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Common Pet Rehabilitation Exercises for Improving Mobility

Mobility is a crucial aspect of our pets’ well-being, and maintaining their ability to move freely is essential for their quality of life. Whether recovering from an injury or surgery, managing a chronic condition like arthritis, or simply maintaining overall fitness, pet rehabilitation exercises can help improve mobility in our furry companions. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common pet rehabilitation exercises that can help your pet regain strength, flexibility, and mobility.

  1. Range of Motion Exercises

Passive Range of Motion (PROM): Passive Range of Motion exercises involve moving your pet’s joints through their normal range of motion without the pet actively participating. This can help maintain joint flexibility, reduce stiffness, and promote circulation. Gently flex and extend each joint, being mindful of your pet’s comfort levels and stopping if they show signs of discomfort.

Active Range of Motion (AROM): Active Range of Motion exercises encourage your pet to move their joints voluntarily. These exercises can include simple activities such as encouraging your pet to reach for a treat or toy, promoting natural joint movement and muscle engagement.

  1. Balance and Coordination Exercises

Cavaletti Rails: Cavaletti rails are a series of low obstacles placed at varying heights and distances that encourage your pet to lift their limbs and navigate the course. This can help improve balance, coordination, and spatial awareness.

Wobble Boards: Wobble boards or balance discs provide an unstable surface for your pet to stand or walk on, challenging their balance and core strength. Start with a stable surface and gradually progress to more unstable surfaces as your pet becomes more comfortable and confident.

  1. Strengthening Exercises

Sit-to-Stand: The sit-to-stand exercise involves encouraging your pet to repeatedly sit and stand, using a treat or toy as motivation. This can help strengthen their rear limbs and core muscles.

Incline Walking: Walking uphill or on an incline can help build strength in your pet’s hindquarters and core muscles. Start with a gentle slope and gradually increase the incline as your pet’s strength improves.

  1. Hydrotherapy

Underwater Treadmill: Underwater treadmill therapy involves walking or running on a treadmill submerged in water. The buoyancy of the water provides support and reduces the impact on your pet’s joints, while the resistance helps build strength and endurance.

Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help improve your pet’s overall fitness, strength, and mobility. Ensure your pet is comfortable and supervised at all times, and consider using a life jacket for additional support.

  1. Stretching

Stretching can help maintain your pet’s flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Gently stretch your pet’s limbs and hold each position for a few seconds, being mindful of their comfort levels. Incorporate stretching into your pet’s daily routine to promote overall flexibility and mobility.

Consulting with a Professional

Before starting any rehabilitation exercises, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian or certified rehabilitation practitioner to ensure the exercises are appropriate for your pet’s specific needs and abilities. They can provide guidance and tailor an individualized program that addresses your pet’s unique requirements.


Incorporating pet rehabilitation exercises into your pet’s routine can significantly improve their mobility and overall quality of life. By combining a variety of exercises that focus on range of motion, balance, coordination, strengthening, and flexibility, you can help your pet regain their confidence and independence. Remember to consult with a professional before starting any exercise program and always prioritize your pet’s comfort and well-being throughout the rehabilitation process. With dedication, patience, and proper guidance, you can help your pet overcome mobility challenges and enjoy a healthier, happier life.

Implementing a regular rehabilitation exercise routine for your pet, tailored to their specific needs and abilities, can contribute to a more active and fulfilling life for both you and your furry companion. As you explore the world of pet rehabilitation, you’ll discover new ways to bond with your pet and support their journey to improved mobility, health, and overall well-being.


Dr. Sara Lam

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