Joint Problems and Exercise
Many dogs are accustomed to long walks, runs and active playtime each day. But what happens when your dog develops lameness from joint problems such as arthritis or dysplasia? Should the exercise continue or be stopped altogether? As a Pet Massage Therapist, I see many cases of dogs who overdo it then suffer as a result, and I’m asked for advice about exercise.
Just like humans, dogs with joint issues experience stiffness and pain the day after a strenuous romp. Although exercise is vital, it is important that the exercise is regular and consistent. A long run one day and a short walk or no exercise at all the next day can be detrimental. You may be thinking that the run is good for the dog but then a day or two of rest helps the dog to recover. Well that may be true for a dog (or human!) with no problems, but the excess exercise inflames the joints, then a day of rest allows stiffness to set in with little opportunity to work out the toxins that have accumulated from the inflammation.
A better choice is to give the dog the same amount of exercise daily and cut back on the really strenuous activity which you have noticed gives your dog pain. So, if your dog is accustomed to running several miles each day and is showing pain and stiffness, cut back the length of the run or just make it a long walk – and do this same routine every day. See how that affects your dog.
Important – consult your veterinarian immediately if your dog shows stiffness or lameness! Only your vet can diagnose the problem.