3 Ways to Include Your Dog in Your Physical Therapy
Happy Fido Friday!
Being a family company extends beyond only our human connections. We are all animal lovers and one furry friend in particular has our heart; The Canine. If you ever happen to wander into our Business Office we have a few members of our team that will greet you with a wagging tail and panting tongue.
Although our dog friends provide excellent friendship and companionship they also help us stay in shape and even recover after injuries. Our award winning Physical Therapists and clinic staff love to design care plans that involve your four legged friend. Here are three ways to include your Dog at home or at the park that your Fido is sure to love! Please remember all care plans are unique as you are and should only be done under the consultation of a medical provider.
Overhand Throw and Release: Using proper posture, throw a small dog toy or ball over your head and release. This can help improve rotation, flexion, and balance. As you progress in your rehab you can transition from smaller lighter items like a stuffed toy, to larger heavier item like a tennis ball. We recommend this for patients in the later part of their recovery from injuries that involve the rotator cuff, the spine, as well as the knees and ankles.
Walking: Aside from being a great pal, dogs are also the best accountability partner. They want (and need) a walk regardless of the weather. Getting outside and walking can help you strengthen your core, and improve your posture and balance. Front, backwards, side to side etc. Grab a leash and you’re good to go! We believe walking should be a consistent part of your daily routine. It can also help you during the rehab of injuries including ACLs, Meniscal tears and repairs, and total knee replacements. Your Physical Therapist can create agility drills for you to incorporate in your walk to help you improve how you cut, pivot, and change direction. Later in your rehab, try adding in jump landing, skipping, and hopping. We know your awesome four legged friend will be jumping for joy right alongside you!
Home PT Exercises: Sometimes sticking to your PT homework can be hard. This is another way your dog can hold you accountable! You know the moment your dog took to relieve him/herself? Think about how you can utilize that time to get your at home exercises done. A set of two 15-30 second holds for a stretch could go a long way. Or after your walk, how about playing “active fetch” – after you throw an object and before your canine friend returns with it, you could be squatting, lunging, doing a cross body shoulder stretch, calf rises, planks, jumping jacks – pretty much anything! If you don’t feel like your PT home exercises are conducive to doing this, speak with your PT and the home program can be modified to fit your specific needs.
Always consult your doctor and/or physical therapist before beginning a care plan.
Your dog told us he’s ready to play! What are you waiting for?
Happy Fido Friday!