Stretch Your Dog Healthy
by Raquel Wynn
Personal trainer and holistic health specialist Raquel Wynn is a strong proponent of massage and stretching as preventative medicine for both humans and animals. In her latest book Stretch Your Dog Healthy, Raquel teaches you how to stretch your dog from nose to tail, and she also talks about massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, Reiki, detoxing, herbs, and more.
The book starts out with Raquel’s story of how she used stretching to rehabilitate both the minds and bodies of her two adopted dogs: Scottish Terrier Angus and Bichon Jake. The story has a happy ending, and these little guys are truly lucky to have ended up in her care. It is also a great example of how alternative methods can work wonders where traditional medicine fails (or comes with very unpleasant side effects).
“Stretch Your Dog” is divided into three parts: I – Flexibility for Fido, II – Massage and Routines, and III – For the Health of Your Hound. There are also a few appendixes (chakra chart, herbs), a glossary, lists of resources, and recommended reading.
Part I contains basic dog health information and a chart where you can record your dog’s current health to help keep track of improvements as you start your stretch and massage routine. It then moves on to stretching exercises with pictures of how to perform each stretch, with advice on modifications to each (very useful for me – Sadie will not lie on her side or back unless she’s asleep).
Part II talks about massage and includes instructions and photos of how to perform massages on different areas of your pet. It also includes specific stretching and massage routines to help with a variety of issues (“Grounding”, “Stress buster”, “Balancing Yin/Yang”, “Shoulder issues”, “Arthritis”, etc.). The acupressure, aromatherapy, Reiki and Holds sections are shorter overviews, with a few specific key points on each.
In Part III, Raquel discusses what she calls “Dirty Dog Syndrome” – dogs suffering toxic overload from medications, chemicals, food preservatives, etc – and how you can help prevent this from happening (with the help of stretching, exercise, food choices, herbs, etc.). She also covers common ailments and natural remedies as alternatives to allopathic (i.e. conventional Western) medicine.
I would describe this book as a thorough instruction manual for stretching, a nice overview of massage, and a great source for learning a bit more about a variety of alternative therapies and techniques. I recommend it to any dog owner who is interested in playing an active role in improving and/or maintaining his/her dogs’ health and longevity. Sure, it does take a bit of time to go through and do a thorough stretching/massage routine, but it is a tremendous opportunity to bond with your pet, as well as assess his/her health and catch any issues early on. And if you’re short on time one day, just do a few stretches or massage strokes – every little bit helps.