P.O.L.I.C.E. for Injury Recovery

🐶 Have you recently found yourself thinking “what am I suppose to do now, my vet is only taking emergency cases?” 😟

When your dog hurts, it sucks. 🥺 Having limited access to help adds to the frustration. 😫 So what do you do?

The answer? P.O.L.I.C.E.! 👮‍♀️⁉️🤷‍♀️

❌Not that kind of police!

This acronym is a comes from the physical therapy and injury recovery world.

✅Early (this is actually Elevation but I prefer Early and will explain why)

⚠️ Now it goes without saying that if you dog has a catastrophic injury, you should have them seen by a vet as quickly as possible. These guidelines are for non emergency injuries.

🐾PROTECT – Create a safe environment and protect the injury site. This may include creating non slippery surfaces, hazard avoidance (stairs), a wrap or a bootie, etc.

🐾OPTIMAL LOADING – Once you know that there is no fracture or catastrophic injury, movement is best, but not too much too soon. Gentle passive to active range of motion (P/AROM) with gradual (days to weeks) introduction to functional activities is usually appropriate. You may require a harness or a sling to assist with this gradual process while protecting the injury.

🐾ICE – This is a controversial one because research shows that too much cold can actually slow the healing process. If there is a lot of swelling and pain, a cold pack wrapped in a cloth may assist with pain management along with prescribed medications. Sessions are 10-15 minutes max and discontinue after a couple days.

🐾COMPRESSION – While icing, you can add compression with vet wrap, an ace bandage or even a long sock or scarf. Not too tight! And check ever couple minutes.

🐾EARLY – This is usually Elevate, which can be tricky with a dog. But, Early refers to doing this protocol sooner than later. Early intervention after an injury has been shown to provide faster recovery.

🐶These recommendations apply to dogs and people!😊

P.O.L.I.C.E. is the updated R.I.C.E. (Rest Ice Compression Elevation). Optimal Loading encourages movement. Movement keeps the injured area mobile, reduces stiffness and may help with a faster recovery. 🙌

If your dog has suffered an acute injury, a visit to your vet or canine rehab therapist is a necessary first step. He or she may recommend the P.O.L.I.C.E. method to help treat your dog’s injury. Following this method may help your dog return to normal activity quickly and safely. 👍

🙏Stay safe and healthy!🐶

#doginjury #selfisolating #covid19 #doghealth #caninerehabilitation

Get Them Upright!



This will help! 🙏

These are stressful and uncertain times for everyone😔, and if you have a dog that has a condition like degenerative myelopathy (DM) causing paralysis, you may be feeling very unsure or even helpless when it comes to what you can do with your furry friend, on your own. 😢

Personally, I have been through DM with my dog Sammie and have worked with others whose dogs have rear weakness/paralysis. This alone is emotionally taxing and now you are self isolating and may have limited access to your vet or rehab professional. 👎

To make it more challenging, you may have a cart (dog wheelchair) for your dog but are not able to get your dog out in it right now due to restrictions in place related to Covid-19. 🤷🏾‍♂️

 Fret not! 🖐

 I have some easy to implement recommendations for you!

Even if you aren’t able to get your dog out for regular walks in their cart, get them up into their cart at home, on a non slippery surface! There are so many health benefits for your dog to be up in their cart. 😃

SENSORY/TACTILE STIMULATION with the paws touching the ground
STRENGTHENS MUSCLES that are not currently affected by the condition

It’s basically a use it or lose it scenario, or at least slow it down.

With DM, it is a progressive condition 😔, HOWEVER, sensory stimulus, encouraging muscles that still have a contraction to work a little, and promoting circulation have all been proven to extend the life span of dogs with DM. 😃

FEED upright! Raise your dogs water and feed bowls so they can reach them.
BRUSH and/or MASSAGE them while they are in the cart.
Do BASIC EXERCISES your were taught and/or passive range of motion for the hind legs. Gentle active range of motion for the neck may be appropriate too. This encourages some gentle weight shifting in the front end and keeps the neck strong and mobile.
ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES such as puzzles or scent games. These can be done statically, your dog doesn’t need to move around to do them. I place a ottoman in from of the dog and hide a treat under 1 of 3 little cups and she finds the treat (see the picture posted)
Prescribed REHAB MODALITIES. You may have a PEMF device or muscle stimulation machine that you are using with your dog. You can do this while they are upright.

😃I even had one client whose dog liked to watch TV while in his cart! And another who got so relaxed she fell asleep on her pillow stool. ❤️

Non slippery surface and decluttered space
May require a pee pad under their hind end Remember, being upright can stimulate the bowels! So you may want a poop bag too.
May require a stool or pillow as a head rest


👍Always do exercises within your dog’s capacity. Conditions like DM slowly progress forward so you may notice changes in your dog’s ability to do these things.

Every dog is different and how long they are upright is going to depend on a number of factors. These include overall health and strength, as well as progression of their condition. In addition, certain activities may not be appropriate for your dog and these are general recommendations.

👍Short periods in the cart, for example 10 minutes, can be very advantages.

You never want to keep your dog in their cart longer than they want to be in it. If they seem restless, uncomfortable, and/or start to whine, it is time to get them out.

If your dog is used to walking in their cart and you have them primarily standing still doing a game, etc., they will fatigue faster then when out walking. If possible, let them move around little. If not, go for shorter durations (i.e. 10-15 minutes) more often, in the cart.

🙏Stay safe, stay healthy and stay upright!🐕

#degenerativemyelopathy #covid19 #dogparalysis #dogcarts #selfisolating

The Arthritis Pain Dilemma

Your dog looks stiff and is having issues getting around and going for regular walks.  They may have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, a form of arthritis that worsens overtime.  You’re advised to do less activity with them and that they may need some medication to manage the pain.


Continue reading “The Arthritis Pain Dilemma”

Overload vs Overtraining: The difference between fitness & injury

Sleeping dog after big fetch session. Canine conditioning/canine rehabilitation and Overload vs Overtraining

If you are anything like myself and the millions of pet parents out there, your dogs are active family members.  We take them hiking, swimming, running, and to the beach. Maybe you have an athlete or working dog in which case the expectations of activity and performance are even higher.  So let’s talk about how to help them stay active family members.

Continue reading “Overload vs Overtraining: The difference between fitness & injury”

Posture & Pain:

“Since dogs can’t talk, how do you know when they have mild pain or discomfort?

Sometimes the signs of something brewing are much more subtle and knowing what to look for is part of keeping them living long, active, and healthy lives. Even your dog’s stance reveals potential problem areas and discomfort.  How they carry their head, the placement of their feet under their body and the position of the tail all give signs of their physical wellbeing.  

Continue reading “Posture & Pain:”

Does a dog have a collarbone?

Dog anatomy fact, canine rehabilitation

A dogs shoulder consists of 25 muscles responsible for movement and stability! 😲⁣

In people, the collarbone (clavicle) 🦴connects the arms to the trunk (torso). This helps us push, lift and swing the arms. Dogs don’t push and lift with their front limbs. Their body is designed for running, jumping, and turning – locomotion. Dogs lack a fully developed collarbone and instead have a small cartilaginous structure (softer than bone). This design allows for enhanced speed and agility. Continue reading “Does a dog have a collarbone?”

Daily “Physiotherapy” Increases Life Span of Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, DM, Physiotherapy, Canine Rehabilitation

A diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy (DM) can be devastating to a pet parent. I can say that as a pet parent who has lived through it. To find out that your dog has a progressive neurological condition that will eventually lead to paralysis, may leave you feeling raw, lost, angry…. And it’s often hard to grasp the disease progression because your dog is usually doing very well when symptoms are first noticed. If you have gone through this experience, you may have experienced an onslaught of questions running through your mind. Is it going to hurt, how long does my dog have, can I do anything to slow it down….? And the list goes on. Continue reading “Daily “Physiotherapy” Increases Life Span of Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy”

Canine Back Pain & “Spondylosis”


Please welcome Lola to the Upward Dog Pack! This 16yo cutie has had some difficulty with coordination and weakness in her hind end as a result of a condition called spondylosis in her thoracic spine (mid spine where ribs attach). What is spondylosis? One might call it “age related changes” in your dog’s spine caused by everyday wear and tear and/or past trauma. Below is a little information on what the condition is, how it might look and what to do. Please note that this is general information and that it’s still important to seek out medical assistance. Continue reading “Canine Back Pain & “Spondylosis””