Post-Exercise Accupressure for Active Dogs
Canine athletes benefit from pre- and post-exercise acupressure.
Drake is an amazing agility dog. He darts onto the field, running smoothly and efficiently through the entire course with grace and confidence. His timing, movements, and keen attention are impressive. Not a moment’s hesitation taking the triple bar in stride, dashing up and down the A-frame, through the chute, on to the pause table, then off again at top speed to the broad jump, and to weave the poles – the consummate dog athlete!
But like many athletes on the day after competition or a long training session, Drake’s shoulders and hips are obviously sore. He gets up from a nap and seems stiff at first, and then stretches his limbs cautiously. At six years old, he is desperately in need of consistent acupressure treatments.
When Drake runs a course, he gets so excited that endorphins – natural pain-reducers – flow through his veins, and he barely feels anything except his utter joy in what he was born to do. He’s not unique in this respect: Any dog who enthusiastically participates in high-energy games of fetch, agility, strenuous hiking, Frisbee, and all the other canine games and sports is subject to a certain amount of physical wear and tear. Even light exercise can cause tendons to become irritated and inflamed, and muscles stressed and sore. As the dog ages, the likelihood of joints becoming arthritic is very high.
These are the types of conditions we see in dogs leading active lifestyles; they can be much worse, of course, in dogs who have been permitted to take these activities to an extreme.
Fortunately, there is a simple, hands-on method that can be used on any dog to help a dog repair the stresses caused by exercise. Acupressure can help your dog be more comfortable and perform at his best. Over hundreds of years, acupressure has proven to help resolve many of the painful conditions we see in athletes because it can:
• Strengthen muscles, tendons, joints, and bones
• Enhance mental clarity and calm required for focus
• Release natural cortisone to reduce swelling and inflammation
• Increase lubrication of the joints for better movement
• Release endorphins to increase energy and relieve pain
• Resolve injuries more quickly by increasing blood supply
• Balance energy to optimize the body’s ability to perform
If your dog shows signs of acute pain or distress, we encourage you to take him to your holistic veterinarian. Acupressure is an excellent resource and complement to your dog’s health care since you can perform treatments yourself, but it is not a substitute for veterinary care.
Your dog will enjoy playing, running, jumping, weaving through poles – whatever your sport – much more if you help take good care of his body. Acupressure is safe, always available, drug-free, and dogs love the touch of their special people.
-by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis
Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis are the authors of "The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure;" "Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure," and "Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual." They also teach workshops on animal acupressure. See "Resources" for contact information.