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How to Help a Dog With a Strained Muscle


Derrick Campana

If you're a pet owner, you know that your furry friend is always there for you when you need them. Whether you're having a bad day or just need someone to cuddle with, they're always happy to be by your side. But what do you do when your dog is the one who needs help? 

Dogs are active creatures and can easily strain a muscle while playing. If your dog is limping or seems to be in pain, here are a few ways to help them heal. Don't forget that dogs often try to act like nothing is wrong, so you'll need to be observant to tell if they're hurting. With a little bit of TLC, your pup should be feeling better in no time!

What’s a Dog Muscle Strain

Strains cause damage to the tendons that connect muscles and bones. Something like this could happen if your dog stretches too much or often. It can also occur when a dog plays, trips, falls, or jumps.

Although they sound alike, strains aren't sprains. Sprains injure the ligaments that hold bones together, which leads to damage to the joints. Any dog, from a hunting dog jumping hurdles to a family pet who falls off the couch or trips over a rock, is at risk of spraining a leg.

dog laying down

How Long for Dog Muscle Strain to Heal

Depending on the intensity of the injury, it usually takes around two weeks for a muscle strain to heal. However, some might experience minor discomfort and soreness for up to six weeks.

During this time, your dog won't be able to run or play as normal. You'll need to restrict their activity to help the healing process along. This is especially important in the first few days after the injury, when swelling is most likely to occur.

If you don't take care of your dog's muscle strain, it could become a more serious injury. It's important to seek professional help if you think your dog has strained a muscle so they can get the proper treatment.

How Much Exercise Should a Dog Get With a Strain

Again, this depends on the intensity of the injury. The key is to listen to your dog and let them guide you on how much exercise they can handle. Don't push them to exercise if they seem to be in pain. It's important to give their muscles time to heal so they don't worsen the injury.

You might need to take your dog on shorter walks or let them play in shorter bursts until they're feeling better. As long as they're showing signs of improvement, you're on the right track.

dog with carpal brace

How You Can Help

Depending on whether your dog has a strain or sprain and how severe it is, your veterinarian will decide how to treat them. As a first line of treatment, they'll probably want to avoid surgery unless a tendon or ligament is ruptured.

A typical treatment strategy for strains and sprains from your veterinarian can include the following:

Rest: This is vital for healing. Your dog will need to take it easy while their muscles recover.

Ice: Applying ice to the injured area can help reduce swelling and pain. Do this for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Compression: Using an orthopedic dog brace can help compress the injured area and support your dog's limb.

Elevation: Keeping the injured limb above the heart level can also help reduce swelling.

Anti-inflammatory medication: Your veterinarian might prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help with pain and swelling. As always, make sure you follow their instructions when giving your dog any medication.

Rehabilitation exercises: Once the swelling has gone down, your dog might need to do some physical therapy exercises to help them regain their strength and mobility.

dog with brace

Help Your Dog Heal With a Custom-Made Brace

If you own a dog, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of overactivity and how to prevent tendon injuries. Dog braces are an excellent way to support the injured area and help your pet recover quickly. If you want a custom-made brace for your dog, Bionic Pets will deliver!

Follow your vet’s instructions closely, give your dog plenty of rest, and be patient as they heal. Tendon injuries can take time to heal properly, but with proper care, your dog will be back to their old self in no time. Have you ever had a dog with a tendon injury? How did you treat it?