AKC Canine Health Foundation Launches Fundraising and Public Awareness Campaign on the Canine Athlete
Athletic events for dogs are on the rise and with that, so too are sports-related injuries in dogs. Understanding the proper conditioning, nutrition, training, and rehabilitation that are specific to the canine athlete is the focus of the Canine Athlete Initiative (CAI), a major fundraising and public awareness campaign launched today by the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF).

“Whether your dog joins you on your morning run, or participates in weekend agility competitions, all dogs are canine athletes,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF Chief Scientific Officer. “Canine sports medicine and the specific healthcare of athletes are of growing importance, and CHF is committed to being on the forefront, providing grants for cutting-edge research into nutrition, conditioning and rehabilitation techniques so that dogs can achieve maximum performance while preventing injury. CHF will also support research into those areas that are critical after injury occurs, including orthopedics, osteoarthritis and pain management.”

Through the Initiative, CHF is raising money to fund grants to researchers working in this emerging veterinary field. CAI also has a major public awareness component, educating the public on the joys of participating in canine athletic events, as well as the value of preventive examinations and optimal nutrition to keep all dogs at the top of their game.

The CAI begins July 16 and uses social media and online outreach, podcasts and website features to promote information on different types of sports-related injuries, care for the canine athlete, and other canine athlete-related health resources. The podcast release schedule and topics are:


  • Thursday, July 19: The Canine Athlete Initiative, Dr. Shila Nordone, Chief Scientific Officer, CHF
  • Thursday, July 26: Intro to Sports Medicine, Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, Cornell University
  • Thursday, August 2: Conditioning, Dr. Joe Spoo, DVM, The Gun Dog Doc
  • Thursday, August 9: Rehabilitation, Dr. Janet Van Dyke, Canine Rehabilitation Institute
  • Thursday, August 16: Cranial Cruciate Ligament, Dr. Jimi Cook, University of Missouri
  • Thursday, August 23: Osteoarthritis, Dr. Duncan Lascelles, North Carolina State University
  • Thursday, August 30: Pain Management, Dr. Steve Budsberg, University of Georgia
  • Thursday, September 6: Early Spay and Neuter, Dr. Ben Hart, UC Davis


Just like the world-class athletes that are participating in the Olympic Games in London, canine athletes need proper training and healthcare in order to sustain performance and participate in their sports for many years.

Visit www.akcchf.org/canineathlete for more information and access to all the podcasts.