Pulled Muscles in Dogs

Has your canine companion been slowing down lately? Does he look like he’s favoring a leg, or seems reluctant to do things like run and jump? If so, there’s a good chance that your dog has pulled his muscle. While this is not a serious condition and will typically heal on its own in time, you’ll want to make sure that your dog rests and doesn’t strain his muscle before returning to his regular activities. Just keep reading for our comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about dogs pulling muscles.

What are pulled muscles?

If a muscle is pulled, it means that the tissue has become overworked or overstretched. When this happens, the muscle becomes damaged and weakens as it heals itself. The most common way for muscles to be pulled is through overuse, which can happen if there’s an imbalance between what your dog does and what he needs to do on a daily basis.

Other causes of pulled muscles include sudden movements or changes in direction; jumping off furniture; running too fast; playing with other dogs (especially if they are overly rough); climbing stairs or jumping up—or down—onto something high; playing fetch with a toy that’s too large for him (like an American football); pulling on his leash while you walk him outside; digging at his bedding/blanket when relaxing at home.

Symptoms of a pulled muscle

If your dog has a pulled muscle, she will exhibit several symptoms.

  • Swelling and pain: This is the most common symptom of a pulled muscle in dogs. Your dog’s leg may be swollen, tender to touch and painful when you move it.
  • Limping: Dogs sometimes refuse to put weight on their injured limb or if they do walk around with an injury, they may walk stiffly with their head low to the ground as if limping. Limping is another common symptom of injuries in canines that need a repair or surgery immediately to heal properly; otherwise they won’t regain full mobility again! It’s very important that you take care of this right away so that it doesn’t become permanent damage (which could cost thousands).
  • Difficulty walking: Dogs who have suffered from torn muscles may have trouble moving around due to pain when trying different movements such as running or jumping up onto things like couches etc.; even standing up after lying down can cause considerable strain on these areas which means they’re not going anywhere until they’ve healed properly!

Causes of a dog pulling a muscle

  • Overuse of a muscle. This can happen when your dog is playing too hard, or if he is not used to the type of exercise or activity he’s doing.
  • Over-exertion. The most common example of this is when a dog gets overexcited and pulls a muscle while playing with other dogs or chasing something they were not supposed to chase—like squirrels!
  • Injury from another source (a fall, for example) can also cause a pulled muscle in dogs.
  • Age: As dogs age, their muscles become weaker because they lose lean body mass over time.[4] Inadequate conditioning can lead to this problem as well as inadequate training and poor nutrition.[5]

Treatment of a pulled muscle in dogs

If you suspect your dog has a pulled muscle, the most important thing you can do is rest him. If the injury was recent, you might even want to consider keeping your pup in an elevated position so he doesn’t put any weight on it. This will help reduce swelling and pain while also preventing further damage.

If you notice that your dog has severe pain or lameness in his leg, ask your vet about options for treatment including anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers (such as tramadol). However, these medications shouldn’t be given until after the initial inflammation has subsided.

Home remedies for dogs with pulled muscles

In many cases, the best thing to do is wait it out. But if you want to help your dog’s muscle heal faster and reduce pain, try these home remedies:

  • Ice the injury for 20 minutes several times per day. This will help reduce swelling, which can cause more pain than an injured muscle would otherwise cause on its own.
  • Massage the injured area gently with a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil for about five minutes once or twice per day (if your dog will let you). Massaging helps relax sore muscles and restore blood flow to them, which speeds up healing time.
  • Use a brace, sling or bandage to keep pressure off of the injured area as much as possible while it heals (if your dog will let you). These tools can provide support while allowing movement without adding too much stress back onto the damaged tissue at all times during recovery time.


If your dog pulls a muscle, be sure to make him rest and use ice. Icing the injury five minutes on each side every hour for several hours will decrease swelling and pain. The following day, try giving your dog a few short walks with no more than 10-15 minutes of walking each time; this means back to the car as soon as he starts limping! Remember that dogs are very stoic in nature. If you have any concerns about his well-being after resting for 24 hours or so, please seek veterinary attention sooner rather than later.

You’ve got everything you need to know about pulling a muscle in dogs. We hope we’ve helped you find all the information you were looking for, and that your dog makes a speedy recovery.