Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are so important prior to surgery and including after surgery. Stretching your dog helps with a number of conditions including the following:

  • improving motion in the joints prior to surgery and after surgery
  • increasing the flexibility
  • preventing adhesions between soft tissues and bones
  • improving muscle and other soft tissue extensibility which prevents further injury to joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments

Arthritis in dogs is controlled by stretching the dog, walking the dog or with dog hydrotherapy. Proper stretching techniques need to be applied to prevent injuring  joints or soft tissues. It is also neccessary for the dog to be completely relaxed and comfortable and to be gentle on them without creating pain. In chapter two of my ebook, “The Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs,” I go into great length on what types of stretches are recommended and how to perform them.Download the Ultimate Rehabilitation & Physiotherapy Guide for Dogs

For dogs who have had a cranial cruciate ligament rupture (ACL) and required surgery, it is imperative that they are stretched within the first two weeks. Dogs who do not receive stretching exercises, both passive and active, will have a reduced stifle extension. With some dogs this loss of motion appeared to be permanent.


Do you stretch your dog? Share your comments below!

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2 Responses to Stretching Exercises

  • Mike says:

    How do I know if stretching my dog is going to help them or cause more pain? I worry about his knees hurting when I stretch him.

  • helga says:

    Hi Mike, a dog benefits greatly from daily stretching exercises. If you exercise a dog they should be warmed up first with gentle stretching beforehand to prevent injuries just like in humans. If your dog has had surgery you should check with your treating veterinarian first before performing any such exercises. Most dogs will need gentle stretching or passive range of motion exercises to keep them flexible and the muscles from binding down. Never push a dog’s range of motion beyond its limits where it causes pain. Seek the advice of your vet with your particular situation. Your dog will let you know if it is in pain.

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