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How to Improve the Quality of Your Dog's Life!

This article is submitted by Jörn Oleby, author of the book "Canine Massage and Stretching - A Dog Owners Manual". Illustrations used are from the book. You can find the book at these places: UK: - USA: - South Africa: - Australia: - Europe:

When we take on a dog we take on a responsibility which involves the everyday care of our dogs in areas such as hygiene, coat and paws, nutrition, exercise and training.

Many dog owners invest considerable time in energising their dogs by obedience training, activity seeking, tracking and protection exercises at training grounds, out in the countryside or in the forest. These activities allow us to spend time with our dogs while also keeping them physically and mentally alert. Some of us show dogs where their appearance and breed attributes are judged. Perhaps we should also pay greater attention to assessing mobility to encourage the sort of care that can spare dogs unnecessary injuries in the future. A well-functioning dog has retained its natural elasticity and suppleness.

A dog with restricted mobility has short and stiff muscles. When a dog has shortened musculature or high muscle tone, pressure is exerted on the joints leading, in turn, to decreased mobility. This "strangles" the blood vessels and impairs blood circulation. Muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments then receive insufficient nutrition and less oxygen. Reduced blood flow also means that lactic acid accumulated in the muscles is not naturally transported away. The lactic acid builds up along with other waste products leading to irritation of the pain receptors in the muscles. The dog experiences pain. Pain, in turn, causes further tension and reduces blood flow even more. A vicious circle arises and can persist for some time if it is not diagnosed or recognised and treated. . . .

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