Have you ever tried to workout at the gym or gone for a run and suddenly felt yourself becoming injured? Maybe you have felt your muscles becoming strained or hurt and realised you didn’t properly prepare before beginning any strenuous activity. This is usually because you didn’t warm up properly. It is something that many of us do, as we engage in exercise and forget about the importance of stretching or warming up before we start. This is a common accident by people, but have you ever thought about how this is also very common for dogs?
Warming up before dogs exercise is as crucially important for pooches as it is for humans, and it something that nearly all dog owners tend to forget. Muscle strains, hip dysplasia, back injuries and pulling cruciate ligaments are common occurrences for dogs whose owners forget to warm them up before they head to the dog park and have a play with a ball.
Dogs who have not warmed up or may have lost muscle condition from being indoors for too long can find themselves suddenly back in the park. They are often jumping, leaping and twisting their bodies to play without preparing their little bodies and this can have a huge impact on the health of their ligaments and muscles.
Not only does this affect your dog’s health, it can also significantly affect your wallet! Veterinary bills are not cheap. Here is how to warm up your dog before you take them to the park to avoid any injury and pain on your beloved pup.
Begin by increasing their heart rate
Warming up your dog involves increasing their respiration and heart rate, which increases the oxygen and blood flowing to their muscles. When their muscles are warmed up, they lengthen and soften and become easier to bend and flex. If dogs are cooped up inside for too long, their muscles can become contracted. Assisting in the comfort of their muscles is crucial.
Take them for a slow walk
Firstly, take them for a stroll. Walking directly to the dog park is going to be ideal, but if you take your dog in your car, don’t forget to walk them around for a bit before you get them too excited and play fetch. Get your pooch to turn around in circles in different directions. This will stretch and warm-up different areas of their muscles which will decrease the possibility of straining them.
Help stretch their legs
Playing tug with a rope is the perfect way to help them stretch their legs. By playing bow or getting your dog to sit and lie down, you can help them stretch their spine, hip and shoulders.
Take a treat and get your dog to weave in and around an object or your legs. The treat can be used to lure your dog to move in any direction you see fit, which helps to build flexibility.
Cool them down
Warming up is very important but cooling off is just as much! While you and your doggy might be tired after exercising at the park, cooling down is key to avoiding injury. Muscular cool down and contraction begins the moment that your dog stops moving. This can be done simply walking your dog for a few moments and you can identify they are ready once their panting slows and they become a bit more relaxed.
This process only takes a few minutes before and after their little workout but will be very worth your time. It will ensure your dog is comfortable throughout the park play and when they rest once you take them home.
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