Importance of Knowing your Dog: Health andFitness


As many people know I have 3 of my own dogs of varying ages. On top of their daily routine of meals, naps and enrichment, their walks and their training there’s an area I stay as focused on as I possibly can.

The area of my focus is conditioning, health and overall checking on how my dogs are doing physically. I can easily see how their appetite is from meal times, their regularity from time out in the garden and levels of stimulation from the training time we share.

This additional area of focus regarding condition is something that may sound obvious but isn’t always easy to maintain or even start!

Knowing your dog means knowing what their general body type is, how do they usually walk, stand or sit, how do they feel as you stroke them or groom them, what are their gums like usually. This information gathering requires a short amount of time checking your dog over but could highlight any changes for the future.

Get your dog used to be handled as part of praise and play which then allows you to determine what your dogs back and shoulders feel like, the abdomen elasticity, how each leg moves to give paw, any typical lumps and bumps that are part of your dogs charm or areas of tenderness etc. Knowing all of this type of information will help flag up something unusual and give you the chance to help your dog as well as potentially preventing a health issue or catching it very early on.

If your dog appeared stressed would you know what colour their gums usually are to compare? How does your dog move about when they first wake up – stretches first or straight up into walking? Do you know what your dogs belly, ribs, back and chest usually feel like to spot any discomfort, hot spots or a new bump?

This week Cassie had some unusual moments, all first thing in the morning and varying each day, which is highly unusual for her indeed. One day we had a tighter, more solid feeling belly, another day her back legs seemed greatly weakened for an hour or so. Cassie also took longer to settle back down after her garden time for a couple of mornings. As I handle Cassie every day it prepared me to notice her abdomen felt different but this hadnt moved to the chest. I know how Cassie walks, turns and stands still so when her back legs showed some weakness and Cassie struggled to stand up momentarily I could see what changes were taking place and therefore what to do to help including massage, use of herbal supplements and a check up today at the vets!

Im pleased to say all three dogs have an excellent overall health and very healthy hearts too! Plus using supplements and herbal items I was able to boost her immune system, reduce the apparent bloat  in her belly and give her additional strength. My training in the canine conditioning areas meant I could act on those weaker back legs and 6 days later with very gradual building up of exercises she is back to mooching, jumping back in the back door, asking to do more conditioning exercises with me and looking stronger and settling quicker when she goes back to bed 🙂

A couple of years ago I noticed Taylor having very occasional twinges in his back. So occasional in fact he could go several months between twinges!! Knowing Taylor doesn’t usually do this I took him to my vets to confirm some discomfort and from here was able to be referred for laser treatment. Taylor still goes 1-2 times a month and his back is so much improved you rarely see any twinging, he is faster on the agility dog walk, jumping better, more playful, enjoying scrapping more and more relaxed around dog types that used to worry him – turns out the discomfort caused him to be anxious with a few breeds. It’s wonderful to know we could help take away some pain that he would have been experiencing otherwise and being able to identify what was happening and how he could be helped with various treatments.

Keeping track also of your dogs weight every month or so helps see not only if they are gaining weight or loosing it but also if the weight loss or gain has happened very suddenly, or isn’t in keeping with their meals. Measuring your dogs body if they are working on fitness or conditioning helps to see if they are in fact building muscle but also would highlight any new muscle loss which again could potentially highly something your vet could help with.

So take some time with your dog or dogs and check them over to get to know them thoroughly and this can potentially help you to help your dog in the future in a number of ways. Not just for negative occurances but also to highlight positive adjustments too!!

Go fuss your dogs and give them a quick fuss for me!!!

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