7 Canine Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Do With Your Dog

by | Oct 28, 2021 | Dog Health

Exercising is essential in making sure that your dog is fit and healthy. If your pet has recently suffered from an injury or just came out of surgery, physical therapy exercises can help your pet recover faster.

In this blog, you’ll learn about different physical therapy exercises for dogs and their various benefits.

Why are Dog Physical Therapy Exercises Important?

Recent injuries and surgical procedures can drastically weaken your dog. Old age and the weight or breed of your dog can also begin the onset of arthritis or lameness. These conditions prevent your pet from having the healthy and active lifestyle that it was used to. Dog physical therapy is one way you can help alleviate the pain of your pet and help them recover and regain their normal mobility and quality of life.

Does Physical Therapy Work for Dogs?

Physical therapy or rehabilitation for dogs adopts the same techniques that are used for humans. In many cases, animals benefit from this treatment as humans do.

For proper physical therapy, make sure to go and consult your vet or any certified animal physical therapist in your area. They will first review your canine’s current condition and create a treatment or regimen that will address your pet’s specific needs for a speedy recovery. 

Some of these therapy treatments can be done at the rehab center or in the clinic. But most likely, you will also be instructed on some physical exercises you and your dog can do together at home. Make sure that you follow through as it is vital to your pet’s improvement and recovery process. 

Dog Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Do At Home

Here are some physical therapy exercises you can try to do at home. But before going through these simple rehabilitation activities, make sure that your dog is not experiencing any pain or is uncomfortable at any point of the routine. With that being said, here are seven physical therapy exercises that you can do with your dog at home:

Sit & Stand

For this exercise, make sure that your dog is calm and relaxed. Make them sit and stand for a total of 10 times. You can give them treats after every set for encouragement. Do this exercise with them in the morning and at night to accustom their body to the movement.

Stand and Stay

The stand and stay is a variation of the previous exercise above and focuses on strengthening their leg muscles. To do this, have your dog in a sitting position. Then, make your dog stand and stay for as long as it can. This activity aims to increase the length of time that your canine can stand on its own feet.  

Pinch your dog’s tail

Pinching your dog’s tail is an exercise that trains their awareness and reflexes. To do this, if your dog can walk, gently pinch the tip of your tail as he walks slightly in front of you. Your pet should turn around and look behind on reaction. 

Leash Walk

A simple walk on a leash is also an excellent way of helping your dog recover from its injuries. You can use a chest harness and guide and aid their balance as you walk. This way, you’re engaging all of their four legs so they can regain their strength and mobility.

You must keep your pet close to you during these types of walks. Start at a slow pace and gradually quicken the walks over time. Make sure not to overwork your dog and give it enough rest breaks in between so its condition won’t worsen. 

Dance With Your Dog

Another fun way to exercise with your dog is by dancing with him. If your dog is in a sitting position, ask your canine to stand and bring his front set of legs up. At this step, you should be holding him in an upright position. Gently sway your dog from side to side to see how it would react. Over time, your pet should also be able to move front and back with ease.


Water exercises can significantly benefit your dog. If you have a pool or a tub large enough to fit your dog, you can let your dog swim and enjoy some well-deserved playtime. Swimming is a low-impact exercise that’s perfect for rebuilding muscle mass, joint strength, and stamina.

However, not all dogs are talented swimmers. Make sure you use a floater jacket just in case they do get tired or suddenly need help. Water exercises can include simple paddling and doing rounds around the pool. You can throw floating toys and play a game of fetch while in the pool to make it a more fun experience for you and your dog.

Canine Motion Exercises

Specialized motion exercises are great alternatives for dogs who are immobile and can’t do the activities mentioned above. These types of exercises can be done by having your dog lay down on its side. Gently hold its leg and motion it outwards and then back to stretch the leg back and forth. This simulates movement to keep the recovering limbs of your dog healthy and flexible even if they still cannot move properly.

If your dog is comfortable enough, you can also guide their legs in making a rotating pattern. Make sure that you don’t pull against its range of motion.

You can then follow up with a light massage to relax the muscles and promote proper blood circulation. Gently rub the muscle groups around the affected area instead of the injured joint or muscle. You can then work your way down your dog’s neck and lower legs for a full massage. 

Learn more about how to manage different canine injuries and more when you explore the TLPOInfo blog today.


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