Canine Physical Therapy Explored And Explained For Dog Parents – 005

In DLU Podcast, Dog Lovers Unleashed podcast by Julie MillerLeave a Comment

Quick Summary:

In this episode (005), Amie Hesbach and I share our insights from our collective 40 years of experience in the canine physical therapy field.  We talk about what physical therapy is and the many ways it can help your dog. We also explore how different physical therapy and physical rehabilitation can be – listen in to see what I mean.  This episode is full of great information to help dog parents understand how to find the right rehab practitioner, what to look for, what to be aware of (including some buyer beware tips), to trust your gut when you think something is wrong with your dog, and so much more. 

More Info:

Here are some highlights and topics discussed in this episode:

Amie and I are both starting podcasts around the same time. Mine is obviously called Dog Lovers Unleashed. 😉

Amie’s podcast is launching in the fall and is called “Paws, Push, Play, The Animal Physical Therapy Podcast by EmpowerPhysio.” She will be specifically talking all about animal physical therapy. So for those of you who are interested in it, follow her on Facebook and/or Instagram (EmpowerPhysioPT) and you’ll be the first to know when her podcast launches.

We discuss the value of physical therapy and how it has contributed to the field of animal rehabilitation in an extremely beneficial way.

We share with dog parents the real scoop on rehabilitation of animals by various practitioners, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, hydrotherapists, massage therapists, canine fitness trainers, etc. And most importantly, we shine a light on how the background of these different professionals matters greatly in their approach to rehab.

We discuss the difference between animal physical therapy and animal physical rehabilitation…and why these different terms are used. For those who don’t know, the terms “physical therapy” and “physical therapist” are protected terms in the United States and therefore can only be used by licensed physical therapists. Unfortunately, many dog parents are misled on rehab practitioners’ backgrounds and credentials. So buyer beware. Do your homework.

Each professional evaluates their patients (whether dogs or humans) through the eyes of our backgrounds. In the dog world, the way veterinarians evaluate dogs is typically very different from how a canine physical therapist evaluates a dog. Listen in to this episode to hear how important the difference is and to understand why the team approach is best.

Amie mentions the “Alphabet Soup” in the interview – these are the letters behind peoples’ names and how they vary in our field of animal care.

We discuss certifications – and to understand that the background and foundational training along with continuing education and experience level matters the most. Having the CCRT or CCRP letters behind your name doesn’t in any way determine quality or effectiveness of treatments. 

Big take away: When pursuing physical rehabilitation for your dog, look at the person’s background and experience level.

Consider bedside manner, handling of the dog, and how tolerant your dog is of the treatment. We talk about muzzles and why there is no need to use one when doing physical therapy with dogs.

If your dog is being muzzled in order to perform a physical rehab modality or treatment, please seriously consider whether or not this is best for your dog. We physical therapists believe that causing pain or discomfort to the level of a dog biting is absolutely unacceptable and not in the dog’s best interest.

It is so important to take the time to develop trust with both the dog and the dog parent when doing canine rehab.

Dogs give us many signs before they bite. Make sure that your therapist is very in tune with your dog. It is essential.  Dogs DO talk to us and give us feedback. And this is when the magic happens.

Remember, the canine patients need to feel comfortable with treatment and tolerate it, just like we would as humans.

Seek a virtual consult if there is no one qualified in your area. See resources below on virtual consultations.

Finally, know that your home program which you do each day with your dog is the absolute most important aspect of your dog getting physical therapy. We talk about this a lot in this episode.

Also, your dog’s rehab is only as good as the assessment or evaluation. So, again, be sure to seek out someone with a lot of experience and a highly educated background.

There is much more in this episode to help dog parents navigate the world of canine physical rehabilitation. You can listen to the episode right here on this page.

Treats for You:

Resources discussed in this episode include:

Amie Hesbach can be reached through her website – – or via email.

She is currently doing virtual consultations worldwide and I can not recommend anyone more highly!

Her email address is:

She can be found on both Facebook and Instagram at “EmpowerPhysioPT.”

My canine physical therapy website has various resources as well as a growing directory of qualified canine physical therapists.

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