paw prints

Should you be worried about your dog’s muscle spasms?

Playful golden retriever puppy stretches. Stretching can help alleviate the pain of dog muscle spasms.

Dogs typically experience muscle spasms when they exercise hard or get dehydrated. Stretching can help alleviate the pain.

Just like with people, dogs get muscle spasms when their muscle contractions are interrupted. They may be visible beneath your dog’s skin and look like tremors. Typically, this happens when they exercise hard or get dehydrated. While muscle spasms are not life-threatening, they can cause a great deal of pain. Some spasms can also be a result of an injury and may require the help of a veterinarian. Your dog’s health is the priority after all. It is important to know whether you are dealing with worms, muscle problems, or some other ailment.

Co-existing symptoms 

When you can see or feel tremors on your dog’s body, it is a good idea to look for other symptoms that your dog may be experiencing. These can include: 

  • Lameness
  • Depression
  • Pain

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What causes spasms?

In addition to physical exertion and dehydration, muscle spasms in your dog may be caused by:

  • Neurological disorder
  • Allergies
  • Medication
  • Strains

Do not confuse seizures with muscle spasm tremors. While tremors exist in a specific area, seizures will cause your dog to have full body tremors. 

Diagnosing muscle spasms in dogs

If rehydrating your dog and allowing her adequate rest, doesn’t stop your dog’s muscle spasms, or you notice other symptoms along with the spasms, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. He will be able to find the cause of the spasms, which may require some tests, and provide suitable treatment to ease her suffering. 

Your vet will want to know what your dog has recently been involved with, including activity levels if there have been any changes in medication or food if she had any recent injuries and the number of fluids that she usually drinks versus what she has been drinking. 

What will the vet do?

Your veterinarian may suggest that you don’t let your dog over-exert herself for a while or to the same extent if he finds that to be the cause of the muscle spasms.

He may also ask to increase her water intake and make sure that your dog is taking in enough water. 

Also, your vet may show you some muscle stretching techniques and massage to help reduce muscle spasms. He may recommend you apply heat or cold to the affected muscles to help reduce the pain.  

If your dog is in obvious pain, he may prescribe muscle relaxers or prescription pain medication to reduce the cramping and spasms. Your vet may also want your dog to take supplements. These may include vitamins and electrolytes. Acupuncture and hydrotherapy also can alleviate pain. 

If there is a neurological reason for your dog’s muscle spasms, such as a pinched nerve, surgery may be required. 

Recovering from muscle spasms

While prevention is the best way to avoid muscle spasms in your pet, it’s not always easy. Be sure that your dog drinks enough water, especially on hot days. Don’t run your dog on cold days without first warming her up. A proper cool down is also essential. If you do something for yourself, you should do it for your dog too. While exercise is great for your dog, be sure they aren’t overdoing it, resulting in injury. 

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