Tripawds can do just about anything a quad dog can do, but there are simple precautions that pawrents can take to avoid injuries. Canine rehabilitation practitioner Leslie Gallagher McMahon, CCMT, CCRT of Two Hands Four Paws Canine Massage and Rehabilitation in Los Angeles, recently shared her advice for doing just that.
Healthy Living and Massage Tips for Tripawds
Physical therapy and massage is especially important for Tripawds, says Leslie, “because Tripawds will always have gait issues, muscle tightness and soreness from compensating over the missing limb.” Leslie also says soreness can be kept to a minimum by watching your Tripawd’s weight. Did you know that one pound of fat on a dog is the equivalent of five pounds of fat on a human?
While all dogs can benefit from massage, there are subtle signs you can look for that indicate your Tripawd is in pain. Signals include:
- Struggling to get up or lie down, especially during the morning or in cold weather.
- A dog in pain will seek a cool surface to lie on, because cold feels good on tired muscles. (Be sure to check out Tripawds’ Gear Blog for cold and hot pain relief products like Bella’s Pain Pack and ThermaMat Dog Beds).
If your Tripawd is overall healthy and you suspect he overdid it at the dog park, here are some tips for massaging tired muscles:
- When massaging, use the same amount of pressure you would use on a baby or elderly person.
- Don’t work on the surgery site itself, it can feel uncomfortable to a dog.
- Keep massages to 15 or 20 minutes, especially for dogs who have never had a massage.
- Look for the “belly” of large muscles, avoiding direct massage over bones.
- Work on one area and switch to another, then return. Don’t work on one area non-stop.
Please be aware that we are not veterinarians. The information presented here is not meant to be construed as medical advice or guidance, nor should it be substituted for professional veterinary assistance. Always discuss any remedies and treatments you wish to pursue with your veterinarian.