Drake is an amazing agility dog. He darts on to the course taking the triple bar in stride, running smoothly and efficiently through the entire course with grace and confidence. His timing, movements, and keen attention are impressive. Not a moment's hesitation dashing up and down the A-frame, over a double-oxer, through the chute, on to the pause table, then off again at top speed to the broad jump, and to weave the poles - the consummate dog athlete!
Drake's Welsh Border Collie lineage makes him the perfect candidate for agility, and at six-years old, he is desperately in need of consistent acupressure treatments. When Drake is running the course, he is so excited and his natural pain-reducers, endorphins, are flowing through his veins and he barely feels anything except his utter joy in what he is born to do. During his off-course time, his shoulders and hips are obviously sore. He gets up from a nap and seems stiff at first, and then stretches his limbs cautiously.
Agility, Frisbee, ball fetching, strenuous hiking and all the many games and sports we engage in with our dogs are good, healthy exercise when not done to excess. Even if these activities are not taken to an extreme, tendons can become irritated and inflamed, muscles stressed and sore. As the dog ages the likelihood of joints becoming arthritic is very high. These are the types of conditions we see in dogs leading active lifestyles.
Acupressure can help your dog be more comfortable and perform at his best. Over hundreds of years, acupressure has proven to help resolve many of the painful conditions we see in athletic dogs because it can:
- Strengthen muscles, tendons, joints, and bones
- Enhance mental clarity and calm required for focus
- Release natural cortisone to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Increase lubrication of the joints for better movement
- Release endorphins to increase energy and relieve pain
- Resolve injuries more quickly by increasing blood supply
- Balance energy to optimize the body's ability to perform.
Your dog will have a lot more fun if he feels good when he is running after a ball or simply jogging with you on the beach. We recommend two different acupressure treatments. The first is "Before Activity," which serves as a warm-up and gets his body ready for the additional stress of intense movement. These acupressure points are used to increase blood circulation and release endorphins that can enhance the dog's athletic ability and help build long-term endurance. Hold these points by placing the ball of your thumb at a 90-degree angle to the dog's body or you can place your middle finger on top of your index finger and press the point gently with the ball of your index finger. The Before Activity treatment should be give at least one-hour and no more than 12 hours prior to the anticipated activity.
The second treatment is the "After Activity" treatment, this session will help your dog relax, move lactic acid out of the muscles thus reducing potential soreness, and build long-term muscle, joint, and tendon strength needed to enhance stamina. Use the same point work techniques suggested for the Before Activity treatment above. The After Activity treatment can be performed as soon as your dog has cooled down and you can work calmly with your dog.
If your dog is showing signs of acute pain or distress, we encourage you to take him to your holistic veterinarian. Acupressure is an excellent resource and complement to your dog's healthcare since you can perform treatments yourself, but it is not a substitute for veterinary care.
Your dog will enjoy playing, running, jumping, weaving through poles - whatever your sport - much more if you help take good care of his body. Acupressure is safe, always available, drug-free, and dogs' love the touch of their special people.
By Amy Snow & Nancy Zidonis Traditional Chinese Medicine Practition & Acupressure Instructors
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