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Friday, March 18, 2016

Doggy Rehab

Ziva's Shoulder Rehab

Slimdoggy is doing a series, "Things People Don't Know About Canine Fitness" today is Part 4 of his series and we encourage you to go check it out! Today is about rehab and retraining, which is perfect because it's something we've been dealing with in Ziva.

She just doesn't know how to quit!

Having been involved in sports my whole life I treat my dogs as I would train my own body. Having high drive/high energy dogs we get out no less than twice a day, this is important number one for my own sanity but also for the sanity of Dante and Ziva, they get really psycho if they can't exercise.

Alternating Workouts
We alternate between hard and easy workout's spring through fall, the winter though can be kind of difficult so we tend to do more walking than hard running because of how dirty they get if I let them run around in our favorite field.

Bundled up for a walk!
Slowly/Gradually Increasing Exercise
With the return of spring we begin notching up the exercise, we start with a brisk short walk to the field, warm up for about 5 min with short toy tosses for Ziva, "sit stays" work really well with her because she run's slower to a dead (non-moving) ball than one that goes zinging out of the chuckit and some tug with Dante, we then have a short maybe 10 min hard play session where I let the dogs full on run, and end it with a cool down walk with some fresh water back at the house.

We love playtime!
We are also careful with feeding times, the dogs do not get to eat 45 min before or after a hard play session to avoid upset tummy and tummy twisting issues. I want them to be completely cooled down and hungry when we offer them their food.

Ziva's Shoulder
A little over a month ago Ziva began limping on her front right leg, further exploring and we realized it was in her shoulder and most likely muscular. We had a couple options, take her in to the vet for a check up or just let her rest and see if it improved on it's own. 

*I'm by no means an expert or a veterinarian, if you have questions regarding the health of your dog please seek professional advice or see your veterinarian.*

Well in this case I knew what the vet would say; step one we could probably put her on some anti-inflammatories let her rest - see if it would heal on it's own, and if it didn't we could pursue other options. So rather than drag her through a vet visit and because we had just spend a bunch of money on Dante's nose (HERE) we decided to rehab it ourselves.

Canine Massage
Again i'm no expert here, but I know that when an athlete over works a muscle it tends to get stiff and sore. Marathon runners and professional athletes tend to get regular massage to reduce stress, pain, and muscle tension. I personally see a therapist semi regularly for my lower back which I injured when I was on a competitive weight lifting team, and then re-injured through overexercise when I participated in Muay Thai for 4 years. The massage helps with my movement, stiffness, and keeps the pain away.  Competitive dogs such as agility and flyball dogs in fact tend to get regular massage, chiropractic, and even canine acupuncture to help care for their bodies and prevent injuries from occuring.

We decided to give massage a try with Ziva, in the evenings we like to sit as a family and watch a short 40 min show before bed. I started using this time to gently/slowly massage Ziva's shoulder careful to watch her for any signs of discomfort.

"Rub da belly mom."

Rest & Recovery
We also put an end to her running after the ball so long as the limp was evident. So this meant lots more walks. As her shoulder improved I allowed her to have some off leash time - but NO TOYS. This way she was picking her own pace based on her comfort as opposed to engaging her tennis ball obsessive brain that defys the laws of common sense to GET THAT BALL. 

"Fine, you took my ball. But I can still get muddy!"

Slow Return to Activity
I am proud to announce that over a month of babying we finally are not seeing any more signs of injury. We have slowly been increasing Ziva's activity level allowing her to run for increasingly longer amounts of time, careful to warm up, cool down, and i'm still massaging her legs in the evening - which I might add she LOVES.

Added Benefits of Massage Include:
  • Increased circulation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Relax tired muscles
  • Reduce spasms and cramping
  • Enhances bonding
  • Surgery rehabilitation
  • Releases natural endorphin's in the body

Check out Slimdoggy's Canine Fitness post today, it has some great information!

For more information on doggy exercise or rehab please seek professional advice such as your vet, a canine rehabilitation specialist or a canine fitness trainer to determine the best course of action for your dog and their individual problem.

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  1. Glad to hear Ziva's shoulder is doing better. You followed a great plan. She sure looks like she enjoys that massage - but who doesn't!

    1. if I could just teach her how to work on my shoulders!

  2. That's good that Ziva's shoulder is doing better! We are going through the same sort of thing from Zoe hurting her wrist a couple of months ago. She's doing okay but we're taking it slowly.

    1. Glad Zoe is healing up nice! Being injured is no fun!

  3. Glad her shoulder is doing better! I personally love canine massage - I do it nightly with Nola. She's never had an injury, but she loves it and I'm all about the benefits. I'd like to take her to a professional once we move to a larger, more dog savvy area.

    1. I've been thinking of trying out acupuncture, first on myself - I tend to have lower back pain. Then on Ziva if I think it will help her. :-)

  4. Massage is great for humans and dogs! Yay for Ziva!

  5. Rest is hard as once we start feeling better, we want to race and be wild right away. We all have been taking Rejenease as a natural hip and joint supplement that heals issues rather than just masking pain. It has been a miracle for my senior sister with serious arthritis, but we all take it as our veterinarian thinks it is a good idea for prevention of problems. Hope your shoulder feels better soon.


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