Keeping Your Dog’s Muscles Healthy and Strong

 by Christopher Durin

Some breeds are meant to withstand hard physical activity while others are made for the comfortable life of being a lap dog. Nevertheless, all dogs love to play with their owners. Playing with your dog is an enjoyable way to exercise. However, owners should be careful not overdo these activities as they can lead to muscle injuries.

As owners, you should be wary of these injuries because they can affect your dog’s mobility. Muscle injuries are quite common and can be very hard to detect, but they are very easy to treat.

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Common Muscle Injuries

Muscle pain in dogs can be attributed to three types of muscle injuries. The first one is a muscle spasm, a condition wherein the muscle involuntarily contracts. This injury can be caused by a variety of neurological or physical disorders.

Another form of muscle problem is a pinched nerve. It happens when pressure coming from an inflamed muscle compresses a nerve.

The last more common form of muscle injury is called muscle knots. 

Although muscles are made up of string-like cells, they cannot be knotted. A muscle knot refers to a painful tight group of muscles that may feel hotter compared to the surrounding areas. Muscle knots can reduce a dog’s mobility and can cause lameness. The injury is often a result of strain or an orthopedic disorder.

Keeping Your Dog’s Muscle Healthy

To address the muscle pain, the cause should be clearly identified. If the pain or injury is a result of a neurological or orthopedic disorder, then treatment can be complex and would certainly need the expertise of a vet.

On the other hand, when the muscle pain is only due to strain, then there are many things an owner can to provide pain relief.

Massage is a good way to relax your dog and alleviate some of the pain and inflammation. In addition, using hot or cold therapy makes the massage more effective. Trigger point therapy I have found very helpful and there are numerous professional physical therapy techniques which can help.

Ultimately, prevention is always better than cure. 

Make sure that when you undertake physical activities with your dog, you always start things easy. Also, be conscious of when your dog gets tired - never push your dog over its limits.

Another thing, keep your dog well hydrated and make sure that your dog is receiving the right amounts of protein, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E as these nutrients are vital for muscle development and repair.

Articles by Christopher Durin:
Tell-tale Signs Your Dog May Have Arthritis
Nutrition and Dog Arthritis
Talking to Your Vet: How Safe Are NSAIDs?

Related articles:
Talk To Me About Arthritis
Acupuncture Is Not Voodoo
Don't Forget The Physical Therapy
Underwater Treadmill


  1. My dog loves to play fetch, but I have to be careful not to overdo it with him. He will run after a ball forever, but the stopping and starting motion seems to be hard on his legs sometimes. He definitely gets sore, so I try not to push him too hard.

  2. Hi Lindsay, yes fetch is unfortunately quite hard on the body. Particularly some dogs stop really hard, JD for example. We have to limit how much fetching he does and control how far we throw. It's too bad, because dogs love to fetch.

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  4. Playing with your dog would help their body strength to develop and as well as the closeness between you and your pet. Spend even just a little time with your pet. It is part of your obligation being an owner.

  5. In order to maintain a good health of your dog it is very much important that you spend some quality time him !!! dogs love to play so you can play with him!!!


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