Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Almost WW: Will Exercise for Food!

My friends from South Suburban Chihuahua and I met at K9 Tailshakers for a learn and play meetup. Dr. Lisa Woodside, from Midwest Animal Hospital was our special guest speaker.  Dr. Woodside presented on Chihuahua chiropractic and joint care.  She explained the importance of keeping nails short and trimmed often to ensure less stress on the nails as long nails changes a dog's gait and make it feel as though it is going on an incline. Long nails also work to stress the back and joints thus causing a 'hunched' look in a chihuahua injuring the back area (Dr. Woodside used more medically specific terms, but this is the way I understood it).  She also explained that there are certain exercises dogs can do to keep the joints  in check and balanced to prevent injury.  

She asked me to help demonstrate one of the exercises using a rubber disc with nubs (found at most department stores or online) that is often used for physical therapy.  My job was to get on the disk to promote balance and exercise and strengthen my chihuahua muscles.  I started by being asked to 'touch' the disc with my front paws only by walking on it for a treat then step back.  So paws on, paws off, paws on, paws off.  I then practiced putting my entire body on it which forced me to try and balance on it much like the photo below.   On and off and stretching up and down to take treats while on it.  This forces my body to try and stay balanced during treat reaches.  I am told I did a great job (never mind that treats were involved).  
I'll do anything for treats, even exercise.
Dr. Woodside demonstrates how balancing on this nubby disk will help my joints 
(while I do a little begging of my own!).  
Dr. Woodside stressed that these exercises should not last more than 10 minutes or so at a time or per day.  We don't want to stress our joints, we want to strengthen them.  We learned a lot from Dr. Woodside and we appreciated her time teaching us new skills. I especially appreciated her freeze dried liver/chicken treats she gave me (even though they were teeny tiny pinches of treats) while using me to demonstrate the exercises.

*Please note that these exercises were done on a table for demonstration only - please only do them on the floor when practicing with your pet*