Spring is in the air and it's lovely to see the lighter evenings and longer days! ☀️ Spring is known as a time for planting bulbs, but it’s important to remember that bulbs often have a higher concentration of nutrients than leaves or flowers, meaning they can be more dangerous for your pet. When organising your garden, don’t forget to make sure that your pet can’t get their paws on any bulbs that you may be planting. 🌷🌼 Lots of different species of bulbs can be poisonous, so keep them in areas your pet can’t access – or avoid them completely. If you do decide to plant bulbs, it’s a good idea to cover them with mesh until they’re growing to prevent any curious paws from digging them up! 🐾
The brain bit
- Repetitive ball chasing can lead to prolonged adrenaline release.
- Cortisol release can lead to frustration, frantic behaviours and even be detrimental to long term health.
- A high drive dog with significant joint disease may continue to perform reward based tasks like ball chasing despite pain.
What about their joints?
- Repeated micro-trauma to muscles and cartilage is a cause of long-term damage.
- Chasing or even carrying items like a ball can shift your dogs weight distribution to their front legs, putting excessive weight through the joints of the front legs.
- Joints weakened by arthritis will be especially prone to further damage.
How about the muscles?
- Unpredictable actions such as breaking, twisting and landing can result in muscles being put under stresses they aren't designed for.
- High speeds can double the forces generated in the muscles.
- Braking is thought to be the most dangerous part of ball chasing and often responsible for shoulder injuries.
Things you can try instead
- Make sure to have a warm up period before more intense exercise.
- Only ever throw the ball a short distance, on surfaces that avoid slipping and sliding, throw below waist height so as to avoid jumping and don't do it repetitively.
- Consider alternatives like scent work, varying location of the walk to keep thing exciting or playing hide and seek with the ball rather than playing fetch.
As your dog gets older slippery flooring such as laminate or tiling feels like walking over a sheet of ice. The lack of grip means that the muscles in their paws, limbs and elsewhere in their body have to constantly engage to maintain balance, causing repetitive strain issues and overloading of the joints over time.
Any slips and falls can be a major cause of chronic muscular problems, pain and mobility issues, due to at times unseen repetitive strain injuries. Dogs are having to constantly re-adjust themselves even when just sitting on slippery flooring trying to prevent their paws and limbs sliding out to the side.
Slippery flooring can have a significantly detrimental effect on the musculoskeletal system of your dog, and can also be hugely painful to the joints of arthritic dogs.
Covering any slippery flooring in your home with rugs, runners or matting (or like me yoga mats) is such a simple and relatively ‘quick win’ for your dog - Be kind and cover your floors.