Nobody Told Me My Legs Don’t Work: Journey of a Down Dog by Travis C Yates

The perfect world Travis and his wife Renea spent ten-plus years creating is turned upside down when they find their seven-year old Golden Retriever, Keegan, left paralyzed from a stroke. Nobody Told Me My Legs Don’t Work follows the couple’s remarkable journey as they enter a frightening new world of uncertainty that comes with a “down dog” while attempting to defy their doctor’s prognosis and get Keegan back on her feet again.

Along the way they meet an interesting cast of characters that keeps them forging ahead as the experience tests their marriage and threatens to break them emotionally and financially. It is a delicate tightrope act of patience, humor and dedication that changes them forever. Share in their heartache and joy as Keegan strives to take her first steps and discover how the greatest triumphs can often be sparked by our darkest moments. Read more

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FDA DOG FOOD LEGUMES RESPONSE FROM DR. AVA FRICK

A recent news report on an FDA release about grain-free dog food, legumes, taurine, and cardiomyopathy (CDM) quickly found its way through local and national radio and TV. While I had my thoughts about it, I decided to contact the three companies whose foods we recommend and sell at the clinic, and get their professional input.

Mr. Daron Matsuura from Lotus explained: “This can happen if a food’s recipe is too high in legume seeds and it is not balanced with a plenty of fresh meat. Legumes are high in ogliosaccharides which will feed bacteria in the gut. If there is too much ogliosaccharides there tends to be too much bacteria which will limit the absorption of taurine. We formulate Lotus so the total legumes are about 20% and use a lot of fresh proteins 30% to 40%. The fresh proteins are high in methionine which is a precursor to taurine. Dogs should not have this issue with Lotus.

Stella & Chewy replied: “We work closely with veterinarians and nutritionists to ensure that our diets are complete and balanced and meet AAFCO requirements. Please know that our freeze-dried raw and frozen raw diets are free of peas, lentils and potatoes, and contain less than 1% of the legume seed fenugreek. Also, we do add taurine to our raw and kibble diets.”

Grandma Lucy works with Dr. Jean Dodds. She had a very detailed response to the FDA statement and you can read it in its entirety at www.drjeandoddspethealthresource.tumblr.com. I have taken a few excerpts from it to help clarify the vagueness in the recent news publications.

“No research has been conducted yet to determine if grain-free diets could cause heart disease in dogs. First, we must consider the many factors that need to be accounted for in this situation:

  • Genetics
  • Diet
  • Scientific research thus far
  • Taurine requirements for dogs
  • The interaction between foods when passing through the body
  • The interaction between foods and the body itself

Researchers are only beginning to scratch the surface on the last two factors for human and animal nutrition. Yes; nutritional knowledge has been increasing dramatically over the past century, but this latest contention that grain-free foods may be associated with some adverse effects on the heart just highlights how little we actually know and understand.

  • At this time, taurine is not considered an essential, food-sourced amino acid for dogs. Taurine is synthesized in the liver from the amino acids cysteine and methionine, which should provide sufficient quantities to meet dogs’ metabolic needs.
  • Taurine can still be and is present in dog food. However, a pet food label does not need to reflect this presence or meet any minimum requirement per the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).”

Dr. Dodds further summarized some previous studies conducted on potential dietary causes of CHD.

“Delaney et al., June 2003. Plasma and whole blood taurine in normal dogs of varying size fed commercially prepared food. Blood and plasma was analyzed for amino acids and taurine on 131 “normal” dogs consuming commercial food. Mean whole blood taurine concentrations were lower in dogs fed diets containing whole grain rice, rice bran or barley. The lowest whole blood concentrations were seen in dogs fed lamb or lamb meal and rice diets.

“Backus, et al., October 2003. Taurine deficiency in Newfoundlands fed commercially available complete and balanced diets. 19 Newfoundlands eating apparently complete and balanced commercial dry diets meeting established nutrient recommendations. Their results were that twelve of the dogs were considered taurine deficient. Taurine-deficient dogs had been fed lamb meal and rice diets.

“Backus et al., 2006. Low Plasma Taurine Concentration in Newfoundland Dogs is Associated with Low Plasma Methionine and Cyst(e)ine Concentrations and Low Taurine Synthesis. Backus and his team compared 216 Newfoundlands to Beagles. Dogs with low plasma taurine were older, less active, had more medical problems. The findings in this study support the theory that taurine deficiency in dogs may be related to the consumption of certain dietary ingredients. Scientific and clinical evidence supports the hypothesis that dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with low blood taurine concentration in dogs. The authors noted, “Taurine deficiency in dogs is suggested to result from reduced sulfur amino acid bioavailability in dietary ingredients that are heat processed, such as rendered meat meals.”

Regarding the FDA statement; it is not yet known how peas, lentils, potatoes, starch and fiber derivatives early in the ingredient list are linked to cases of CDM. “The FDA is simply stating a trend. These types of trends lead to much needed research.

The FDA is not dismissing the prior research as invalid. As the FDA puts it, “The underlying cause of DCM is not truly known, but is thought to have a genetic component.” The FDA is also not saying you should stop feeding grain-free foods. If you are concerned, is to have your veterinarian take a blood sample to measure the methionine, cysteine and taurine levels in both whole blood and plasma, and send it to a diagnostic laboratory experienced with the appropriate reference ranges for circulating taurine.

As more research is completed, AAFCO may need to adjust their minimum nutrient requirements and add more optimal requirements so that foods can be more appropriately formulated for breed type, size and age.”

My closing comments are this: There is no one brand or type of diet that is appropriate for every dog. Each individuals needs should be considered. Controversy about proper feeding of dogs has been in the works since the first processed diet was formulated. Feeding what a breed evolved on in their homeland for centuries (an Archetype diet) will be recognized by their internal computer. The less processed the better.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises can be a part of your dog’s recovery program.
Proper stretching can increase flexibility and range of motion (ROM), relieve certain kinds of joint and muscle pain, stimulate nerve conduction and body awareness, heighten proprioception, improve performance, and help prevent injuries.
Muscles and connective tissue naturally tend to stiffen if they are overused or underused. Stiffness can result in injury, lead to inactivity, and eventually speed up the aging process of the musculoskeletal system. To remain supple, the connective tissue and muscles need regular stretching. Stiffness is a symptom and reaction to pain or discomfort, be it from overworking unprepared muscle groups (sore muscles), arthritis, spinal bone instability or fixation, even dental malfunction.
Massaging the body and properly stretching the joints will loosen muscles and connective tissue, sending signals to the mechanoreceptors about the joints and their capacity to flex and extend. Massage will help to eliminate toxins and lactic acid by improving circulation to the tissue, further reducing soreness.
Stretching also provides a pain-relieving effect, which might be due to an increased pain threshold or simply because the muscle becomes stronger. Through a regular stretching program, muscles become stronger and thus able to absorb more energy, which also reduces injury. The more energy muscle can absorb, the more resistant the muscle is to injury.

Important points to remember:

  • Understand the goals or purpose and how to effectively deliver the exercises
  • Be in a calm area where everyone is relaxed, as the stretching will be more productive if the muscles are not tense
  • Take the time to do them correctly (no shortcuts)
  • Always start conservatively then gradually increase the length of stretch, the angle or height of the stretch, and the number or repetitions
  • Pay attention to the behavior or response(s) your pet gives with each stretch
  • Keep notes on the changes you see so you can report to the doctor on your next visit

Benefits of Stretching Exercises:

  • Pain relieving effect
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Reduce likelihood of injury when standing, sitting, jumping, etc.
  • Relieve spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury
  • Improve posture
  • Good for “cooling down” after a workout and helps reduce post workout muscle fatigue and soreness

A good stretch will be comfortable and effective. A “bad” stretch will be met with resistance or failure to make any positive gain in flexibility, range of motion, or performance. Lack of improvement or an unwillingness to do the exercises indicates the current program should be stopped until you visit with our doctor.
With a regular routine consisting of a few three-to-five-minute exercises several days a week, your pet can begin to show improvement in as early as one week.

Purchase the DVD “Fitness in Motion® Stretching Exercises for Dogs.” Waatch it often, it will help you gain your confidence. $40

Cold and Heat Therapy

COLD or cryotherapy should be used immediately after a new injury to help reduce the degree of trauma the tissue will have to deal with. Initiating cold for up to 20 minutes at a time can do several things.

  • By decreasing the cell metabolic rate it slows the requirement for nutrients, oxygen, and perfusion. Slowing its work capacity allows for a quiet environment in the face of trauma and the changes that brings to the area.
    Vasoconstriction helps to stop bleeding, reducing bruising and swelling.
  • Decreasing an inflammatory response means less redness, less pain, and potentially less chance for infection.
  • A decreased nerve conduction velocity is achieved by the chilling effect. Slowing nerve transmission is how it reduces pain.
  • Decreasing muscle contraction helps further to prevent nerve irritation and pain. Contraction of muscle at the site of a fracture can make a surgical reduction more difficult when the muscle must be relaxed to achieve positioning again.
  • Increased pain threshold means that it takes more pain before the minds would perceive pain exists. This effect helps the body deal better with what has happened and keeps the adrenal cortisol stress response lower.
  • Decreasing collagen and muscle capacity and response to stretch keeps the tissue in more of its true shape and size so that less swelling occurs.

For all these reasons it is wise to apply cold therapy for the first 3 days after injury or at the end of a busy day when a body suffers from a chronic arthritic or inflammatory condition. Utilizing massage with cold therapy yields better results than either done alone.

Applying Cold Therapy:
WHEN – During the first 72 hours after tissue injury
HOW – 15 minutes per treatment (do not exceed 20 minutes) 3 to 5 times per day
WHAT – You can use any of the following. Cold plus massage benefits more than cold used alone.

  • Ice cups – fill Styrofoam cups, freeze tear off part of cup and use to massage and chill the area
  • Cold packs – these are commercially available or you can make your own with a freezer zip lock bag. Mix 2 parts water and 1 part isopropyl alcohol. Put in freezer where it will become a cold pliable icy bag. Wrap in a small towel before applying to the animal’s body.
  • Flax pillow in the freezer

HEAT or thermal therapy is used starting 3 days after an injury or for a chronic condition like arthritis to help create circulation and relaxation in tissue. Heat helps with muscle spasms, tendinitis, bursitis, scars and contracted tissue, sprains and strains, and chronic pain. It does this by:

  • Increasing the body’s capacity to use oxygen.
  • It further increases membrane diffusion and enzymatic activity using the oxygen and moving metabolic wastes (toxins and trash) out of the traumatized tissue area. Getting the old cellular debris expelled further reduces pain.
  • Opening up blood vessels (vasodilation) also gets more nutrients into the joints and tissue.
  • Relaxation of irritated muscle spindles at the heart of the trigger points will neutralize those zones allowing the muscle to function more optimally.
  • Locally heat decreases pain by decreasing muscle spasm and connective tissue ischemia and lengthens the shortened fascia that had been putting pressure on nerves.
  • Heat causes a reflex pain inhibition by increasing the temperature of sensory nerve cells. The message of heat travels rapidly to the brain, blocking out the pain message and raising the threshold of the sensory nerve endings resulting in long term pain relief.

Applying Heat Therapy:
WHEN – After 72 hours with an acute injury or with a chronic condition
HOW – Up to 20 minutes or divided doing 10 minutes on/ 10 off/10 on. The temperature of the target tissue must elevate at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but DO NOT exceed 12 degrees elevation. Moist heat is preferred.
WHAT –

  • Flax pillows
  • Air activated heat wrap applications can be used.
  • Moist heat towel
  • Take a small towel and saturate with water then ring out most of it. Put it into a plastic bag and place in the microwave for 1 minute, invert the towel exposing the inside and heat for additional time if needed. When finished heating take the towel out of the plastic and wrap it in a dry towel then lay across the affected area.

Obesity and Exercise

Statistic and surveys have shown that people who exercise with their pets will stick to a program more successfully than if they are doing it for themselves alone.
Obesity is the most commonly recognized nutritional problem in dogs. Obesity is defined as a body weight that is greater than 20% above optimal body weight. It is predominantly caused by over-consumption of calories, under-expenditure of energy, and improper nutrient balance (more carbohydrates in relation to the protein). There is a common belief that protein restriction is helpful in older animals, yet no scientific evidence shows that reduced dietary protein is beneficial for the healthy older dog or cat. In fact, reduced protein diets for older pets may have adverse effects by contributing to the muscle loss that occurs with aging.
Risk factors for gaining excessive weight include neutering, mid to older age, inactivity, indoor lifestyle, and genetic predisposition. Obese animals, like people, usually show signs of concurrent disease: lameness, increased drinking and urinating, increased respiratory effort or panting, sleeping more, poor skin and coat, and heart stress with circulatory malfunction.
For a dog that already has difficulty getting around, creating an exercise program can be challenging. The last thing we want is to increase pain. A well planned weight-loss program includes a patient-specific nutritional therapy of reducing typical cereals or grains like wheat, corn, gluten, and rice, balancing protein, fat, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and water. Address needs of the endocrine system to create optimal metabolism helps the body adapt and change.
Initiate a home exercise routine, which for some may be gentle massage, range of motion, frequent but very short walks, and exercises using a ball. Balls are great for older pets and ones that have difficulty holding up their weight or tend to lie down rather than stand. It is a support that allows them some independence as they regain function.
For those with medical considerations or where the weather interferes with exercise, use a facility with physical rehabilitation technology, such as the underwater treadmill. Water walking allows for less weight and body mass on the legs, more flexion of the joints, buoyancy, better body balance, and an almost massage-like effect on the legs. At higher levels it can be a cardiovascular exercise that improves conditioning, muscle tone, and overall well-being.

To successfully manage a weight reduction plan for your dog or cat, you should:

1. Feed a balanced grain-free diet. (For insightful information from a veterinarian regarding the effects of diet read www.dogtorj.com.)
2. Feed alone, away from other animals to reduce the incentive to eat fast. You may choose to put the food in a muffin pan to further slow him/her down.
3. Feed only the snacks or treats outlined in the balanced program. Best to choose from whole food items like dehydrated meat and vegetables.
4. Avoid eating in front of your dog when he/she will not be getting anything.
5. Exercise your dog or cat as prescribed. Start out slow doing several brief exercise periods a day. Gradually increase the duration as he loses the weight and wants to do more. Keep a journal of distance and/or time spent.
6. Weigh in every two weeks and record body weight.
7. Have a weight-loss reassessment done starting monthly then working up to every 3 months as the program successfully progresses. This will include weight, pelvic and thoracic circumference measurements, nutrition adjustments, exercise evaluation, and behavioral improvements.

A better lifestyle and exercise is the best chance for a longer life. Substantial research progress is deepening our understanding of obesity and the aging process, leading veterinarians and pet owners toward better guidelines including nutritional interventions and lifestyle decision that will promote healthy longevity. Considering the fact that the obesity rates of pets has climbed right along with their human counterpart seems the thing to do is get everybody in the house eating better (healthier) and exercising more.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Losing It

Trying to help your pet lose weight can be frustrating. Traditional “weight loss” diets often lack sufficient levels of the vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals that animals specifically need based on individual idiosyncrasies. The bottom line is that what is on the bag is not enough. Changing how a body recognizes and metabolizes its food (nutrients) needs to be addressed for any weight loss program to be healthy. Here are two dogs that have successfully experienced losing weight and enjoying every bite of it!

HOLLY: 8 year old spayed yellow Labrador Retriever who weighs 122 pounds. She is fed a top line dry food for large dogs. Holly has had problems with weight most of her life, afraid of storms, repeated ear infections, and now has problems doing the things she enjoys the most; going for walks and swimming. She has difficulty bending her left elbow, swelling in left hock, 5/10 pain score, and her nutritional assessment indicates problems with liver and endocrine function and carbohydrate metabolism.
Plan: Weight goal 85#, home cooked grain free diet at 1 cup twice a day, 1-2 eggs at bedtime, ½ cup protein and veggie snacks during the day. Vitamins, minerals, and tissue extracts specifically to address her conditions, medications and supplements for her pain and inflammation. Chiropractic adjustments and rechecks monthly with changes to program, daily walks as she can tolerate.
We are not at the goal point yet but Holly continues to improve and had a great summer without pain.

Date Weight Pelvis Thorax Comments
Nov 122 lbs 94 cm 96 cm
Dec 122 lbs 88 cm 96 cm Playing with toys, activity level up, likes food, not hungry
Jan 108 lbs 86 cm 94.5 cm Fell on ice, rear end sore
Mar 104 lbs 83 cm 92 cm Seems stiff
Apr 105 lbs Winter was difficult, add microcurrent therapy for pain
Jun 98.5 lbs 80 cm 88 cm Doing more outside
Aug 98.2 lbs 83 cm 91 cm Swimming every day, no limp in 2 months

BLAZE: A 9 ½ year old, male neutered Border Collie mix was eating a lamb and rice dry food for most of his life. He developed degenerative joint disease in both hips, had problems walking, and was overweight. His owners were hoping to avoid hip surgery. Addressing his pain and arthritis was vital to getting him moving. Initially drugs were used for his pain but with some herbs, vitamin and mineral replacements, and correcting his body metabolism, it wasn’t long before he was able to scale-down. A home-made diet was selected for him. In April Blaze tipped the scale at 91 pounds and by August he was below 75. That is a 16 pound loss in 4 months! Part of his program included underwater treadmill exercise. He enjoys his water therapy, runs and plays, and has no difficulty getting up or playing. His happiness level is way up!

If your pet is overweight here are steps to take:
1) Read the label on the food you are feeding. Does if fit what this animal would eat out in the real world? For help with understanding this read www.DoctorJ.com . Then make a better change.
2) Is pain part of the reason? If so, aside from medications, consider other therapy that can relieve it such as massage, hot/cold packs, liniments, herbs, and pain specific therapeutic modalities.
3) Is there a daily exercise program? If not, get one that fits your pet’s ability and current status.
4) For those with long term obstinate obesity, adjusting endocrine and metabolic trends will most likely be needed to get the pounds dropping.

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

Keeping Cool

You want to exercise your dog but you also know the summer temperature and humidity can be dangerous. How do you keep your pooch cool and yet enjoy the outdoors? Try some of these options!
1. Walk early morning and later in the evening. The morning is the preferred time as the ground has had all night to cool off, therefore cooling the asphalt and cement so it is better on the paws.
2. For longer fur, clip the belly allowing for more ventilation.
3. Wet him down before you hit the road. Take a spray bottle of water to moisten as needed, helping to evaporate the heat. You can use it for his drinking water too.
4. Find outlets where there are water sources like ponds, creeks, and pools. Minimally get a few stops where he can at least get his feet wet to help in cooling. Or make your own canine water park and have some fun playing in the water of your own back yard!
5. Neck coolie wraps are a lightweight, easy to apply, and an underutilized cooling method. Small plastic cooling gels covered with fabric that can be tied around the neck and sit over the carotid artery and jugular vein. As the blood in these vessels passes by the cooling wrap, the temperature of the internal arterial and venous blood is lowered. Keep these in your freezer and apply before you take your dog for a walk or outdoor play time in the summer.
6. Similar to the neck coolie is a body vest of similar design. This will be heavier but for a capable individual this will add additional body cooling on hot days.
7. If exercising outside is just not possible consider the underwater treadmill. It’s like you mall-walking; indoors, climate-controlled, gets the circulation going yet avoiding the heat and humidity. Another advantage for this exercise is that the overweight or older pet can walk easier since they weigh less in the water.
Exercise can be fun for your pooch, and good for your health as well. Take plenty of water for both of you. If it will be a hotter day consider Pedialyte or Gator-aid type products to keep electrolytes in circulation. And by the way, those neck coolies work for you too!

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Nothing is better than a good night’s sleep. Right? Well, for some pets that means day and night. Aside from looking out the window longingly, eating if they can find something, or grooming themselves, what do they do while you are at work? Sleep. Depending on who you are quality of sleep can be even more important than quantity of sleep. Smaller animals, which often have higher rates of brain metabolism, tend to require more sleep, while larger animals generally get less sleep. Herbivores and land-grazing animals use so much time eating they don’t have much time left for sleep.
A lot of research is spent studying sleep patterns in animals. “The only way to understand human sleep is to study animals,” says Jerome Siegel, PhD, professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Center for Sleep Research. “If we could better understand animal sleep, we could better understand the core aspects of sleep.”
Rapid eye movement (REM) and the brain wave pattern during REM sleep are similar in animals and humans. REM is the sleep state that is associated with dreams. Both humans and all other mammals display the same level of brain activity and increased heart rate variability during REM sleep. You have probably seen your dogs bark or twitch their legs while sleeping. That is REM sleep.
Then there’s the biological clock. Much of the sleep pattern – feeling sleepy at night and awake during the day – is regulated by light and darkness. Light – strong light, like bright outdoor light (which is brighter than indoor light even on cloudy days) – is the most powerful regulator of a body’s biological clock. The biological clock influences when one feels sleepy and when one feels alert. As a result, finding the balance of light and darkness exposure is important.

FACTORS THAT EFFECT QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF SLEEP:

  • Light – For diurnal creatures light during the day sets the internal clock for the night’s rest and repair. Make sure to expose yourself and your dog to enough bright light during the day. Find time for sunlight, take the dog for a walk or ride the horse. Infrared sauna is good for this too. Then before bedtime start dimming the lights in the house so that by bedtime all is dark. Cats are somewhat nocturnal so who knows what they will decide to do!
  • Noise – Animals are even more tuned in to changes in sounds around them than humans are. Avoid a lot of commotion when it’s sleep time.
  • Temperature – Better to be a little cooler than too hot. The internal thermostat lowers as sleep ensues so a bit cooler environment will accommodate that natural effect.
  • Age – Along with the physical changes that occur as everyone gets older, changes to sleep patterns are a part of the aging process. The older one gets the harder it can be to fall asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. However, sleep needs remain constant throughout one’s life. Medical problems and physical illnesses tend to increase with age and the effects of medication on the body can further aggravate sleep disorders. Arthritis can make it difficult to get comfortable and then stay asleep. Cognitive dysfunction in dogs typifies sleep disorders in the elderly.
  • Surface – Nobody likes to be cramped. It is clear that the sleep surface plays a role in getting a good night’s sleep. The bed needs to provide good support. Research on patients with back pain found a supple comforting mattress may lead to better sleep. If your dog has allergies you may also wish to purchase hypo-allergenic covers designed to protect from possible allergic triggers such as the dust mite.

I have found a revolutionary new dog (and cat) mattress based on superior science. The Underdog Comfort Rest System is the only brand of dog mattress that uses Comfort Float Technology™ to provide medically-proven, therapeutic benefits. Based on 35 years of science applied to humans restricted to wheel chairs and bedridden, this system uses a network of soft, flexible air cells interconnected by small channels that allow air to flow from one cell to another at a controlled rate. Infrared thermography has proven that the pressure points are protected when a body lies on this type of cushion or bed. The liner and cover are hypoallergenic, durable, and easy to clean. You can find more information at www.moxiusa.com/forpets.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 67% of respondents reported that their bed partner snores. It didn’t say if that partner was an English Bull Dog or a Pug. Sweet dreams!

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.

FitPAWS® “Power to the Dog, Fun Dog Fitness”

If you are looking to find fun ways to build a stronger bond between you and your dog, then learning the FitPAWS® way could be just the ticket! FitPAWS® is a successful conditioning program designed by veterinarians, physical therapists, and trainers that relies upon in-depth communication between the Master Trainer™, the dog handler, and of course the dog.

Canine total health focuses on mental stimulation, balance, flexibility, strength, and cardio fitness. Each plays a varying role throughout the many stages of the fitness program. Not only will the conditioning exercises help the physical components of dogs, they also bring about behavior modification, helping dogs live a healthier, longer life.

FitPAWS has developed canine conditioning, fitness and performance tools and techniques for dogs of all abilities, life stages, and jobs. Their program model is based upon scientific research from canine and other animal species including horses, as well as quadruped robotic research. They utilize new technology and uniquely designed equipment to accelerate the training goal with novel approaches, while increasing the fun index. Some of the tools include paw pods, balancing disc, K9FITbone™, wobble board, donuts, peanuts, rocker boards, agility cones and hurdles.

Each tool will be introduced at just the right time for the dog’s safe and successful progression. A goal-oriented exercise program with frequent fine-tuned assessments by a Master Trainer ensure deeper development and improved outcomes for participating dogs and their handlers. The Canine FitPAWS model works to establish a connection between all parties, to identify body performance, and then train toward a goal.

Exercise alone has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic disease in humans and dogs. Overall muscle function improves with daily exercise. If there is an injury, even with devastating issues, often these dogs will return to high quality function that defies the odds. Dogs with musculoskeletal imbalances and weaknesses tend to have higher rates of injury. A dog that has a good base of fitness developed over several years will be able to move on to tougher challenges with fewer injuries compared to a less fit dog of similar age, mental focus and body shape without a fitness base.

We realize that all dogs do not start at the same point or have the same capabilities. Whether your dog is a puppy or a senior, a performance or working dog, a family pet, or one with special conditions (like obesity), our program concepts can be applied across all life stages. Keeping our dogs fit throughout their life will ultimately reduce injuries, increase self-confidence and improve our dog’s ability to enjoy a full and high functioning life.

Some of the benefits of the training activities include:

  • Improved reaction and control
  • Increased trunk and core strength
  • Stabilization of weak areas
  • Improved balance and proprioception (awareness of the body’s position in space)
  • Increased range of motion in joints & elongation of the muscles
  • Improved sensory & body awareness
  • Preventing sports-related injuries

Contact the FitPAWS® Master Trainer™ Canine Fitness Coaches at Pet Rehab & Pain Clinic today to start having private lesson fun with your dog. “Git Fit – Play Fit – Stay Fit!”
636-549-9100

© Integrative Veterinary Education, Inc.