How can I keep my dog’s spine healthy? A Complete Guide

The health of your dog’s spine

Now that we understand basic dog spine anatomy and what can happen when a dog’s joints deteriorate, let’s take a look at how to keep your dog’s spine healthy.

How can I keep my dog’s spine healthy?

If you have a small dog, chances are you picking him up quite often. However, how you pick him up could be damaging his back if you aren’t careful. The correct way to life him is to use two hands, placing one under his ribs and the other under his back legs as this creates the greatest stability for his back.

Whether or not canine back problems can be completely cured depends on what is causing his discomfort. In the case of things like subluxations or trauma to the back, there is every chance that some chiropractic care can help reduce the level of pain experienced and restore your dog to full health. However, in more complex cases it may be necessary to explore more comprehensive treatment options, such as medication or surgery, which may be necessary to completely heal a herniated disc or to remove a tumor. In some rare cases, a cancerous tumor may be found on the vertebrae, nerve roots, or soft tissue found around the spine which puts pressure on the spinal cord.

While it is not possible to protect your pet from all canine back problems, there are certainly some things that you can do to lower the risk of some of them developing.

Although dogs tend to have less pressure on their spine than humans do, as they do not bend and twist quite like we do, nor do they walk upright, this does not make them immune from back problems. There are a variety of back-related issues that your furbaby may experience including:

This is a progressive condition that is caused by long-term degeneration of joint cartilage in the back.

To know more about how to take care of your furry companion, contact Best Pets Veterinary Hospital today.

There can be many different things that are causing your canine companion to experience back pain. Determining the reason for the discomfort is essential for successful treatment, and only a professional veterinarian can make an accurate diagnosis. Some causes of back pain in dogs include:

Many owners don’t realize that playing tug-of-war with your furry friend can actually place a great deal of strain on his back. Your dog will not only pull the toy towards him, but he will also excitedly twist and turn while leaping about, which could cause him to injure his back. Instead, opt for fetching games which put much less stress on his spine.

Back pain can present itself in a variety of different ways and sometimes the symptoms may not seem to obviously relate to your dog’s back. Some of the most common signs of a back problem in dogs include:

If you aren’t sure how much your canine pal should be eating, consult with your vet who will be able to make an accurate recommendation based on his breed and age.

Back Problems in Dogs: How to Treat At Home

We are told that we need to strengthen our core to help support the spine. Many people focus on their abdominals and forget about the small group of postural muscles that are KEY in supporting and stabilizing the spine. While this is important for us, it is also important for our 4-legged friends. When an animal is injured or weak, they will often stand, sit, or lie in an abnormal position. Pet owners who are in-tune with their pet will notice this right away. In addition to chiropractic adjustments and/or massage, we need to stretch some muscles and or contract others to allow the body to return to a normal strength and posture. For the purpose of keeping this article short, we’ll focus on the exercises that strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the spine.

Spinal muscles help maintain spinal position as well as control motion. Spinal muscles are the first to fatigue during sprinting in the canine. Endurance exercises to aid strengthening the postural muscles include: uphill running/trotting, incline stair work, and swimming against resistance. Crawling, digging (in a designated sandbox), sit up and beg, and ball/peanut exercises may take some effort to teach your pup, but are worth it as they stimulate both Type I (function for endurance) and Type II (function for speed and power) fibers. These exercises are typically best for the canine athlete or younger dog. Older or weaker dogs may do better with other exercises, such as Bird-dog, Hemi-stands, dance or sit to stand on a hill. I will highlight a few of these below.