Muscle Spasms in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

Muscle Spasms in Dogs: Causes and Treatment

No owner wants to see their dog in pain. It’s natural to have concerns about your dog’s well-being, especially when you witness reactions like muscle spasms. Muscle spasms in dogs are more common than some owners realize, and it’s important to know what signs to look out for.

Caring for your dog means taking a holistic approach. You should know how to support your dog’s diet, immune system, and overall health. Be proactive by feeding your dog supplements like XDOG’s Bully Puppy Supplements to boost their immune system. 

Want to learn more about looking after your furry friend? Keep reading to find out how to identify and treat muscle spasms in dogs.

Recognizing Muscle Spasms 

First, you must know how to recognize muscle spasms when they happen. It might be trickier than you think. Owners sometimes mistake their dog’s body’s responses for muscle spasms when something else is happening.

What Are Muscle Spasms?

Muscle spasms in dogs manifest as localized twitches lasting anywhere from a couple of seconds to several minutes. They are usually the result of overexertion, injury, and neurological issues. 

When identifying a muscle spasm, gently touch the twitching area to see whether the muscle feels tight underneath. If so, this could be an indication of a muscle spasm. While these spasms aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, they can be extremely painful for your dog. They may also indicate a more severe condition, like a pinched nerve.

If you think your dog may be experiencing a muscle spasm, consider their recent activity levels, the potential for injuries, or changes in diet or medication. 

Muscle Spasms vs. Flinching 

Some owners mistakenly think any sudden movement their dog makes could be a muscle spasm. However, other bodily responses initially look like muscle spasms. Knowing the difference will help determine your next steps. 

For example, some owners mistake their dog’s flinching for a muscle spasm. While muscle spasms may appear to come out of nowhere, flinching must have an immediate, external cause. A dog will flinch if they feel afraid, surprised, or experience sudden pain. 

Flinching could indicate your dog is injured. If they seem to flinch a lot, you may want to consult a vet to see whether there’s a larger issue. Alternatively, if they seem to only flinch in their sleep, this normal response is no cause for concern.

Muscle Spasms vs. Twitching

Muscle spasms and regular twitching are harder to discern. Like twitching, a muscle spasm appears as a sudden involuntary muscle movement. However, twitching is a shorter involuntary contraction compared to muscle spasms, which are more prolonged.

Twitching is more common in older dogs and isn’t painful. Any dog twitching in their sleep, however, is a regular response. It could mean they’re in deep sleep or dreaming. Puppies and older dogs are more predisposed to this type of twitching. 

Pet experts recommend not waking your dog if they’re twitching in their sleep. Generally, twitching here and there is normal for dogs. When it becomes more frequent or lasts noticeably longer, that’s when you might be witnessing muscle spasms.

Muscle Spasms vs. Seizures

Muscle spasms and seizures may also look similar to an uninformed owner. Seizures are much more violent bodily reactions. Where muscle spasms affect one part of your dog’s body, a seizure will cause tremors throughout the body.

If your dog experiences a seizure, there might be other symptoms in addition to the movement: vomiting, urinating, pooping, and foaming at the mouth all indicate a seizure. Your dog may also be unconscious or confused afterward or have difficulty walking. 

If you suspect your dog has had a seizure, seek veterinary help immediately.

What Causes Dog Muscle Spasms?

If your dog experiences muscle spasms, there are numerous factors to consider. Muscle spasms can result from activity, unbalanced diets, lack of fluids, and medical disorders.

The affected dog could be dehydrated, leading to an electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalances often cause painful involuntary muscle spasms and may be due to a lack of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or other minerals in your dog’s diet.

Another common cause of muscle spasms is overexertion. When you expose your dog to prolonged physical activity, especially if they aren’t accustomed to it, they could experience muscle spasms. 

Muscle spasms could also be a sign something more serious is going on. They may indicate a metabolic disorder, a neurological disease, or that your dog came into contact with a toxic substance. When dogs encounter toxic substances, their nervous system may respond with muscle spasms.

Symptoms of Muscle Spasms To Look Out For

If you’re still unsure whether your dog has muscle spasms, there are some tell-tale signs to watch out for. More muscle spasm symptoms may include:

  • Avoidance of the use of a body part
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Whimpering 
  • Unusual posture
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Depression

Next Steps: Treatment for Muscle Spasms 

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to treat your dog’s muscle spasms. 

Keeping them hydrated and identifying a lack of any essential minerals in their diet is a good starting point, as it helps restore electrolyte balance. Rest after physical activity is another natural remedy, especially if their muscle spasms are due to overexertion.

To help manage pain, vets may prescribe medication. You can also try applying heat and massages to the affected muscle. For more serious instances, physical therapy is another option.

Before you try to treat anything, take your dog to a vet for a professional opinion. 

Take Your Dog’s Health to the Next Level

Here at XDOG, we understand how important your dog’s health is. Muscle spasms in dogs can feel scary for you and your pet, but they’re preventable. We take proactive approaches through our many supplements. 

Strength training for dogs is one way to take your furry friend’s health to the next level. Just ensure they rest properly afterward to avoid those pesky muscle spasms.

Don’t wait. Take advantage of our many available supplements and accessories for dogs today.


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