Kristie Swan offers a Pilates-style class for dogs at Whiskers University. “I added this class to the curriculum because of the wonderful results I saw with my Chesapeake Bay retriever, who had mild dysplasia in her left hip,” she explains. “I began proactive physical therapy with her, which included a lot of core and rear muscle strengthening. Three years later, the orthopedic vet said she had only very slight laxity on the left side.”
Kristie agrees with Sherri that any physically active canine can benefit from Doglates. “Any dog that runs or jumps should have a strong core, as well as a strong and limber body,” she says. “I see runners out with their dogs and I want to stop them and ask if they stretch or do any other form of protective physical therapy for their dogs. A blown ACL or other injuries can be painful, expensive, and time-consuming, but teaching a dog Pilates-like stretches and ball work can protect against injury. Also, having gone through old age with more than one dog, I know how valuable a strong body and rear legs are for elimination.”
Doglates is also great for dogs with obesity issues, as well as those with somearthritic problems since it helps improve flexibility and strength. These dogs may begin to feel much better after a few classes.
Even some veterinarians are suggesting that dogs doing Pilates-type exercises can enjoy improved balance and coordination, increased suppleness and flexibility, vastly enhanced range of motion, alleviation of stress and physical tension, and deeper breathing.
“Every dog needs core muscle strength to perform in any athletic endeavor,” says veterinarian Dr. David Cox. “It is also very important in older dogs to prevent injury and weakness in the lower back and hind end.”