These at home or physical rehabilitation exercises are used to actively assist your pet with weight-bearing, weight shifting, core and leg stabilizing muscle strengthening, balancing, and stretching.
- Find an inflated exercise ball that is the correct size for your pet.
- Introduce your pet to the ball by going behind them, lifting their front legs onto the ball, and stabilizing them with your body (Figure 1). Allow them to rest on the ball until they become comfortable and more relaxed.
- Once your pet becomes comfortable, his or her back legs should be positioned on the ground, and you should decrease the amount of stabilization you provide to increase the amount of balance and stabilization effort your pet must exert.
- The first time you perform this exercise it is helpful to have 2 people to position the animal and stabilize the ball.
- With their back legs planted on the ground, front legs on the ball and your assistance in stabilization from behind, roll the ball side to side and front to back (Figure 2). Do not roll the ball enough to cause your dog to fall off.
- Your pet should move his or her back legs to balance and shift his or her weight to use core muscles for balance during the motions.
- This same exercise can be done with the front legs planted on the ground and the back legs draped over the ball (Figure 3).
- Over time as your pet improves, you can decrease the assistance in stabilization that you provide and increase the amount of weight they must bearon their legs.
- Helps aid in limb awareness and neuromuscular activity.
- Promotes movement in all planes/directions.
- Stretches and promotes lengthening of muscles.
- Provides pressure relief of the spine.
- Develops core and stabilizing muscle strength.
- Provides support during weight-bearing for pets with paralysis or decreased proprioception.