Are you feeling a bit sore from jumping into the gardening season? Does all that digging, rolling around, and trotting things back and forth make you feel a little stiff by the end of the day?
What you need is a nice stretch to take the kinks out of those shoulders, so look up, gaze deeply into your human’s eyes, and whimper. Hold a paw up for sympathy. Beg if you have to, but get your person to buy – and use – “The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog – A Physical Therapy Approach,” by Sasha Foster and Ashley Foster (Dogwise Publishing, $24.95).
Why am I writing about this in a gardening blog? Because our pooches experience the garden with a full-contact joy we can only watch in awe: either they’re face first in the soil with paws scrabbling and dirt flying; or they’re on the grass, rolling until every inch of fur is scratched and feeling great. Honestly, I wish I could wallow so well.
Their happiness at having a companion outside with them is obvious – one look at their smiling faces, curious nose-bumps as we plant, or eagerness to help dig tells it all. If you have a four-footed friend who loves the garden, take care of them by learning how to keep them healthy.
Active dogs need to take care of their body as much as humans do, making a good stretch routine part of a program for keeping dogs in shape. Author Sasha Foster, a physical therapist, and Ashley Foster, a certified Pet Dog Trainer, combine their expertise in a tell-all book for those who want to help their pets be comfortable.
“A digging dog will need to stretch his pectoralis and caudal shoulder muscles,” says Sasha, because dogs can overdo their fun in the garden as easily as humans. “And naturally a front paw stretch will be needed (and a paw-dicure if going out that evening),” she joked.
From their press release:
“Research on human athletes is changing what we know about stretching. For example, it is now recognized that aggressive stretching should only take place after muscles are warmed up and shortened from exertion. Authors Sasha and Ashley Foster have applied this latest research to dogs—many of whom compete in vigorous canine sporting events—so that you can learn how to safely and effectively stretch your dog to prevent injuries, maintain joint integrity, and improve you dog’s fitness whether he is an elite canine athlete or a lap dog.
Over 300 photos and diagrams demonstrate how to safely and effectively stretch each major muscle group. Stretching routines are presented for both large and small dogs, older dogs, and those that are involved in a variety of dog sports.”
See a demo on their technique, then check out this book. Read until you’ve learned to help your buddy. Good human.