Make Sure Your Dog Stretches Regularly

Responsible dog owners try and walk their animals even when the weather turns nasty. However, to maximise your pet's health, make sure you get it to stretch occasionally as well.

Picture by danielgreene

Despite a lifelong association with dogs, I'd never consciously thought of adding stretching to the canine exercise routine. However, Dogs NSW argues that it's important, especially during winter when sometimes the weather defeats broader exercise plans. Here's their recommendations, direct from the press release:

A stretching routine does not have to be complicated. Starting with walking and trotting is a good idea. Then, while supporting your dog’s tummy, try stretching out each foreleg forwards and holding it for 10 to 30 seconds. Similarly, it is a good idea to lift the rear of the dog, and stretch out each of the back legs. Some dogs prefer to lie on their sides and relax while having their legs and neck stretched. These simple stretches can help improve the blood circulation, and improve your dog’s health. If your dog indicates any discomfort, by resisting your actions, it is important to check with your veterinarian.

Many of the larger hounds I know stretch themselves routinely without requiring human intervention, which might explain my ignorance on this point. Nonetheless, it's something to bear in mind for winter, along with remembering that letting your dog sleep on your bed isn't a health risk. For more canine tricks, try hacking your dog's mind using Law & Order.


    i find that when i scratch my dogs rear legs simultaneously, he responds by stretching them out. its a good way for him to get some pleasure while encouraging the stretch

    I am an Animal Chiropractor and this advice is great... if you do it at the park people seem to think your dog is hurt and scoff when you tell them what you are really doing...they are of course thick.

    One BIG problem with going from back yard to walk to run is exactly that during the day the dog does not get to run at full stretch. It is here that injuries usually occur and if the dog goes from middle range of motion to end range when they take off once you get to the park (even worse if you drive there)then that is when the little micro tears start. going from back yard to on leash/controlled walk then stretch then run is really looking after you dog. Anything else is not.

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