Try our new beta site for improved user experience!

Tips From The Vet

What sort of things should you remember when taking care of an agility dog? Read these tips from vet and OneMind Dogs Coach Minna Martimo!

To be able to enjoy doing agility with your dog for as long as possible, it's important that you take care of your team mate's physical well-being on both training days and competition days.


Vet Minna’s tips for taking care of an agility dog’s physique

  1. Make sure you follow appropriate warm up, cool down and hydration procedures for your agility dog depending on the weather. Read more.
  2. Keep track of how your dog behaves and moves (trots, canters, gallops, sits down, lies down, gets up from lying down, jumps or turns). Examine your dog thoroughly with your hands on a regular basis. This way you can notice problems early on. Trust yourself if you feel something is “off” and seek professional help if necessary.
  3. Your agility dog needs to be in good physical condition and not obese. Dogs’ primary moving muscles and stabilizer muscles both need to be strong and flexible.
  4. Take care of your dog’s physical health regularly with treatments such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, acupuncture and/or massage. It is better to prevent problems from arising by being proactive than letting them pile on and treating them as they become problematic.
  5. Trim your dog’s nails regularly and have his anal glands checked if necessary.
  6. Be reasonable with how much you train. Learning shouldn't involve many repetitions when correct methods are used. The handler can also learn a lot without involving the dog.
  7. Remember that dogs also need days off from ‘work’ (hobbies and intense exercise)!


Minna Martimo is an agility enthusiast and OneMind Dogs coach from Northern Finland, where she also works as a regional vet. Minna started with agility in 2000 and has been working as a vet since 2003 with both companion and farm animals.


Ann Ramsay

How do you feel about spaying and neutering in relation to a sport dog. As you know, we do that in the US on many dogs.
thank you
Ann Ramsay

2 years, 4 months ago

Minna Martimo OneMind Dogs Coach 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Ann for your question!

There are pro´s and con´s.

I think that if the dog is spayed or neutered as an ADULT (once the growth plates have closed) and if it makes the dog´s/owner´s normal life less stressful and doing the sports with the dog a lot easier (if the dog has a lot of hormonal symptoms, freaquent heats+pseudopregnancies) it is quite okay to make the decision to spay/neuter the dog. Atleast then there is no risk for developing a pyometra.

There is a lot of data on both for and against spaying and neutering. There might be an increased risk for some types of tumors in spayed/neutered dogs, then again some studies have shown an increased risk for mammary gland tumors if the dog is left intact.

In Finland we don´t really do early spay/neutering (before puberty). There are studies that have found delayed closure of the growth plates in dogs that were spayed/neutered before puberty and also increased risk for different orthopedic conditions.

Chris Zink has written a good article on these issues and studies on them: Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete: One Veterinarian´s Opinion (Chris Zink DVM, PhD, DACVP, DACVSMR 2005/revised and updated 2013).

Ann Ramsay 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you so much, I will read the article. Very helpful!

Sign in to see all comments!