Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Ain't Too Proud To Beg, But Is It OK For Our Backs?
You see it again and again in the Dachshund community - cute little wiener dogs begging or sitting up on their hind legs - looking so cute that you just want to eat 'em up, but is it safe for Dachshund backs? We hear the reply again and again - NO! - but that's not what a veterinarian said yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. In fact, this vet recommends the practice as a way to strengthen a Dachshund's back:
Jane's question: What are some ways to keep a dachshund's back healthy and strong? Other than preventing accidents, are there any exercises or supplements I can give my dog?
Heather Oxford, DVM: As you may know, many dachshunds have a hereditary back condition called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). This causes the discs to slowly degenerate, which makes them less resilient shock absorbers. Any activities that cause compression through the spine are considered high-risk for disc herniations and neurological problems including paralysis.
Such activities include running down stairs, jumping down from furniture, or jumping up and down on the hind limbs. At CARE, we encourage spinal flexibility and core strength by dozens of exercises. One such exercise is sitting up, a.k.a. "begging." This is a core strengthener that helps protect the back from injury. Also, I recommend fish oils that have concentrated amounts of omega-3s such as DHA and EPA. Not all fish oils are created equal, so make sure yours is independently tested for mercury and other contaminants, and that it meets its label claims.
We really need to know the truth because every time we sit up and look incredibly adorable, Dad tells us to stop. What's a wiener dog to do?