Pronation refers to the movement of limbs, referring to motion toward the outside plane of the body. Supination, a term often paired with pronation, refers to motion toward the center of the body. Although a normal part of the dog’s movement, pronation can become distorted and have a negative effect.
According to canine rehabilitation practitioner Debbie Gross Saunders, a dog should possess normal pronation of approximately 45 degrees, starting at the elbow and hip joints.
A Dog’s Gait
The dog’s joints should be flexible. When dogs change direction while moving, it is necessary for their legs to be capable of sufficient rotation to provide fluid motion. Sturdy pasterns—the dog’s “ankle” (actually its heel)—provide support for this motion
Pronounced Pronation: Standing
A dog with forelegs having pronounced pronation is said to have an “easty-westy” front. The easty-westy front often results from pasterns weakened by excessive exercise when the dog was a developing puppy, but may be hereditary.
Dogs with weakness in their forelimbs can be assisted through range-of-motion stretching exercises. Trotting the dog in alternating circles, weaving through traffic cones, or in alternating left and right turns will strengthen both pronation and supination.
Dogs require a certain degree of pronation and supination to maintain a normal gait. Many resources exist for dog trainers and owners that can assist with physically conditioning a dog.