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4 ways to look after your dog’s muscles during lockdown

Updated: May 1

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic the current restrictions on activities outside the home mean it’s difficult to keep your dog properly exercised and those muscles active, especially if you have a working or agility dog. And less activity can eventually lead to a loss of muscle mass or muscle weakness in your dog.

Here are some ways to look after your dog’s muscles and keep muscle loss to a minimum whilst sticking to the social distancing measures set out by the government:

1. Make sure you include your dog in your daily exercise

If you have more than one adult in your house consider taking your outings separately so your dog gets more than one walk in a day. You could also try running with your dog if they are usually active and mobile.

2. Maintain a good diet for your dog

It’s easy to relax on things like diet when we hunker down, but getting the right nutrients is as important as ever during times like these. It’s vital to make sure we provide them with the best diet suited to their needs, especially when it comes to good quality protein for the muscles. Try to stick with your usual choice of dog food if you can rather than switching for a cheaper, lower quality version. Most of the time these options prove to be false economy, needing larger amounts to be fed to achieve the same nutritional intake.

You could also look at the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids in your dog’s diet as these help to moderate the breakdown of muscle tissue. Make sure that oily fish is on the menu if you are raw feeding, or supplement a complete feed with fish oil or hemp oil. Alternatively, look for a nutritional supplement with good levels of Omega 3.

3. Exercise for your dog at home

Your dog can also do some exercise at home or in the garden to keep things moving. Try creating a course round the garden that your dog can play on or even pop pooch on your treadmill if you have one! Active play can also help to keep your dog moving around. You can play games like tug of war, or send them sniffing out treats around the house. Make sure you keep in mind your dog’s usual level of exercise and if you have an older dog with stiff joints, don’t overdo it.

4. Give your dog’s nutrition a boost

Giving your dog a nutritional supplement can help to make sure they are getting the nutrients they need.

If your dog is getting less exercise than before, a supplement with targeted amino acids may help to support muscle repair and reduce muscle wastage. Look for a supplement providing lysine, leucine, arginine, valine and isoleucine in particular.

If the change in daily routine has led to any anxiety and your dog has an upset tummy, a supplement with probiotics can help restore the natural balance to their digestive system. It will also support their overall health and maximise what they are getting from their food.

Joint Aid for Dogs feeding rates during lockdown

As your dog is likely to be much less active during the lockdown period, it may be appropriate to reduce the amount of joint and muscle support you are giving from Joint Aid for Dogs.

  • If you have a very active dog (including those competing in agility, flyball etc.) or a working dog with no symptoms of joint or muscle wastage issues, you could consider reducing the daily feeding rate to the maintenance level.

  • If you have an older dog or your dog suffers with joint or muscle issues, we would recommend that you maintain the full support feeding rate.

Need some nutritional advice?

If you’re not sure which of these applies to your dog or you would like some nutritional advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our nutrition team.

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