Dog Foods and Dog Food Allergies…

I gotta tell ‘ya… Every day, I grow more and more impressed with the quality and depth of knowledge of our members posting on our discussion forum. It’s by far the most informative discussion forum I’ve been involved with. We’ve got a really great team of professionals and enthusiasts contributing right now, and I’ve been very pleased with the high level of contributions.

Here’s an example from one of our members, Ginny O’Shea, who advises about dog food and allergies: Ginny writes: “I feed my dogs the raw food diet. There is a butcher in my area on Long Island that grinds the meat with the bone, (very important), into two pound packages. He grinds chicken, duck, turkey, beef, and lamb. It costs no more than good canned food.” “You can get the book “See Spot Live Longer” from the library, and read about the micotixins and fungi that exist in commercial dry food that contribute to a miriad of health issues, and ultimately shorten your dog’s life.

My dogs do great on the raw food diet. They need much less medication for fleas, ticks, which thrive on a unhealthy host.” “I just add fish oil and ground veggies to the meal, and I know they are getting the nutrition they need to fight skin conditions, tumors, cancer, authritis, and just generally avoid trips to the vet.

I highly recommend reading that book, I can’t possibly go into all the details here. It’s quite an eye opener exposing the real truth about commercial dog food.” “I forgot to mention that when the dogs eat raw food, the enzymes keep their teeth clean, so you can forget about having to brush their teeth, or worry about doggy breath as well and any gas problems that canned and dry food cause. It’s actually the gluten, grain in the dog food that causes the tarter build up on the dogs teeth.

My dogs are Staffordshire Terrier, two years old, and an American Bulldog, one and a half. They have been fed raw food since I got them.” “The Staffordshire Terrier was a year old when I got him, and the American Bulldog was five months when I rescued her. They are doing fantastic on the diet. My sister’s dog was loaded with benign tumors, and allergy problems. Constant itching. She switched to the raw diet, and almost all of the dogs tumors faded. My dogs are each around 60 pounds.” “My food comes in two pound packages. I split a package and give each dog half. They get fed in the morning, and at night. So I go through two packages a day. I also grind up in the food processor spinach, celery, kale,brocolli, sweet potatoe, carrots, garlic (for a natural flea repellent), and parlsey. You must grind the veggies very small, or cook them slightly for the dogs to be able to digest and absorb the vitamins. They can’t break down the thick walls of the veggies like we can.” “So make sure their almost mush.

This sounds like a lot of work, but I only do it once a week and store it in the fridge. I also add fish oil to each meal. One to two tablespoons of veggies each meal is what I add. Also, you don’t really need glucousamine with a raw diet because the cartilage and bone is ground in with it. A natural source. If you can’t add veggies, you can supplement with a pet one-a-day. The stuff I buy costs $1.10 lb. You can add some raw to the kibble, at least the dog will benefit from the raw food and still enjoy the kibble.”

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Why Older Dogs Get Fat

Obesity is a very big problem in our society, and this problem goes for dogs as well. All dogs are susceptible to gaining weight as they become less active in old age. But some breeds have been reported to be more likely to become obese than others as they watch the birthdays fly by. West Highland white terriers, beagles, cocker spaniels, collies. cairn terriers, and retrievers are breeds that are noted for obesity in old age.

Older dogs are about twice as likely to be overweight as younger dogs, probably because of genetic factors as well as people feeding them high-calorie treats from the table. Also, smaller dogs can run around the house for exercise, but larger dogs need to be taken out. Because most dogs depend on people to take them out, it doesn’t always get done.

As adult dogs become elderly, a number of factors limit their exercise – including their physical and physiological condition (and perhaps that of their owners as well, if the owners are also slowing down a bit). So, lack of exercise coupled with the same amount of treats as they had when they were younger can lead to obese pets. Female dogs are more likely to be obese than male dogs and cats, and spayed animals are more likely to be obese than reproductively intact ones.

Here’s an interesting statistic: Pet owners who are 40 years old and older are more than twice as likely to have obese dogs as younger owners are. Not only are the owners getting older and probably less fit, but so are their pets! Further, about one-third of owners of obese dogs do not consider their dogs to be overweight; they consider their dogs to be in the normal range of weight.

I suppose the worst-case scenario would be a couple of spayed female Labrador retrievers who are about 14 years old, living with elderly “nurturing” (literally – with food) owners. Both the owners and their dogs are arthritic and overweight, with poor aerobic conditioning. Or maybe the owners smoke and have shortness of breath with even moderate exercise, and they enjoy fried foods and feed their dogs from the table or the couch (of course) or from anywhere else in the house. The owners equate feeding the dogs with giving them love. It’s the proverbial “recipe for disaster”! So do anything you can do to prevent your dogs from getting fat and out of shape. This may also be a good reason to watch your own levels of activity and diet.

Dog Nutrition: Reading Dog Food Labels

Commercially made dog food is derived from a variety of sources and processing. Not only is the food source critical to development of your dog, but the type of processing also helps determine digestibility. It is important, therefore, to read and understand the ingredients of the food you offer your dog.

The first ingredient listed on the label is the largest by volume. For example, if corn is listed first, then corn is the main ingredient, even though the label on the package front shows chicken, beef or lamb. Also often listed are wheat and wheat middlings. Some commercially processed foods, wet or dry, do not list meat and meat by-products (and not necessarily in this order) until third or as an even later ingredient.

Wolves and feral dogs derive a balanced diet by first eating their prey’s organs, the stomach and upper intestinal contents and the liver before muscle tissues. Dogs inherently are carnivores; rarely is grain required as a main food source. Had nature intended dogs to primarily eat grains, their teeth would have evolved differently, with a prevalence of grinding rather than rending surfaces.

Most dogs require amino acids, which are derived from a variety of sources, including meat and meat by-products. Artificial coloring added to food makes it more palatable in appearance to the owner. Dogs are not particular about the color of their food: as long as it smells good (that all-important first sense), it is good to eat. Many dogs are sensitive to artificial food coloring, a known cause of many tear-duct inflammations.

This condition appears as weepy, drippy, allergy eyes. The eyes do not appear rheumy, they are clear, but matter often collects on the inner comer and tear stains may run down the muzzle. Debris thus produced by the irritated eyes may partially occlude tear ducts. Some biscuits and dry foods expand considerably when moistened, increasing five and ten times the size of the original nugget. These brands require soaking before feeding to insure expansion occurs in the bowl and not in a dog’s stomach.

While important to soak this type of food for the normal eater, it becomes especially important to do so for the greedy guzzlers. Baked biscuits normally expand less when moistened; some simply disintegrate into mush. These latter types have faster gastric emptying times than expanding foods. Biscuits which expand in the stomach must first reach a certain volume of size before they can be broken down by the digestive process. This added time allows the fermentation process to begin.

Raw Meat Diet For Dogs

Raw Meat Diets for Dogs Many pet owners are feeding their pets a raw food diet these days. Advocates claim that raw food diets improve the condition of the skin and haircoat, eliminate bad breath, reduce fecal volume, improve energy levels, behavior, immune function and overall health. Zoos, mink farms, dog racing facilities, and other professional establishments have been feeding raw meat diets to their animals for many years.

However, it has always been assumed that these purchasers understood the risks involved regarding food safety and nutritional inadequacy. Now that the trend is moving toward feeding raw diets to companion animals there is genuine concern in the veterinary community that many owners are not as fully aware of the potential for harm, despite the positive benefits that may exist. This report is intended to educate pet owners on the potential negative side-effects of raw food diets.

Raw-meat advocates tend to downplay the potential health risks and many pet owners do know what they are getting into until their pet’s health (or their own) has already been compromised. There are claims that raw food diets can reduce the incidence of many medical conditions such as allergies, arthritis, and pancreatitis. There is also the possibility that feeding raw bones helps to keep teeth clean while providing a natural source of calcium.

However, those who caution against feeding raw diets to pets state that at this point such claims are entirely anecdotal. That is, an interesting concept, but one that is not supported by any scientific research or facts. They are also quick to point out the potential health risks involved with feeding a raw food diet to pets. These risks include microbial contamination (for pets and people), gastrointestinal perforation, choking, intestinal obstruction, and fractured teeth.

It seems that most people either love or hate the idea of feeding a raw meat diet to pets. Either way, it is important to know the facts before making a decision on whether or not to feed a raw food diet to your pet. Before going any further it should be noted that raw meat diets and homemade diets do not necessarily always mean the same thing. Many owners feed their pet a homemade diet but that does not mean the pet is also being fed a “raw” diet. Types of Raw Food Diets There are three types of raw food diets available for pets.

1. Commerically available complete raw food diets. These diets are typically sold in frozen form. Because these diets claim to be complete and balanced they are subject to regulation by the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

2. Homemade complete raw food diets. These diets require the owner to prepare recipes which are available in books and on the Internet. The ingredients in these homemade diets can be quite varied, depending on the person who formulated the recipe. Many of these diets are EXPECTED to be balanced overall. However, each individual meal may not be balanced. These diets are not subject to regulation. BARF (bones and raw food) is a popular homemade raw food diet created by Ian Billinghurst from Australia (despite popular belief Ian Billinghurst is NOT a veteinarian).

This diet requires owners to feed their pets raw meat, organs, and bones in addition to many other types of foods including vegetables, grains, and dairy products.

3. Combination Diets These diets consist of commercially available grain and supplement mixes which are fed in combination with raw meat provided by the owner. These diets are also not subject to regulation. There are some important factors to consider before feeding your pet a raw food diet. Most people do not start their pet on a raw food diet before doing a large amount of research first. However, it is important to ask yourself a few questions before embarking on this path.

1. Am I willing to invest the time and money necessary to prepare my pet’s meals? Many people don’t have enough time to cook themselves a healthy dinner–let alone dinner for their pet! Careful consideration must be made when selecting recipes, shopping for ingredients, and choosing supplements. It also costs a lot more money to feed your pet any kind of homemade diet than a commerical one. If you choose to feed a homemade diet to your pet it should be balanced by a certified veterinary nutritionist. EACH PET IS A UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL. You can’t take a recipe you find on the internet and assume it will work for your pet.

It needs to be tailored to fit your pet’s age, breed, current health status, and lifestyle. To find a certified veterinary nutritionist please visit You can also visit to receive an online consultation from a certified veterinary nutritionist. The owners of this service are an independent consulting group and do not work with or receive any kickbacks from pet food manufacturers or suppliers.

2. If for some reason I am no longer able to prepare my pet’s meals will I be able to transition him back to commercial pet food? Some pet owners underestimate the time and money involved with feeding their pet a homemade diet. Then when they try to switch their pet back to a commercial diet the pet will not eat it! Pet owners also need to instruct a friend or family member on how to properly prepare their pet’s diet in case they ever go on vacation or experience an illness.

3. Can I afford regular visits to the veterinarian to ensure that my pet remains in good health? A pet being fed any type of homemade diet should be examined by a veterinarian two to three times per year to ensure they are not experiencing any nutrient deficiencies or excesses. These visits may involve the cost of routine blood tests and radiographs.

4. Am I willing to accept the risks involved in feeding my pet a raw food diet? There are potential short-term and long-terms risks associated with feeding pets a raw food diet. Potential pathogenic agents found in raw meat include E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter, and Yersinia. These organisms have the potential to infect the pet as well as the people living and interacting with them.

Such infestations have been documented. There are also numerous health problems that are associated with both insufficient and excessive nutrient intake. Many of these problems do not develop until many years later. There are also the risks involved with feeding dogs raw bones such as intestinal perforation and blockage. Advocates of raw food diets say that this is the pet’s “natural” diet. After all, wild dogs and cats eat their meat raw. However, it shouldn’t surprise you that the skeptics disagree with this claim. They might ask, “Is the meat you buy from the grocery store the same as the meat from a fresh kill out in the wild?” No. “Do we know for sure that wild animals are healthier and living longer than our domestic pets?” No. “Should humans eat the same foods that cavemen and monkeys eat?” No.

Many pets do well on a raw food diet. However, many pets don’t. It is the same for commerical and other homemade diets. As with people, each pet is different in the way it digests and utilizes certain ingredients. Individuality must be taken into consideration when starting any new diet. Most pet owners who choose to feed their pet a raw food diet only want the best nutrition and care for their pet.

Ultimately, it is the owner who must decide whether the potential benefits outweigh the risks. In addition, anyone who feeds their pet any type of homemade diet should consider the validity and nutritional training of those giving advice.Ideally, any homemade diet you feed your pet should be verified and balanced by a certified veterinary nutritionist.

Home Remedy Fixes Your Dog’s Ear Infections Like Magic

My friend Rose writes: “I was looking at your veterinary seminar thing. I’ll share one ear problem remedy that works like a charm and our vet was loathe to admit it, but did because she knows its true.

After all the ear mites and yeast infections both Tucker and Dutch got in their ears, I read that diluted white vinegar works too. I just soak a cotton ball in the vinegar mix and let it drip in there and clean it out. It’s like magic and works overnight. No more meds for my dogs with respect to their ears.”

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Greenies Allegedly Dangerous for Your Dog

I saw this story while watching CNN and thought you might be interested in it. I sure was:

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) — At least 13 dogs have died after being fed the top-selling pet treat in the country, owners and veterinarians have told CNN.

The problem comes because the treats, called Greenies, become lodged in a dog’s esophagus or intestine and then some veterinarians say they don’t break down.

“I know they are marketed in saying that they do digest. Certainly the ones that we’ve taken out, esophageal or intestinal, that have been in for days are still very hard,” Brendan McKiernan, a board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialist from Denver, Colorado, told CNN.

Greenies recommends owners check that the treats are chewed and Joe Roetheli – who launched the brand as a treat that can freshen a dog’s breath and clean its teeth – said it was important to pick the correct chew for a particular dog. There are 7 different sizes to choose from depending on the size of the dog. But most of the dog owners CNN talked to say they did follow package instructions and they still had a problem.

Mike Eastwood and his wife, Jenny Reiff, recently filed a $5 million lawsuit in New York, blaming Greenies for the intestinal blockage that caused the death of their dog Burt. “I’m mad that their packaging states that the product is 100 percent edible, highly digestible and veterinarian approved, yet our dog died of it,” Eastwood told CNN.

S&M NuTec, which manufactures the toothbrush-shaped chew, won’t comment on the case but in court papers denied the allegations.

Roetheli said the focus should be on the dental benefits and Greenies are saving dogs’ lives by lowering the risk of periodontal disease.

He says feeding Greenies is far safer than putting a dog under anesthesia to clean teeth. “Dogs really love the product!” he said. “They do a very effective job of cleaning teeth and freshening breath.”

Any suggestion that Greenies are defective was rejected by Roetheli, who developed Greenies with his wife, Judy.

“Our product is safe. It is used every day by thousands of dogs, millions a week and it is basically a very safe product.”

A CNN investigation uncovered 40 cases since 2003 where a veterinarian had to extract a Greenie from a dog after the treat became lodged either in the animal’s esophagus or intestine. In 13 of those cases, the pet died.

One of those was Tyson, Josh Glass and Leah Falls’ 8-month-old boxer, who was taken to Brent-Air Animal Hospital in Los Angeles, California, where vet Dr. Kevin Schlanger found the animal had a blocked intestine.

“It was very clear that it was something dense and firm that had caused the obstruction,” Schlanger said. He removed a Greenie from the intestine.

McKiernan’s says his Denver clinic has seen at least seven cases in the past five years, which he says is an unusually high number. That prompted him to start researching and writing a paper to warn other veterinarians of the problem.

He says his research, which he hopes to get published in a veterinary journal, shows compressed vegetable chew treats, of which Greenies is the most popular, are now the third biggest cause of esophageal obstruction in dogs behind bones and fish hooks.

The federal Food and Drug Administration says it’s looking into eight consumer complaints about Greenies but has no formal investigation.

The issue has also been the topic of news reports across the country.

The chews are made of digestible products like wheat gluten and fiber, experts say, but the molding process makes the treat very firm and hard.

Roetheli, who runs S&M NuTec from Kansas City, Missouri, says Greenies do break down when properly chewed and swallowed by a dog.

He told CNN that any product has the potential to cause an obstruction in a dog and that Greenies packaging warns dog owners to monitor their dog to ensure the treat is adequately chewed. “Gulping any item can be harmful or even fatal to a dog,” the package says.

The company’s Web site addresses the issue in its FAQ section with the question “When giving an animal Greenies, does it affect their digestive system?” The answer “The only time dogs would be unable to digest anything would be if they didn’t chew it up before they swallowed it. Canine and Feline Greenies are highly digestible when chewed.”

The company says the number of complaints it has received is very low in relation to the vast numbers of treats sold, and CNN spoke with several vets who recommended Greenies.

Introduced in 1998, we found Greenies now selling for about $16 a pound. Last year, 325 million individual treats were sold around the world, nearly three times the sales of its nearest competitor Milk Bone, according to the marketing company Euromonitor International.

“At the end of the day … literally millions of Greenies are enjoyed by dogs on a weekly basis with absolutely no incidents,” company vet Brad Quest told CNN.

Egg in Your Dog’s Food

Shureem  writes:

“I give my pup a raw egg about every 3 days or so. And one day a week I put a tblsp of vegetable or canola oil in her food. Her coat seems to be very shiney and her skin moist.

My grandmother actually told me to do it this, so her skin and coat would stay healthy. So far, so good. Also, Suzie loves it so much, she can hardly wait for food on “egg day!”

**Updated Information: This email was received recently**


Dogs can and do get Salmonella but they don’t present in the same way a human does. The risk is to the owners, handlers and public in general…although there are currently some studies being undertaken that seem to show a link between a bitch being infected with Salmonella and an associated higher rate of spontaneous abortion of the fetus pups. But the depletion of Biotin, due to feeding raw eggs to a dog, is detrimental to the canine itself without question!

Horses also get Salmonella with surprisngly deadly consequences. I had an AQHA weanling die of Salmonella back in 1981 while my sister was in vet school at the University of GA. Salmonella went like wildfire through our stable and many of the horses, mine included, ended up at UGA’s Vet School where three of them died of Salmonella and another one died in the trailer while enroute to UGA.

Dogs can also get e-coli, mainly from eating raw meat contaminated with e-coli as well as a dog getting Salmonella from eating raw meat from chickens or consuming many different types of raw foods. E-coli can make a dog pretty doggone sick! (One of the reasons I refuse to BARF my dogs.) And yes, dogs can get Salmonella from injesting another animal’s feces that is contaminated with Salmonella.

I’m sure you’ve heard rather frequently about the problem with pig ears, cow hooves and rawhide chews that are contaminated with Salmonella and that have caused many a dog to get the bacteria. It is a great risk for families with young children, as well as a high risk for the elderly and it is a major risk for immune compromised individuals, as well as a general risk for healthy people…especially those handling Salmonella infected dogs that are not totally religious in washing their hands, etc. And no, an egg doesn’t have to be cracked or unrefrigerated to be contaminated with Salmonella…which is why cooking eggs throughly and handling them properly is so important to avoid the bacteria being passed on.

The bacteria actually contaminates the egg itself via the hen long before the egg is even laid and can not be detected by visual inspection.

Tips for Using a Great Food Treat During Training

One of the things I stumbled on this week was Kraft Natural Cheese “Cubes”… the ‘mild cheddar’ variety. You can buy these at any grocery store. They come in packages of 50 cubes, and usually cost approximately $2.49. I’m finding that even finicky dogs love these things! You may be thinking, “Big deal! Some thing new to feed your dog!” — Which is just the attitude I would expect from a Rottweiler owner, or anyone else who owns a dog with a strong food drive! But when you have a dog that is generally NOT food motivated… and then you find something like this that DOES motivate your dog… you’ve just picked up a new tool that can make a world of difference in your dog’s training. In brief, you’ll want to incorporate food in your training as a motivator, rather than a bribe. In other words, to:

1.) Get your dog to understand a new exercise faster, during the ‘learning phase’ of training.

2.) To reduce stress, like when introducing new obstacles during agility training.

3.) To perk up working attitude in a dog that looks droopy when he does exercises. (I’d incorporate the ball drive, too… if the dog’s ball drive is stronger than his food drive).

Here’s What Some People Think Is The World’s Healthiest Dog Food

Read About The World’s Healthiest Dog Food And Learn What Deb Stevens– The Moderator Of Our Dog Training Discussion Board– Is Feeding Her Dog…

Deb Stevens & dog “Stryker” from Von Cristel Kennels

Clicking on this link will open a new browser window where you can read more about this company’s amazing dog food and line of supplements.  Deb has experienced some incredible results with this food.  Here’s a tip to save you some money: Sign up for their auto-ship program and you’ll get it for roughly 20% off their list price. You can cancel at any time, so it’s worth signing up for the auto-ship.

After the new window opens, press the “Enter Here” link.

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How To Improve The Quality Of Your Dog’s Life

Many dog owners invest considerable time in being active with their dogs through obedience training, hunting activities, tracking and protection exercises at training grounds, out in the countryside or in the forest.

These activities allow us to spend time with our dogs while also keeping them physically and mentally alert. Others, such as the police and security guards, use dogs at work. We expect these dogs to have a well-developed physique to be able to perform the work they are trained to do. A lot of time and money is spent on training a smart and efficient dog. There is considerable research and many opinions on the topics of what food and exercise is best for our dogs. We all have the animals’ best at heart. Good care and healthy food is thought to be essential.

No matter how well we take care of our dogs, disease and injuries do still occur. If the injury is related to the muscles, tendons, joints or ligaments a vet or physiotherapist can help. If there is a defect in the hip or elbow joints and in cases caused by unhealthy breeding, the only treatment available is pain relief. As dog owners there is nothing we can do to repair problems related to unhealthy breeding nor can we prevent all accidents. However we can prevent muscle related problems and strain injuries by massaging and stretching our dogs regularly. This keeps the dog well-balanced physically and psychologically, allowing it to retain the agility of the young dog to an advanced age.

A well-functioning dog has retained its natural elasticity and suppleness.

A dog with restricted mobility has short and stiff muscles. When a dog has shortened musculature or tonicity, pressure is exerted on the joints leading, in turn, to decreased mobility. This ‘strangles’ the blood vessels and impairs blood circulation. Muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments then receive insufficient nutrition and less oxygen. Reduced blood flow also means that lactic acid accumulated in the muscles is not naturally transported away. The lactic acid builds up along with other waste products leading to irritation of the pain receptors in the muscles. The dog experiences pain. Pain, in turn, causes further tension and reduces blood flow even more. A vicious circle arises and can persist for some time if it is not discovered and treated.

Short and stiff muscles is something that we ourselves and our dogs can suffer from if we don’t take care of our physical condition. Another illnes that might reduce our dogs mobility is Arthrosis, and is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage and is very common in older persons or dogs, especially affecting weight-bearing joints. Articular cartilage becomes soft, frayed and thinned. But also younger persons or dogs might get Arthrosis due to genetic reasons, injuries or the combination of overweight and too little exercise. A common symptom of Arthrosis is stiffness and lameness.

Studies on dogs have shown that regular massage and stretching during a longer period of time are preventing and reducing the effects of Arthrosis and age related stiffness.

Massage and stretching are an effective way to prevent muscle related problems and strain injuries and improve the quality of your dog’s life.  Massage and stretching are a complement to daily exercise, obedience training and diet and build contact between you and your dog in a natural way.

Warming up before activity has a preventative effect and stretching is just as effective after the dog has used its muscles. The dog should have warmed up and exercised before you start to stretch the muscles and I recommend that you allow your dog to wind down after physical exertion. Let the dog walk for a while on the lead in the same way a race horse runs an extra lap at half the pace to round off the race. This helps to remove lactic acid and waste products. As with massage it is important that the dog is relaxed before you start this treatment.

Stretching the back upper foreleg and the flexor muscles of the foreleg

Begin by stretching the back of the dog’s upper foreleg and the flexor muscles of the foreleg. Hold the dog’s elbow with one hand, grasping the wrist with the other. Move the leg forward and upwards, stretching the elbow joint. Stretch the muscle slowly and carefully to its full extent. You will feel when the muscle becomes taut, causing resistance at the back of the upper foreleg. The ultimate position can vary considerably depending on age, breed and mobility capacity. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the movement between 1 and 3 times. At each repetition you can gently try to extend a bit more. The aim is to work up good mobility in the muscle by stretching. The result can be seen in extended gait. If the muscle is shortened the dog might appear to be lame.

The forelegs act as supports for the torso and bear a considerable proportion of the dog’s weight. Overweight dogs place greater pressure on these joints and ligaments. The same is true of large, heavy breeds. If they also suffer from shortened muscles the pressure on the joints is very considerable.

By stretching you keep the muscles extended
and pliable and also increase the mobility capacity around the joints.

Warming up can involve walking with the dog on the lead for 15 to 20 minutes before allowing it to run freely. In this way the muscles soften up and are ready for physical activity. Competitive or working dogs should warm up in a more goal-oriented way.

Below you can find a check list that might come in handy when warming up.

First remember that the dog should have warmed up and exercised before starting a competition or an active session. I also strongly recommend that you allow your dog to wind down after a competition or an active session before any stretching activities.

Here is a check list that could be used before a competition or active session.

  1. Let the dog walk slowly for a while and then increase the tempo for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Let the dog trot for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Let the dog gallop for one minute.
  4. Then let the dog make some short explosive moves.
  5. Let the dog wind down a little by going back to trotting and then walking.

Warming up does not tire the dog but rather increases blood circulation and warm up the muscles ensuring that the joints are lubricated and more supple. The dog is now ready to perform.

After the warm up you could also easily test your dog’s mobility using the eight most common stretching techniques. You should be sensitive to your dog’s signals. The dog should not experience any discomfort. If it does, don’t hesitate to contact the vet.

“Place one hand directly above the knee joint and the other hand on the lower part of the leg around the hock joint. Lift the leg upwards so that the knee is bent. Push gently upwards and backwards with the hand positioned above the knee joint.”

After completing a competition or an active session let the dog wind down and then carefully do some stretching exercises. And when you come home reward the dog with massage and you will get a happy peforming dog ready for new challenges.

Massage and stretching is an essential and a low cost investment in your dog’s health and improves the quality of your dogs life.

Jörn Oleby, author of the book “Canine Massage and Stretching – A Dog Owners Manual. Pictures used from the book. You can find the book at these places: UK: – USA:

South Africa: – Australia: