Acupressure for active dogs

Add acupressure to your dog’s exercise regime, and you’ll give him the edge he needs to advance to new levels if conditioning.

Every dog has some athletic ability, although different canines have different innate skills. In fact, current research indicates that most dogs are highly adapted to exercise. They have excellent aerobic capacity, and their bodies are exceptionally efficient at absorbing nutrients from their food, thus making them superb athletes by nature. Acupressure can help to improve

The activity you select for your dog needs to fit his exercise preferences and his physical capabilities and requirements. Dogs with short legs are happy with “go-to-ground” work or agility training. Retrievers, sight and scent hounds with long legs and long snouts are keen to hunt and hike. Working dogs do their jobs with extraordinary physical and mental intensity, whether the work involves search and rescue, military tasks, or herding. Whatever the activity, all dogs need and want to participate in something that builds their strength and stamina and challenges their intelligence. Whether your dog is your running companion, hiking buddy, or a top-notch agility competitor, he needs and wants exercise, and that means he also needs conditioning.

Conditioning tips to get started

Before embarking on any exercise program, have your dog checked out by your veterinarian. Whatever the athletic endeavor, you want to be sure he’s healthy and capable of handling the rigors of the activity. Making physical demands on a dog that’s poorly conditioned is likely to lead to painful injuries.

  1. Conditioning programs have a lot in common no matter which sport or activity you and your dog are drawn to. All suggest you wait until your dog has reached skeletal maturity before engaging in strenuous exercise. This will allow his growth plates to solidify and soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments to become strong enough to withstand the demands of the workout.
  2. Another wise suggestion given by conditioning professionals – know your dog’s resting heart and respiratory rates so you can assess his recovery from progressive levels of exercise as his strength and endurance build. The average pulse rate for a small dog is 120 to 160 bpm (beats per minute) while a 30 lb to 60 lb dog’s pulse rate is approximately 120 bpm. The larger the dog the slower the pulse. The average canine respiratory rate is 10 to 30 breaths per minute; when panting, the rate can go up to 200 breaths per minute.

Other common condition program tips:

  1. When initiating training, start slowly and steadily increase “mileage” as the dog’s stamina and strength builds.
  2. Allow a five- to ten-minute warm-up period prior to exercise, and a five- to ten-minute cool-down after exertion.
  3. Research the appropriate diet for the dog’s exercise level.
  4. Don’t feed him right before or after exertion – leave an hour on each side of feeding.
  5. Always monitor safety conditions.

Acupressure adds an edge

By combining the advantages of acupressure with your conditioning program, your dog will benefit and perform even better than with exercise training alone. Add acupressure to your dog’s regime, and you are effectively giving him the edge he needs to continuously advance to new levels of conditioning.

Specific acupressure points can build muscle, and strengthen tendons and ligaments to enhance flexibility. Regularly offering your dog this particular acupressure session will go a long way to supporting his exercise regimen.

These acupressure points are recommended for enhancing endurance for any activity. Offer the session between exercise training bouts.

Canine-Endurance-815Lung 9 (Lu 9), Great Abyss – Supports respiratory function and helps build stamina.

Stomach 36 (St 36), Leg Three Mile – Known to increase endurance, help with digestion and nutrient absorption, and nourish muscles.

Gall Bladder 34 (GB 34), Yang Mound Spring – Nourishes and strengthens tendons and ligaments, and provides for the smooth flow of energy to all four limbs.

Spleen 6 (Sp 6), Three Yin Meeting – Facilitates blood flow to the muscles, and reduces the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles while also benefiting fatigued extremities.

Every dog deserves to enjoy the vitality that proper conditioning can bring.


Amy Snow is one of the authors of ACU-DOG: A Guide to Canine Acupressure, ACU-CAT: A Guide to Feline Acupressure, and ACU-HORSE: A Guide to Equine Acupressure. They founded Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Resources, which offers books, manuals, online training courses, DVDs, apps, meridian charts, consulting, and many more acupressure learning tools and opportunities. Email: tallgrass@animalacupressure