Heat, Massage, & Knee Range-of-Motion Exercises

Heat, Massage & range-of-motion exercises to usse after orthopedic surgery or orthopedic injury.  We heat the dog’s thigh muscles, above the knee. Three or four minutes of heat is going to be followed by massage.  The muscle groups you want to concentrate on are the quads, down the front of her legs and the muscles that come down the back.  Don’t massage over an incision if your dog is recovering from surgery. Use a deep, kneading-dough massage to help the muscles relax and to help your dog relax. Once you can feel the muscles relaxing, you can begin the range-of-motion exercises.  Lift her leg and move her ankle toward her hip and her knee toward her chest to flex.  Hold it for a few seconds where she just starts to resist a little bit, then relax it.  After the flex, we extend the leg and hold for a few seconds, before returning to a flex and repeating the process a few times.


Icing the Knee After Range of Motion Exercise

After the range-of-motion exercises, use a flexible ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables to ice the knee and control inflammation caused by the exercise.  Use a damp towel to wrap the pack and hold it to the knee for ten minutes.

Hip Range of Motion Exercise

Have your dog lay on their side with the affected leg up. Apply a hot, damp rag over the hip area and along the muscles in the lumbar spine relax the muscles.  Massage around the lumbar spine and on the muscles on the front and back of the thigh.  If your pet has had surgery, do not massage over the incision.  Follow massage with range-of-motion. Flex the hip by bringing the knee toward the chest just to the point they begin to resist, hold for a few seconds. Extend by pushing the leg back while supporting the pelvis with your other hand, just to the point where they begin to resist but they are still comfortable.  Go back and forth between extension and flexion for the prescribed number of repetitions.  After the range-of-motion exercises, wrap a damp towel around an ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables and apply to the hip for about ten minutes.


Sit to Stand Exercise

Sit-to-Stand exercise works the quads and hamstrings of the hind legs. Start with your dog sitting in front of you. Take a step back and call your dog to you. You can give your dog treats intermittently or each time they sit to keep them interested.


Figure 8 Exercise

The Figure 8 exercise. Start with your objects that you are walking around at a farther distance, then gradually bring them together for tighter circles as your dog progresses with their recovery. Lead your dog in figure 8’s, so that they do a circle to the right followed by a circle to the left.


Cookie Stretch

This exercise is designed to work and stretch the muscles along the spine. Start with your legs on either side of your dog to keep them in place. Begin with a treat in front of your dog’s nose. Bring it to one side at about shoulder height, back to the middle, and then to the other side. After a few repetitions, lead your dog to reach farther back until you are able to work your way to the point your dog is able to take a dog cookie from their hip. During this exercise, try to minimize movement of your dog’s legs.