Slow Lead Walking is the most commonly prescribed therapeutic exercise, yet one of the hardest to achieve!
Slow Lead Walking is beneficial in many pet physiotherapy and rehabilitation cases for example where there is lameness, reduced or restricted range of motion, muscle loss, proprioception deficit, weakness or as part of rehabilitation post-surgery.
A dogs natural walking gait sequence is:-
- Left Forelimb
- Left Hindlimb
- Right Hindlimb
- Right Forelimb
However, it is common for dogs to trot rather than walk.
With a dog on a lead on an even and non-slip surface, slow walking will encourage each individual limb to bear a substantial amount of weight with each step. The duration of the exercise will be determined on a case-by-case basis by your Animal Physiotherapist or Veterinarian.
During a slow lead walk, it is important that the dog is not pulling on the lead and their head is at a neutral height i.e. not on the ground sniffing.
Remember the key is SLOW, a good slow lead walk should challenge the owner, as well as the dog!
Sophie Sparrow BSc(Hons), DipAnPhys, RVN
RVN Pet Physio