified veterinary technician may also make an appearance to help with certain exercises.

WHAT IF I WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Visit our website (www.dog-swim.com), give us a call (303-762-7946), or come visit us at CRCG! We’re happy to answer any questions or help determine if your dog could use some form of rehab.