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An Innovative Senior Dog Program with Carrie Smith

An Innovative Senior Dog Program with Carrie Smith

An Innovative Senior Dog Program with Carrie Smith

This course includes
50:23 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion


Welcome to an Innovative Senior Dog Program with Carrie Smith

Relevance to Physiotherapy

Animal rehab therapists see senior dogs on a regular basis for weakness, stiffness and overall loss of mobility. There are simple and effective exercises that can help these special patients live longer and more comfortably.

Learning Objectives and Session Content

Dogs age faster than we do!

Over 40% of Canadian homes include at least one dog, and in recent years, owners are becoming more proactive about helping their aging pets stay active and mobile. This presentation outlines a 12-week Senior Dog Mobility Program, which helps dogs improve overall strength, balance, proprioception, and mobility as they enter their golden years. Just like in humans, a simple walk is not enough to maintain strength and fitness.

At the end of this online physiotherapy course, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the signs of aging and common conditions seen in senior dogs
  2. Use fun and easy ways to mobilize fascia in their own dog
  3. Understand hind end, front end and core strengthening exercises using common household items


This presentation will be most useful to physiotherapists who are involved in animal rehab, but attendees who are not practicing animal rehab will be able to use these techniques and exercises on their own dogs and may become interested in pursuing animal rehab themselves.

Supporting Evidence

There is very little research in the field of animal rehab, particularly when it comes to senior dogs. The majority of techniques and exercises are extrapolated from human physiotherapy. Those of us practicing animal rehab see a huge difference in overall mobility once dogs start doing a specific exercise program. It is common to see changes like being able to do the stairs again, being able to get up on furniture again and being able to get into a vehicle again. These changes can actually save a dog’s life, as problems with mobility are one of the most common reasons for euthanasia.


The format of this talk can be either a powerpoint lecture, or if the organizing team can bring in demo dogs, it can be a practical session using the dogs.


One of the goals of the Animal Rehab Division is to become more apparent to physiotherapists and to increase the number of Canadian physiotherapists who are practicing animal rehab. One of these ways is to present at national conferences and to introduce animal rehab to the mainstream attendees. This topic will bring a bit of fun to the Forum and show physiotherapists how their skill set can be easily transferred to animals.


This presentation will help anyone who owns a dog and will show physiotherapists how their skill set can be used to treat a completely different type of patient!

Please note that this course was recorded at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association 2019 Forum in Charlottetown, PEI.

The instructors
Canadian Physiotherapy Association

As the vital partner for the profession, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) leads, advocates, and inspires excellence and innovation to promote health. CPA’s goal is to provide exceptional service, valuable information and connections to the profession of physiotherapy, across Canada and around the world.

Carrie Smith
BScPT, Certified Canine Rehab Therapist
Carrie Smith is the owner of Kemptville Physiotherapy Centre in North Grenville. She has been working as a physiotherapist for over 30 years and started treating dogs about 15 years ago. After working in vet clinics with clients for just over ten years, Carrie decided to expand her practice and open up a canine physiotherapy clinic right next to her practice in Kemptville. Her Animal Rehabilitation clinic is one of only three of its kind in Canada.
Course Material included in this course
  • Lessons
  • Welcome and Slides
  • Health Issues in Senior Dogs
  • Why Senior Dog Program?
  • Structure of the Program
  • Week 1 - Important tests
  • Week 2 - Hind Limp
  • Week 3 - Front Limb
  • Weeks 4 to 6 (Toes, Proprioception & Final Class)
  • Mobility Aid
  • Questions
  • Feedback
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