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Signs Your Dog is Losing Muscle Mass.

 

Muscle loss, or atrophy, is the wasting away of your dog’s muscles, and it can affect any dog.  Muscle atrophy in dogs can present itself in several ways and can be caused by aging, illness, or reduced activity.

 

 If you are concerned that your dog may be suffering from muscle loss, here are some common signs of to look out for:

 

Thinning

One of the first things you may notice are your dog’s muscles looking and feeling thinner.  For example, your hand might reach all the way round your dog’s leg, whereas it didn’t before. 

 

Weight Loss

If your dog is looking thinner to you, pick them up to see if they feel lighter than usual.  Weighing your dog on a regular basis will help you monitor possible decreased muscle mass.

 

Flabbiness

Flabby muscles on your dog can indicate muscle loss. Strong muscles feel firmer, so if your dog feels softer, it may be because of atrophy.

 

Weakness

Your dog may show signs of not being able to support their own weight or may have difficulty walking. For example, their back legs may buckle, or you may notice them favoring their front legs, limping, dragging their paws or crossing their legs when walking or standing.  

 

Posture

Is your dog’s back sagging? The muscles work with the bones to help the body stay upright and a loss in muscle mass makes it more difficult to support the body. Therefore, if you notice a change in posture, it could be due to canine muscle atrophy.

 

Lack Energy and Activity

Muscle loss makes it more difficult to move, and a dog with muscle atrophy may also be suffering with painful joints, a lack of energy or an underlying condition that needs to be addressed.


Keep an eye out for a change in your dog’s level of activity. If he starts to have problems walking up the stairs or performing other tasks that previously caused no issues, you may be witnessing the onset of atrophy.

 

Regularly checking your dog’s muscles can be a helpful habit for catching atrophy in its early stages.

 

And, as always, consult with your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment of muscle mass loss in dogs.

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