Just like humans, your dog has a musculoskeletal system. “What is a musculoskeletal system?” you may ask—good question! The musculoskeletal system is a combination of the body’s muscles and bones. In dogs, the musculoskeletal system can often take the brunt of the strain of their physical activities and movement. The musculoskeletal system includes all of their bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues. When your dog jumps on and off of surfaces, runs or walks, stretches, or even lays down, their musculoskeletal system is being stimulated. Dogs whose musculoskeletal system is well-supported tend to have better mobility, less pain, and healthier lives than those who aren’t. Here are four easy ways to support your dog’s musculoskeletal system and help your furry friend to live their best life!
#1. Make time for regular exercise
It’s important to make time for regular exercise with your dog. Not only does it give you a chance to supervise your pup’s agility, movement, and overall health, but it also creates a regular routine that your dog can count on to warm up their muscles, stretch their ligaments, and support their bone health.
Determine what kind of activity is best-suited to your dog’s health and wellness goals. This is going to be dependent on your dog’s age, physical condition, and energy levels. It also matters whether your dog has experienced any injuries or is in the process of rehabilitation.
For some dogs, regular exercise may be walks and runs. For others, this may look like a short stroll in the yard, some swimming, or fetching a ball or other toy.
#2. Play (and stretch) with your dog
Regular exercise isn’t the only type of movement that is ideal for your furry friend’s musculoskeletal system—playing and stretching play a huge role in ensuring that your pup is getting enough meaningful movement in their day.
Whether play involves fetching a ball or other toy, tug of war, agility training, chasing one another, or other games, short spurts of activity allow your dog to warm their muscles, stretch their bodies, and engage in other movements that they might not have a chance to practice during exercise-only sessions.
Another great activity to share with your dog is stretching. Oftentimes, you will find that your dog mimics your stretching. Set aside some time to stretch side-by-side with your dog, for example, before or after long periods of sitting, before exercise, or just randomly!
#3. Make jumping and climbing surfaces easier
It can be hard on your dog’s joints to jump on and off of surfaces. Dogs (especially small dogs) commonly like to jump on the sofa and bed, and they may make it look easy—for a time. Unfortunately, over the years, jumping on and off of surfaces that are taller than the top of your dog’s shoulders can cause degeneration to their musculoskeletal system.
Instead, make it easy as soon as possible for your dog to jump on and off of surfaces, even if they’re young and fit. This will help to prevent future injuries and degeneration, protecting their musculoskeletal systems for the long-term.
There are many products available to help your dog climb up and down surfaces, including portable ramps and stairs.
#4. Supplement their diet with musculoskeletal-friendly foods
There are several foods that can help to support your dog’s musculoskeletal system. The foods that help the musculoskeletal system the most usually include calcium, Vitamin D, protein, and Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Some foods that you can feed your dog to help support their musculoskeletal system are organ meats, dog-safe vegetables, fish, chicken, beef, eggs, fish oil, dog-safe fruits, and supplements like hyaluronic acid and glucosamine.
#5. [BONUS] Take them to a pet chiropractor!
A fantastic way to support your dog’s musculoskeletal system is by taking them to a pet chiropractor! Your pet chiropractor is an expert of the musculoskeletal system, and can provide adjustments and treatments intended to strengthen and support your furry friend’s bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and soft tissues.
When you first bring your dog into a pet chiropractor, your pup will receive a full examination to determine whether there are any outlying concerns that require attention. Your expert chiropractor can provide treatments that help to ease any discomfort or degeneration that your pet is experiencing, as well as boost overall health levels, agility, and mobility in already healthy and young dogs.
Owners who take their dogs to a pet chiropractor regularly report observing higher levels of energy, improved mood, better sleep, and overall vitality in their dogs.
If you live in the Boulder, Windsor, or Fort Collins, CO area and you’re ready to take your furry friend’s health to the next level, book your appointment today!