What are muscle strains in dogs?

Muscle strains in dogs, also known as a ‘pulled muscle’, is the stretching or tearing of muscle fibres. Mild cases involve the stretching or tearing of only a few muscle fibres whilst a severe case means that the whole muscle is torn. We usually grade muscle strains according to type 1, type 2 and type 3 severity with type 3 being a complete tear.

Why does my dog strain a muscle? 

Muscle strains in dogs happen when the muscle has been stretched beyond its limits but it can also happen when a muscle is forced to contract too strongly. A dog can strain a muscle or a tendon. 

Athletic dogs are most prone to strains but it can also happen to our pet dogs when they engages in sudden activities and repetitive behaviours, such as jumping, twisting and hard braking to fetch a ball, jumping out of a car or off a bed, and excessive running. Slips, falls and direct trauma can also result in strains.

How we can help

When a muscle or tendon is injured, it develops a dense scar tissue that can leave the muscle feeling stiff and affected by a lack of movement. Once scar tissue grows thick and firm, the affected muscle becomes shorter and weaker which causes pain and leaves the muscle prone to further injury. It also puts unnecessary tension on tendons which can result in chronic and painful tendonitis. In addition, it has the potential to trap nerves which may lead to pain, atrophy, circulatory changes and numbness.

At Paws4Paws we take a multimodal approach to your dog’s muscle strain. This means we use a variety of modalities to aid your dog in healing such as remedial massage therapy, myofascial pain release, trigger point therapy and acupressure. In particular we help to reduce scar tissue formation, break down already existing scar tissue, remove damaged cells and toxins to stimulate healing after injury, and alleviate pain and stiffness.