Your dog’s flexibility plays a major role in his or her range of motion and ability to run, jump and swim. However, many pet owners have trouble understanding what level of flexibility their canine should have. Even if your dog is capable of getting around the house without trouble, it’s usually a good idea to help them exercise and stretch to make their limbs more supple. At Wapiti Labs, we’re passionate about providing pet parents with all of the advice and resources they need to improve and maintain the health and happiness of their cats and dogs. That’s why we produce some of the most effective natural pet supplements in the industry. Today, we’ll be helping you to determine your pup’s flexibility and discussing a few key tactics you can use to boost their agility.
Assessing Your Dog’s Flexibility
One of the fastest and easiest ways to determine your dog’s flexibility is to perform a few stretching exercises with them. Fortunately, you don’t need any special training or tools to help your dog limber up. Just find a comfortable surface for them to stand or lay on (like a rug) and make sure they aren’t too riled up. If your canine starts to protest about being kept in place, you can give them a few treats and some pets to calm them down. From there, you’re going to perform four simple dog stretching exercises recommended by Dr. Karen Becker, an experienced veterinarian. Here’s a brief rundown on each to give you a solid idea of how to execute them.
Hip Flexor Stretching (Standing)
Your dog’s hip flexors are the muscles that allow movement of the legs and hips while walking and running. To stretch these out, have your canine stand up and grab one of their back legs above the knee. Then, carefully move the leg back until it sticks straight out behind your pup’s body. As soon as you reach the point where extending further requires you to exert pressure, hold that position for around twenty to thirty seconds. You’ll want to repeat this step a few times with each hind leg.
Shoulder Flexor Stretching (Standing)
Your canine’s shoulder flexors are the muscles that enable them to move their front legs properly. To stretch them, simply take hold of one of their front legs (above the elbow) and gently move it forward until you reach the point where you feel resistance. Hold that position for twenty to thirty seconds and then release the limb. Just like with hip flexors, you’ll want to repeat this exercise a few times with each leg.
Chest Stretching (Laying)
Your dog’s chest muscles are constantly being worked when they run and play, subjecting them to significant strain. To stretch these out, simply lay your dog on his or her back, grab both front legs near the wrists and carefully open them out to the side (like they’re getting ready to hug you). Hold this position for about twenty to thirty seconds before releasing and repeat two to three times.
Back Stretching (Standing)
Your canine’s back muscles play a key role in a majority of movements. Stretching them out will require the use of a toy or a few treats (anything that will hold your dog’s attention). Once you have your pet on his or her feet, just grab a treat and move it slowly toward the tail. You’ll also need to keep their lower half in place to prevent them from turning around. Your pup will follow the object with their eyes, essentially bending their body into a C shape in the process. Perform this stretch on each side of your dog’s body a few times, holding the position for about twenty seconds.
Note: Be sure to reward your dog with some praise or a treat after completing each set of stretches. It’s important to reinforce the idea that this process is fun and rewarding. Otherwise, they’ll dread doing it and put up a fuss every time you pull the stretching rug out.
Boosting Your Dog’s Flexibility
By the end of these four stretching exercises, you should have a solid understanding of how flexible your dog is. If he or she can perform each of them without pain or discomfort, then they’re in excellent shape. If not, then you should arrange a visit to your local veterinarian as soon as possible. These animal experts can perform a more detailed evaluation of your dog’s range of motion and provide you with detailed advice on how to alleviate your animal’s specific flexibility issues.
In most cases, simple stretches like the ones we’ve discussed above will do wonders for your dog’s flexibility, and these are made even more effective when paired with certain pet-friendly supplements. For example, Wapiti’s Mobility supplement for dogs is a blend of natural ingredients that’s specifically designed to optimize joint flexibility and mobility for dogs in the first stages of life. Together, you and your veterinarian can develop a combination of stretches, exercises and supplements that perfectly meet your dog’s needs.
Contact Wapiti Labs Today
Have any additional questions about canine flexibility and what you can do to keep your dog in top form throughout each stage of life? Then be sure to call or message Wapiti Labs. We look forward to hearing from you soon!