Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


Therapeutic Exercises for Dogs

Therapeutic exercises for pets are specifically designed movements and activities that help improve strength, flexibility, and overall physical well-being. These exercises can be tailored to address specific issues such as joint pain, muscle weakness, or post-surgical recovery. Today, our Oklahoma City vets will discuss some examples of these therapeutic exercises and how they can help your dog.

Physical Therapy Exercises for Dogs

Canine physical therapy is often recommended for dogs recovering from injury or surgery as a way to improve their mobility and quality of life. This type of therapy uses techniques and modalities similar to those used for humans, with the goal of reducing pain and increasing function.

Physical therapy exercises for dogs tend to fall into two main categories: manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.

Manual Therapy Exercises for Dogs

Manual therapy refers to techniques used to improve the movement of joints, muscles, and other soft tissue.

Cold Therapy

Cold therapy for dogs, also known as cryotherapy, involves applying cold temperatures to a specific area of the dog's body to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. This can be done using ice packs, cold water immersion, or specialized cold therapy products designed for pets. Cold therapy is commonly used to treat injuries such as sprains, strains, and muscle soreness in dogs.

When applying cold therapy to a dog, it is important to monitor the duration and frequency of the treatment to prevent frostbite or skin damage. Your veterinarian can tell you whether cold therapy treatment is appropriate for your dog’s specific condition and provide guidance on the proper technique and duration of treatment.

Warm Therapy

Warm therapy for dogs typically involves the use of heat packs, warm towels, or heating pads to help alleviate muscle soreness, joint pain, and stiffness. This type of therapy can be especially beneficial for older dogs or those recovering from injuries.

It is important to monitor the temperature of the heat source to prevent burns or discomfort for the dog. Additionally, warm therapy should be used in conjunction with other treatments recommended by a veterinarian to ensure the best outcome for your furry friend.

Joint Mobilization

Joint mobilization for dogs is a manual therapy technique used to improve joint range of motion, reduce pain, and promote healing. This hands-on approach involves gentle movements of the affected joint by a trained veterinary therapist to help restore normal function and mobility.

During joint mobilization, the therapist carefully assesses the dog's joint movement and applies specific techniques to target restrictions or limitations. By applying controlled pressure and movement to the joint, the therapist can help break up adhesions, improve circulation, and promote healing in the surrounding tissues. Overall, joint mobilization can be a valuable tool for managing musculoskeletal conditions in dogs and improving their quality of life.

Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy for dogs is a non-invasive treatment that uses specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing at the cellular level. This type of therapy can help reduce inflammation, promote tissue repair, and alleviate pain in dogs suffering from various conditions, such as arthritis, muscle strains, and wounds.

During a cold laser therapy session, a handheld device delivers the light energy directly to the affected area of the dog's body. The light penetrates deep into the tissues, triggering biochemical reactions that increase circulation and promote faster healing. Many pet owners have reported seeing improvements in their dog's mobility and comfort levels after undergoing cold laser therapy sessions.

Therapeutic Exercises for Dogs

Therapeutic exercise refers to the planned performance of physical activities.


Hydrotherapy for dogs is a form of physical therapy that uses water to help improve mobility, reduce pain, and aid in recovery from injuries or surgeries. This can include swimming, underwater treadmills, and other water-based exercises tailored to the individual dog's needs.

The buoyancy of water helps support the dog's weight, reducing stress on their joints while allowing them to move more freely. Additionally, the resistance of the water can help strengthen muscles and improve overall fitness levels. Hydrotherapy can be a beneficial form of rehabilitation for dogs recovering from various conditions, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or spinal injuries.

Gait Training

This form of physical therapy is designed to improve a dog's ability to walk and move properly. Gait training is often used for dogs recovering from injuries, surgeries, or neurological conditions that affect their mobility.

During gait training therapy, dogs may work on exercises to strengthen their muscles, improve their balance, and correct any abnormal movement patterns. Therapists may use equipment such as treadmills, balance balls, and obstacle courses to help dogs regain proper gait mechanics. The goal of this therapy is to help dogs regain function and mobility so they can move more comfortably and confidently in their daily lives.

Agility Training

Agility training for dogs is a form of physical and mental exercise that involves navigating obstacle courses, such as jumps, tunnels, and weave poles. This type of training helps improve a dog's coordination, balance, strength, and overall fitness level.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog suffers from arthritis, or is healing from surgery, cold laser therapy could be just the thing to get them back on their feet. Contact our Oklahoma City vets today to schedule an appointment. If we feel your dog could benefit from other forms of therapeutic exercise, we can refer you to a vet in the Oklahoma City area.

Welcoming New Patients

Putnam North Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our team is passionate about the health and well-being of dogs and cats from across Oklahoma City. Get in touch today.


(405) 722-4777 Contact