Caring for Our Senior Dogs: How to Help Manage Muscle Atrophy
As a pet owner, it’s extremely difficult to see your dog suffer. So when your dog’s muscles begin to decline, simple tasks such as walking up the stairs, become difficult, it’s important to get your furry best friend the help he needs. Muscle atrophy is a type of muscle loss where your muscles start to weaken over time, and, although muscle atrophy is actually quite common in animals and humans, it is still very important that this issue does not go ignored.
Know the Signs
It’s important to know and watch out for the symptoms of muscle atrophy in your dog. Some warning signs to look for include:
- Muscle thinning: When your dog starts to lose muscle, you will see a noticeable difference in their bodies as a result of muscle thinning (like being able to fit your entire hand around your dog’s leg when you have previously not been able to do so).
- Weight loss: If your dog is losing muscle mass it will usually result in weight loss. If your dog is starting to look thinner or feels lighter than normal when you pick him up, it would be a good idea to start weekly weigh-ins. If you notice your dog is continuously losing weight, this is likely a sign of muscle atrophy.
- Weakness: You can tell if your dog is experiencing muscle weakness when its back legs are no longer able to help support its body. If your dog is experiencing muscle weakness, it will usually begin to favor its front legs. Your dog also may begin to have changes in posture and drag its paws or legs. Since muscles work in conjunction with bones to help the body stay upright, muscle loss will make it much more difficult for your dog to hold itself up.
Why Does This Happen?
Muscle Atrophy typically affects aging dogs and is actually quite common, especially as dogs become less active. As dogs get older, the types of nutrients they need changes, and they are no longer able to process protein in the same way they used to. Larger breed dogs generally age faster than smaller, which means they are more susceptible to muscle atrophy. Certain illnesses and diseases can also cause atrophy of muscles.
What to Do About It
If you think that your dog is experiencing muscle atrophy, it is important not to panic, especially considering the commonness of this occurrence. In order to help your dog, the first thing you should do is bring it to the vet in order to determine the root cause of the atrophy.
If the vet determines your dog is suffering from illness or disease, it is important to follow the regimen prescribed. But if your dog is not experiencing illness or diseases and the muscle loss is due to aging, then it is important to make sure that, despite some resistance, you implement a routine of exercise and proper nutrition for your dog.
There are different treatment plans to help your dog whose pain is due to muscle loss. CBD oils can help but will only mask the problem as well as symptoms. Anti-inflammatories can help reduce the inflammation, but do nothing to help reverse muscle loss. Today, pet parents can pro-actively address muscle loss naturally by employing low impact exercise programs such as walks and products that are formulated with beneficial ingredients to keep your dog youthful and healthy. One cutting-edge nutritional supplement that you can add to your dog’s diet to help boost muscle health is veterinarian-recommended Myos Canine Muscle Formula which is fueled by Fortetropin®, an all-natural ingredient comprised of fertilized hen egg yolks, that has been clinically proven to increase muscle mass and size. Numerous positive testimonials as well as scientific research show that the formula helps minimize muscle atrophy.
Dr. Albert Ahn, DVM