A Beginner’s Guide to Muscle Health in Dogs

Taking care of a dog is a huge responsibility, whether you’re raising him from a puppy or welcoming a senior dog into your home. You’re responsible for feeding him, making sure he gets enough exercise, and maintaining his overall quality of life. That’s a tall order, and there are a lot of different things to think about; from your dog’s diet to any special needs that must be addressed. At Wapiti, we’re always here to help you with every aspect of taking care of your furry family members. Today we’re tackling muscle health in dogs.

Your Dog’s Musculoskeletal System

It’s thanks to muscles that you’re able to move your body around. The same goes for your dog. Both you and your furry friend are made up of muscle tissue connected to bones, skin, tendons, and other muscles. The voluntary contractions of these muscles are what allows the body to move. Other muscles like those in your heart and lungs flex involuntarily. Since the musculoskeletal system plays such a vital role in your dog’s daily life, it’s essential that it develops properly and stays in good working order through your dog’s entire life.

How to Bulk Up Your Dog Naturally

Maybe your puppy was the runt of the litter, or perhaps you’ve adopted an older dog who didn’t get the necessary nutrition earlier in life. Poor diet or lack of exercise can lead to muscle weakness, atrophy, and eventual injury. When it comes to ensuring your dog has enough muscle, you should be conscious of a few factors, such as the ideal average weight for your dog’s breed.

Work with your veterinarian to determine what kind of diet would be best for your dog. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and specific needs, your vet may recommend a specialty dog food or a helpful supplement. Be sure to stick to the plan you develop with your vet. Don’t feed your dog any more or any less than specified, or she could end up unhealthily over or underweight.

In addition to diet, make sure she’s getting the correct amount of exercise. You want to be sure that she’s running off energy and staying in shape each day, which is great both mentally and physically for your dog. But don’t work her too hard–particularly if you’re training her to be a hunting dog or to compete in another sport. Overwork can lead to trauma and chronic injuries.

Canine Muscular Issues

Your dog’s muscles support most other bodily functions your pup needs to thrive, so it’s important that you are aware of what muscular issues your dog may be predisposed to and what some of the most common symptoms of those conditions are. It’s impossible to avoid all injuries–after all, your dog could hurt herself just walking around your home–but you can familiarize yourself with some common muscular issues and be prepared for that day if it ever comes.

Muscular Trauma

You’ve probably heard of a professional athlete injuring or tearing his or her anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. A similar injury can happen in dogs, although the area in question is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Your dog could hurt this key ligament during a sudden trauma like a fall, or through repeated stress on an area. Left untreated, muscular trauma such as an injured CCL can lead to chronic and acute pain, and even joint damage or lameness.

If you notice your dog limping, favoring a side, or refusing to let you touch a certain area of his body, that could be a sign that your dog has pulled a muscle or injured a tendon. In this state, your dog could be in a lot of pain, so you’ll need to act quickly. Visit a vet to pinpoint the source of the issue and come up with a treatment plan that will get your pup back on his feet.

Inflammation

Inflammation in canines is a general term. It can be caused by a wide range of issues, including muscular trauma, so we recommend viewing it as the result of a deeper problem and not as the issue itself. It can be difficult to see if a muscle is inflamed, particularly if your dog has a thick coat or if the muscle is not obviously swollen on the outside. Stay aware of how your dog moves when he’s healthy; that will help you recognize when something isn’t right. If you notice a red, sore-looking spot on your dog accompanied by heat or swelling, take a trip to the vet to find out what might be causing the inflammation. From there, your vet can recommend a treatment plan.  

Muscle Tumors

Tumors in any part of the body can be benign or malignant. Malignant tumors are cancerous, and can spread to other muscles and eventually other parts of the body. Depending on the type of tumor and where it’s located in a dog, treatment plans can range from chemotherapy and radiation to surgery. Regardless, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on any swelling or discomfort in your dog, and ask your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

Support Muscle Health with Wapiti Labs’ Strength Supplement

Help your dog continue to enjoy life at her peak performance with Wapiti Labs’ Strength Supplement. A special blend of elk velvet antler and traditional herbs make our natural supplements an excellent way to support your dog’s muscle health. While the Strength Supplement is ideal for older pets, puppies that fail to thrive, and dogs after a strenuous workout, it can also support normal healthy cartilage and joint function, as well as circulation and kidney health. The Strength Supplement can be an invaluable asset as you cultivate muscle health in your dog.

Our job is to help your pets thrive. At Wapiti Labs, we create supplements specially formulated to help your dog be her best self–at every stage of life. Our natural supplements are promoted and distributed by veterinarians who practice both Eastern and Western medicine. Contact us today to find out more about how our products can support your dog’s health.

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