1. If your dog hurt his leg, take him straight to the vet for any injury that might be serious.
2. Treat acute, inflamed injuries with cold. Treat chronic injuries with heat.
3. Keep your canine athlete in top shape with regular massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure, or other therapies.
4. Use supplements, improved diet and herbs to speed tissue repair and reduce inflammation around your dog's injury.
So please everyone help and support
Dogs At Risk for Pulling Muscles
A muscle strain in the dog's leg, then a pulled ligament, a sprain, a bruise - pretty soon we’re talking about serious problems. Canine sports injuries are increasingly common, but there is much you can do to catch them early, treat them correctly, and reduce the risk of your dog getting badly hurt, needing surgery, or having to retire from competition.
Every dog is a candidate for injury, but those at special risk include:
- overweight dogs
- weekend athletes
- couch potatoes
- dogs with arthritis
- dogs engaged in search and rescue
- dogs who compete in flyball, agility, freestyle, disc dog (Frisbee), field work, dock diving, obedience, weight pulling, dog sledding, and other sports
Signs of Injury in Dogs
They aren’t always obvious. In fact, as Morgan Spector notes in Clicker Training for Obedience, dogs are very good at hiding injuries, a behavior that stems from an atavistic survival mechanism. As a result, we seldom realize that dogs are in pain until the damage is serious.
To identify injuries early, train yourself to be observant. Get in the habit of watching your dog stretch, turn, walk, run, and jump. Ask for help from visually oriented friends and trainers. When alignment is perfect and muscles are toned, a dog’s motions are balanced and graceful. Serious limps are obvious, such as if your dog sprained a wrist, but if you pay attention, you’ll notice more subtle symptoms, like tightness, tenderness, restricted movement, and even the slightest change of gait.
Range-of-motion exercises, such as using a treat or toy to lure your dog into a tight turn to the right or left or raising and lowering her head, can call attention to minor problems. Daily massage and gentle touch offer clues, too. Does your dog turn away when you stroke or press her hindquarters? Does any area feel unusually warm? Hard or stiff? Tender or swollen? Not the way it felt yesterday? Touch is one of the fastest ways to discover inflammation, muscle strains, and other discomforts.
When you notice changes, keep track of them in a calendar or notebook. If needed, an accurate history of symptoms and treatments will help veterinarians and other therapists understand your dog’s injury.
Obviously, any serious problem should be attended to at once. Whenever you’re in doubt, go straight to your veterinarian, rehabilitation clinic, veterinary chiropractor, canine massage therapist, or other specialist.
First Aid for Dogs with Pulled Muscles
The most important first-aid treatment for any injury is rest, and the simplest additional therapies are heat and cold. Which should you use when?
An acute injury is one that flares up quickly, within 24 to 48 hours of the incident that caused it. Acute injuries usually result from a sprain, fall, collision, or other impact, and they produce sharp sudden pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, skin that feels hot to the touch, and inflammation.
Cold is recommended for acute injuries because it reduces swelling and pain. Injured dogs instinctively seek puddles, ponds, streams, and winter snow banks in which to stand or lie.
A bag of frozen peas makes a convenient cold pack because it can be placed just about anywhere on the body, conforming to fit. Cold therapy products for pets, such as On-Ice bags and covers, are available from pet supply stores. Medical supply companies sell a variety of cold packs for sports injuries. The ones that contain a gel that stays malleable even when frozen are especially helpful for molding around a dog’s musculature.
Because cold restricts circulation and ice left in place for too long can cause complications, wrap any uncovered ice pack in a towel before applying it, remove the ice pack after 10 or 15 minutes, and wait at least two hours before reapplying. Never apply cold treatments just before exercise, workouts, training sessions, or competition.
Heat is recommended for chronic injuries, which are slow to develop, get better and worse, and cause dull pain or soreness. The usual causes of chronic injuries are overuse, arthritis, and acute injuries that were never properly treated. Heat therapy helps sore, stiff muscles, arthritic joints, and old injuries feel better because it stimulates circulation, helps release tight muscles, and alleviates spasms.
Heat is not recommended for acute injuries, areas of swelling or inflammation, or for use immediately after exercise.
To apply moist heat safely and effectively, place a damp towel in a hot clothes dryer or microwave for a minute or two. Be sure the towel feels hot but not uncomfortably so (test it on your inner wrist and let it cool if necessary), then fold it to fit the affected area. An extra towel on top helps retain warmth. Apply heat to the injury for 10 to 15 minutes, then wait another 15 minutes or longer before reapplying.
Electric heating pads are not usually recommended for canine use. Microwavable pet heating pads like the Snuggle Safe and the ThermoWave release safe, gentle heat for hours.
Bodywork for Muscle Injury Relief
Massage is one of the easiest techniques for handlers to learn, and most dogs enjoy being stroked, kneaded, stretched, and rubbed. (See “What to Think About When Petting Your Dog,” for petting techniques.) Massage, myotherapy (trigger point work), and other hands-on techniques not only treat injuries, they help prevent them by improving circulation, repairing damaged tissue, soothing the patient, and restoring range of motion. Canine massage therapists and canine myotherapists are health care professionals with special training in the treatment of sports injuries.