Does my dog need physiotherapy?

Does my dog need physiotherapy?

If you’d like to help your pup recover from surgery or gain strength in their muscles and joints, they could benefit from physio. In this article, Melbourne Animal Physiotherapy explains what dog physiotherapists can do for your dog — and how to tell if they could benefit from treatment.

What does a dog physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapy can help your dog to:

  • Regain strength, flexibility and mobility after surgery or injury.

  • Reduce pain and inflammation while promoting healing. Physiotherapists can support dogs with musculoskeletal injuries like fractures, muscle strains, ligament tears or joint sprains.

  • Slow the progression of degenerative conditions including arthritis, hip dysplasia and intervertebral disc disease.

  • Improve motor skills for neurological disorders. For pups with spinal cord injuries and nerve damage, physiotherapy could boost mobility.

  • Manage weight through tailored exercise plans that burn calories and build fitness.

Animal physios must first complete a degree in human physiotherapy, after which point, they undergo further training to specialise. Dog physiotherapy isn’t that different from its human equivalent – the main difference lies in the needs of the patient!

What can I expect from a canine physiotherapy appointment?

Your dog’s treatment plan will be tailored to their needs, with the universal goal of preventing injuries and improving overall quality of life.

Appointments may involve a combination of exercises, manual therapy techniques and other treatments (like hydrotherapy, laser therapy or acupuncture!).

If you’ve noticed your dog slipping on the floors in your home, physiotherapists can provide suitable products and tools to suit their needs and boost their mobility.

Signs of pain or slowing down

Some dogs need the care of a physiotherapist more than others. Consider seeking the help of a dog physiotherapist if your dog is:

  • Holding their tail lower than usual.

  • Arching their back.

  • Yelping when you touch them, or after running or jumping.

  • Limping or dragging their legs on the ground.

  • Seeming quiet and withdrawn, or not acting like their usual self.

  • Taking a little longer to get out of bed, or up and down stairs.

You can always ask your vet if you’re unsure about whether physio is suitable for your dog.

Physiotherapy can benefit all dogs

Like us, your dog doesn’t need to be injured to pay a visit to the physio.

For certain health issues or life stages, physiotherapy can have a great deal of benefits. Agility or performance dogs, for example, should have regular check-ups: to help support their exercise regime.

Other reasons to consider physiotherapy include:

  • Guidance on recovery from spinal disc injury (IVDD), including exercises to help build strength and regain mobility function. Physiotherapists can also provide wheelchairs where needed.

  • Arthritis or senior care, and advice on supplements and diet.

  • Assistance managing degenerative conditions (such as Degenerative Myelopathy) or soft tissue injuries.

  • Support for dogs with amputated limbs, to access supportive braces and harnesses; as well as guidance on home exercises and enrichment activities.

The value of taking a proactive approach

Physiotherapy is a valuable tool for dogs of all life stages — whether it’s a preventative measure or a targeted response to surgery or health conditions.

Paired with a nutritious diet, this form of rehabilitation can give your dog the energy and mobility to enjoy their life to the fullest. To learn more, book your first dog physiotherapy consult today.

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