Leash Walking Exercises:
What are leash walking exercises?
Leash walking exercises involve taking your pet on a slow and controlled walk.
Why did my veterinarian prescribe leash walking exercises?
Leash walking is the simplest, most convenient, and most important exercise you can do for your pet. It is an exercise that is easy to adapt to your pet's case. It can be easily modified as your pet improves. It also has muscular and heart-health benefits for you and your pet with minimal cost.
Where can I do leash walking exercises?
Leash walking exercises can be performed at a variety of outdoor areas, such as sidewalks, local parks, or recreation areas. When you can, incorporate hills and ramps to increase the benefits of the exercise. (see Incline and Decline Exercises)
What are the exercise guidelines?
Check with your veterinarian on when and at what level you should start your pet with these exercises depending on their health status and stage of OA. In early stage OA as your pet increases their endurance and strength you can increase the length of the walks and over time add in hills, stairs, walking in snow, sand, or tall grass. However, with advanced stage OA just increasing the duration of the walk by minutes could take some time. Monitor your pet carefully and consult with your veterinarian as needed. (see Incline and Decline Exercises)
Do I do the same exercises all of the time?
As your pet improves, use steeper and longer hills. You can also make the exercises more challenging by increasing the length of time of the exercise session and increasing the speed of the walk. Other options for increasing the benefits of the walks include walking with your dog through snow, sand, or tall grass.
Bockstahler B, Levine D, Millis D. Essential Facts of Physiotherapy in Dogs and Cats: Rehabilitation and Pain Management. Babenhausen, Germany. 2004. BE VetVerlag. p 64.