Article written by certified animal chiropractor Dr. Alisha Barnes
Seeing your pet struggle to move and get around can be heartbreaking. You want to jump right in and do everything you can to help them, but it is often at the expense of your own back. Many pet parents end up with backaches, muscle strains, and shoulder injuries while trying to assist their beloved fur babies, and I don’t want that to happen to you!
As your friendly chiropractor, let me jump in and offer some ways you can protect yourself while supporting your pet.
1. Use Proper Ergonomics
This can be a pretty dull topic, but it is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself. Simple things like using your legs to lift, contracting your core, and hip hinging can be the very thing that keeps you from experiencing an injury.
When you are bending over to pick up your pup, you are putting a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine and the corresponding muscles. Do this enough times, and it is a recipe for injury. But don’t fret; I’m here to help. When lifting your precious fur baby, bend your knees, draw in your belly button (also known as abdominal bracing) and bend at the waist while keeping your back as straight as possible (hip hinging). Then, use your strong leg muscles to help you lift. These combined motions protect your spine and contract your core, reducing strain on the more vulnerable discs, ligaments, and tendons. It can be tough to remember to perform these subtle movements, but it should come as second nature with enough practice.
2. Utilize Proper Tools and Gear
There are so many great products to help you assist your handicapped pet. A proper lifting harness can be a game-changer for you and your pet. A lifting harness helps to distribute the load evenly, you are able to support your pet more efficiently, and it is immensely more comfortable for them. Win: win. Dog wheelchairs are also a great option to allow your pet to get around with no heavy lifting on your part.
3. Schedule Some Body Work for Yourself
Taking the time to take care of your own body is a crucial component of taking care of your pet. They need you to stay as healthy as possible, and one of the best ways you can do that is with regular body work. Massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic adjustments can be a great way to keep your body in tip-top shape and reduce the risk of injuries. Aim to schedule somebody to work monthly or more frequently, depending on your provider’s recommendations. The investment in your health will pay tenfold. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Keeping yourself healthy is crucial to taking care of your handicapped pet. They depend on you so much that you owe it to them to take care of yourself. Self-care is essential for all of us, and the two leggeds can’t be overlooked.
Dr. Alisha Barnes
Dr. Alisha Barnes of Tails Chiro Care is a dog lover and pet chiropractor with years of experience helping dogs regain their mobility, improve their overall health, and help alleviate their pain.
To learn more about Dr. Barnes, visit her website at https://tailschirocare.com/