Myth Busting Muscle Growth

All dogs can benefit from strengthening exercises.

Before studying physiotherapy I completed a Medical Science degree where I got to see muscle cells under the microscope and even physically dissect muscles in the lab. I think muscles are absolutely fascinating structures.

 There are a few different types of muscles:

– skeletal muscle: these move our body

– cardiac muscle: these are what hearts are built from to move blood around the body

– smooth muscle: which includes structures like our bowels where the muscle action helps move food down the digestive system.

Skeletal muscles are the ones that we physios train to work better to improve movement and decrease pain. The question that gets asked in Facebook groups all the time is if a particular supplement or a laser therapy device helps muscle strength.

The truth of the matter is, that although some supplements can provide nutrients to optimise growth or function, the only way to strengthen muscles is to make them do actual work. Strengthening exercises are the work that needs to be done. By using weights or another form of resistance, the muscle is challenged to work harder which causes small strains which when repaired leads to bigger and stronger muscles.

What about devices? Laser therapy devices are great for pain management, however, they don’t help muscles contract to help them grow and get stronger.

You can incorporate strengthening exercises on your daily walk by finding a hill, stairs or a curb. All dogs, particularly older dogs and those with arthritis or an injury, can benefit from strengthening exercises. 

Always monitor your dog to ensure the exercises are challenging but not painful! 

Here’s to helping your dog live and move well,


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