Rehabilitation Exercises to Support Arthritic Pets from Home


Supporting Pets with Arthritis from Home with Rehabilitation Exercises and Balto®

Arthritis, or inflammation of a joint, is a common condition amongst dogs and cats. As the cartilage in the joint becomes damaged and breaks down over time, the bones in the joint rub together causing pain and inflammation. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease (DJD). OA occurs when there is inflammation and degeneration of one or more joints.

What Rehabilitation Exercises Can I Do at Home with My Dog?

Sit to Stand:

This exercise is as simple as it sounds and is used to strengthen your dog’s hind legs during rehabilitation.

  • While standing in front of your dog, ask them to sit.
  • Once your dog has sat, ask them to stand.
  • Take a few step forward and repeat.

Back Steps:

Balance and proprioception are important during rehabilitation. This exercise helps your dog understand where their body is in space.

  • Using positive reinforcement (such as a favorite treat or toy), walk towards your dog.
  • Be sure that you are not holding the positive reinforcement too low or too high.
  • Allow your dog to take at least five steps backwards before allowing them to have the positive reinforcement.


Using poles that are placed a few inches off the ground can encourage your dog to lift and extend their legs during rehabilitation.

  • Place 3 to 5 poles a few inches off the ground (4 to 8 inches).
  • Slowly walk your dog over each pole ensuring that they are lifting and extending each leg without hitting a pole.
  • There and back counts as one.

How Can I Support My Dog During Rehabilitation?

If your dog needs some extra assistance during these rehabilitation exercises, or just general arthritis support, Balto USA braces can help. The Balto Body Lift – Body Lift with Handles helps support your dog’s weight while providing compression throughout the proximal area of their spinal column. This brace disperses your dog’s body weight evenly amongst their body allowing for full body assistance with not only rehabilitation, but day-to-day activities as well. Many Balto® braces provide compression to the associated joints that help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis as well.