There are so many positive to having a dog as part of the family.
It (should) get you out walking more which has excellent physical and mental health benefits.
There are also studies that point to the benefits of decreased blood pressure when petting a dog.
Dogs can also present some issues and related injury potential. Read up on our thoughts from a Physiotherapist and Massage Therapist perspective.
The Pulling Dog
It’s important in the early stages with your dog to be consistent with leash manners. As Physiotherapists we see many shoulder issues that have a pulling dog as a contributor. This may be the dog pulling constantly, or it can be one big pull to chase / run.
A strong dog can even pull a person off their feet if they’re not expecting it.
Invest and work with a trainer to have the dog close and awl with slack on the leash. Many people have luck with an umbilical leash that connects around the waist.
For larger dogs with a longer face / nose, using a body or face harness / gentle leader may be your best option.
It may be awhile of consistent training before you can power walk with your dog as you had envisioned. Training the dog well and using proper equipment will make all the difference.
The Toy Obstacle Course
Chew toys, bones, stuffs now litter your home. Picture a hard chew toy that blends into your carpet, now picture stepping on it and falling. There are toy related twisted ankles, wrist injuries, whiplash, and even trips and slips on the stairs.
Our Oakville Chiropodists, RMTs and Physio’s suggest having a dog toy box or area, and limiting what is out. Make it a habit at the end of the day to do a quick clean up to move things out of the way.
Sleep Sleep Sleep
There is some debate on whether sleeping with your dog is beneficial, or “good” for you. On the plus side, it can help ease anxiety and make you feel safe. On the negative side, many caution against your dog sleeping in the same bed. It can be disruptive to sleep. People with dogs in the bed generally are woken up more often.
As Physio’s and Massage Therapists, we know that sleep is important to regeneration and tissue healing. Have the best of both worlds and make a cozy bed for your dog on the floor in your bedroom.
The Knee Takeout Sharpshooter
You’re standing chatting at the off leash park and your dog is playing happily. OR you’re playing fetch in the yard and your dog cuddly gets the zombies….the dog clips your knee from the outside or front and it bends in a way that it shouldn’t. This is the cause of knee sprains. These are the types of contact knee injuries we see our soccer player and football player patients get. The MCL and ACL are commonly injured in this way.
Keep your attention on your dog (and other dogs around you). If your dog gets the zoomies and is getting close, keep your knees bent. Make your way to the end of the yard rather than the centre. This gives them more space in the open area.
If you are unsteady on your feet or slow to react, try playing fetch from a seated position. You can continue this and work on your balance, lower body strength and speed in a more controlled way!
Stairs pose a different risk with big dogs and small dogs. Small dogs risk being underfoot. We may not see them, and when we go to step down with laundry or our attention is elsewhere and we step on them. This may cause tripping or injury to the dog also.
Do a stair check first. You can always make sure your dog stays behind you as you decend.
Large dogs can get excited and want to race you down the stairs. This can cause trips and falls. Injuries we have seen people have through falling down stairs include concussions, whiplash, contusions, rotator cuff injuries, and broken bones. We suggest sending them first or making them wait. It’s a great opportunity to practice skills like “wait”, “heel”, and “stay”
The Below the Belt
This requires no explanation. The overly excited larger dog makes a beeline and pounces…. The contact somehow ends up below the belt. Larger dogs and even smaller dogs can knock people over this way.
Ad even if your dog is tiny, let’s face it, jumping on people and guests is not a desired trait.
This is a good habit to break as soon as it happens. Again, we suggest seeing a trainer for tips. But like anything, consistency is key.
Like anything prevention is helpful but things happen. If you have a dog related injury, or any injury, our Oakville Physio’s, RMTs, and Foot Specialists are here to help.
Contact us at our North Oakville clinic to book or for more information.