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The dog is a highly social cooperative hunting animal, companionship is essential for his contentment. He has an excellent sense of smell, light years ahead of ours, but a poor sense of taste! So it is just as well that his high stomach acid levels are capable of dealing with almost anything!
The dogs hearing is very acute hearing much higher frequencies than we can, and his eyes sensitive to movement and able to see better in the dark than we can, but he only has limited binocular vision.
The spine of the dog is very mobile, and is used extensively in running to extend his stride, his tail is used to control fast cornering whilst in a chase. Like the cat, the dog does not have a proper collar bone, instead he has a strong but flexible fibrous band. This gives him strength to support the powerful muscles of his front end, but flexibility to allow him to be manoeuvrable when hunting.
The lifespan of dogs is very variable, with the smaller mongrels usually living the longest, often well into their teens. Most larger breeds of dog are old by the time they are 12. Nowadays canine longevity is thought to relate almost as much to upbringing and feeding, as it is to genetics. Consequently natural rearing and feeding is now considered important in maintaining long-term health.
Often we expect our dogs to travel long distances with us cramped in the back of a car on a hard surface. This subjects their bodies to considerable ‘whole body vibration’ micro-trauma, something which is becoming more generally recognised as having the potential to affecting health and well-being. Making sure that your pet has an adequately cushioned surface to lie on, frequent brakes for water and exercise, and a good circulation of fresh air is important. If your dog does seem to be stiff and lack lustre after a lot of travelling we have been told by owners that they have found that cranial sacral treatment has helped to restore comfort and mobility to their pet.
Like us, our dogs also age, so stiffness associated with wear and tear, and previous injury is common, and, as for cats -owners have said that they have found the situation can be helped with Sutherland’s gentle release techniques derived from osteopathy.
Often dogs suffering discomfort can become irritable or aggressive as a result of pain they are experiencing, this may lead to ‘behavioural problems’. We work closely with canine behaviourists in this area. Owners have said that they believe that our treatment has helped to address the cause of the pain, therefore enabling the dog to relax and become less defensive, so assisting his retraining program.
OWNER EXPECTATIONS for dogs.
Most people regard their dogs as pets, and will try to keep them for life, and dogs are happy to bond with their owners. There are often problems however, associated with a single dog being left alone all day without companionship. As a pack animal this is very stressful, and can cause many stress related physical and behavioural problems.
Some dogs are kept as working dogs, and some breeds have traits that make them particularly suited to this, rather than being kept as children’s pets, and often fed too many unsuitable and fattening treats! For working dogs, obedience athleticism, fast turns and endurance are needed.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG for dogs.
All dogs are potential athletes and may twist, strain or collide forcefully in the thrill of the chase. This can cause strain and compressions to the body, which may manifest as loss of athleticism related to paw, limb or spinal lameness. Collisions involving the neck and head may jar the joints of the cervical spine, and the sutures of the skull. This can cause pain and stiffness of the neck, disturbance of hearing or vision, and disruption to the nervous system. The dog may shake his head, have problems grooming, and become generally oversensitive and irritable. This may lead to behavioural problems.
Other causes of injury, may be due to a tight collar on a dog that pulls, this can cause distortion of the cervical spine, and can even lead to nerve and spinal cord damage, as can, in my opinion, the misuse of an over tight ‘haltie-type’ nose control device. When using these ‘pressure’ devices it is vitally important to make sure that the pressure [or pull] is immediately released so that the line is slack, and never held under tension.