Kitchener Waterloo Massage Therapist discusses Dog-Walking Injuries

Dog-Walking Injuries (to you, not the dog)

If you own a dog, you love it with all your heart. The reasons you love having a dog are endless, but a common reason is for the exercise and for getting outdoors more often. I recently had my heart stolen by a German Shepherd named Molson who is now the centre of my universe. He is 8 months old and every time I take him out for a walk, he is very excited. When I walk Molson, I use a leash and collar, but I’ve found that the bigger he gets, the harder and stronger he pulls. Now most of you would know that I’m a bigger guy, so I can handle this mighty pup, but some people don’t have that advantage and are being pulled by their dogs every walk. This is where the problems begin.

When a dog pulls forward, that also pulls your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints in a jerking motion. If caught off guard, this can lead to multiple muscle strains and/or joint dislocation. Most will say that the dog has your complete attention, but that doesn’t mean that you have the dog’s attention. If a dog sees another dog, wildlife, or catches wind of a unique smell, that dog will pull and drag you where they want to go. This is when 80% of these injuries occur. So if this ever happens to you, make sure you take the leash by the other hand, and start your way back home. Ice the injury for 10 mins, than take a 15-20 min break. Repeat if necessary. The next day, see how the injury feels. If it is stiff, swollen, and decreased range of motion, this is when you should call the clinic and see one of our practitioners.

 There are numerous ways to train your dog not to pull. A few proven ways include: a choke chain, body harness, leash-free dog parks, and puppy training. As with all exercise, it’s important to know all the risks and benefits, as well as the tools needed to obtain a healthy and safe workout, even if your partner is a furry friend.

by Steve Richtaritsch RMT

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