The Latch has partnered with Budget Direct Pet Insurance to help you keep your pets healthy, for life.
We don’t deserve dogs — they are simply too pure for this world and every single one of them must be protected at all costs. As dog owners, we all want to do right by our little fur bestie, so I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that there’s one thing they might need from you that we’re pretty certain you have not been doing: stretching.
Dogs need to stretch their little bodies just like us humans do and, given the amount of joy they bring into our worlds on a daily basis, helping them with this seems like the least we could do.
That’s right. Just like you, dogs need regular stretch sessions to ensure they stay limber, happy and healthy for many years to come. To find out exactly how often your dog should be stretching and whether that’s something we should really be facilitating, we enlisted veterinarian, Ben Schuster, who’s the resident pet expert at Budget Direct Pet Insurance.
Do Dogs Need to Stretch After Exercising?
Dr Ben tells The Latch that while we might usually stretch after exercising, it’s more important for dogs to stretch before exercise, as a sort of warmup, instead (just like we would do to prepare for a workout).
“You’ll probably notice many dogs doing a series of big stretches after laying down or resting to ensure they’re limber and ready to run,” he explains.
“You’ve probably heard of the yoga move ‘downward dog. Well, the name specifically came from dogs stretching like this!
“Many dogs will stretch forward and back as well as extending their back legs directly behind them. Once they’ve finished all their stretches, they’ll be feeling agile and zooming around in no time.”
Is Stretching Something We Should Be Helping Our Dogs With?
As for whether we need to add stretching our dog to the daily to-do list, Dr Ben assures us that they’re pretty capable of doing it themselves.
“Most dogs will do this themselves if they feel the need to stretch — it often becomes a habit, particularly for energetic and athletic dogs before being taken for a walk,” he says.
“Usually, they won’t need much help at all and will happily stretch if they’ve been inactive for a little while.”
What If We Want to Treat Our Dog to a Stretch — How Could We Do This?
While dogs seem to have their pre-workout stretch handled, we as owners can still help them with post-run recovery if we’re feeling particularly generous.
“Owners can help their dog stretch and recover after activity through a variety of soft tissue techniques and strengthening exercises,” says Dr Ben.
That said, Dr Ben also explains that learning from experts before taking them on at home is a safer option.
“These can be learned from trained animal physiotherapists who have a special interest in treating musculoskeletal conditions in animals and improving movement and muscle strength. This can include joint mobilisation, strengthening exercises, balance exercises, and even conditioning for sport.”
We all want our dogs to live long and happy lives, and the fact that you’ve even landed on this article tells us you care just as much about your fur child as we do about ours. And as a caring pet parent, you might want to consider whether pet insurance is right for you. That’s where Budget Direct offers pet insurance with 15% off your first year’s premium when you buy online (T&Cs apply). Find out what they cover and if it’s right for you by heading to their website.