Click an exercise below to see illustrations and details:

Cavaletti Rails:

What are cavaletti rails?

Cavaletti rails are horizontal poles spaced out on the ground. Cavaletti rails can also be placed horizontally at a low height.

What are the benefits of exercising with cavaletti rails?

Exercises using cavaletti rails require a pet to pick up their legs to walk over the poles. This activity improves range of motion and increases the length of the stride. These exercises also develop balance and coordination.

Where can I obtain cavaletti rails?

Commercial cavaletti rails can be purchased at local sporting goods stores, from dog agility retailers, or from online retailers. Cavaletti rails can also be made with PVC piping or a ladder placed on the ground. Both are available at local home repair stores.

What are the treatment guidelines?

Check with your veterinarian on when and at what level you should start your pet with this exercise depending on their health status and stage of OA. Initially, place the rails or a ladder on level ground keeping an equal distance between each rail. A comfortable starting distance is slightly less than the normal stride length of your pet. Walk your pet over the rails at a slow pace. As your pet improves, the rails can be placed further apart and in varying distances. You can also raise the rails and increase to trotting over the rails as your pet improves.

What are the safety considerations?

Consult your veterinarian before starting this exercise. Watch for signs that your pet is getting tired and stop the exercise immediately if you notice signs of pain such as growling, snapping, or yelping.

Millis DL, Levine D, Taylor RA. Canine Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy. St Louis. 2004.
Saunders. p 258.

  • Exercises using cavaletti rails encourage dogs to pick up their legs as they walk over the poles to strengthen muscles.

  • Wood ladders can also be used as cavaletti rails when placed on a flat, level surface, as seen here.

Click here to find out the stages of OA and suggested exercises. Find a dog park in your area.