On your mark. Get set. Go!
Active dog muscle care made easy.
Dogs are inherently active and many love to try new things. Of course, some breeds are more active than others and some are specially suited for activities like running or hunting. You may even have a dog athlete in your family. That’s why it’s important to think beyond the usual daily walks and explore new activities that your dog, and you, may love.
Dogs love spending time with us and shared hobbies and activities are a great way to enjoy more time together. But when you do find an activity that your dog enjoys, the next thing you have to think about is muscle care and maintenance. It’s our responsibility as dog owners to care for our dogs’ physical health. It’s easier than you think and with a little care your dog will be able to enjoy a variety of activities safely.
As mentioned before, some breeds are bred specifically for a particular job or task, while other dogs are able to enjoy a variety of dog sports regardless of their breed. For example, shepherd and hunting dogs tend to love tasks that are natural to their breed, but they can enjoy agility activities as a hobby as well.
Warm up and cool down wisely
Much like we do before physical exercise, warming up your dog’s muscles is important in sports where he or she will be active for an extended period of time, or make quick changes in direction, jump or climb over obstacles, or run on challenging terrain. Like us, dogs perform better when their muscles are warm and supple and it will help them to prevent or at least minimise sports-related injuries. Same goes for cooling down after activities, which can help the muscles recover more safely and return to a resting state where the dog's breathing, heart rate, blood circulation, blood pressure, and body temperature return to normal levels. Oh, and note that the “cool-down” process after activities still includes the use of warmth, which can help prevent muscle tension and cramps.
Thermal apparel such as a warming layer, jacket or overall can help make warming up and cooling down more efficient. Warming the dog’s musculature quicker ensures that the dog’s body is ready for movement, while the extra thermal warmth after exercise or activities will help keep the dog from cooling down too rapidly. In the fall, an easy-on, easy-off mid-layer jacket or overall that protects the largest muscle groups is ideal for most dogs. Plus it can be used in cold weather, under a coat for example, for additional warmth. The advantage of layering is that the clothes can be added or removed easily when necessary, for example if the weather changes or the dog is waiting for his or her turn during training or competition.
The Razzle-Dazzle Midlayer Jacket is the perfect mid-season jacket. It’s soft, durable, adjustable, easily packable, and best of all, reversible. Choose between a smooth, technical knit on one side or comfy, textured fleece on the other for a little extra warmth. It can also be used as a warming layer under raincoats, winter coats and overalls in colder weather.
Choose the level of warmth that best suits your dog
If your dog is short-haired or gets cold easily, a thin overall with a foil lining that reflects the dog’s body heat back to the dog can provide much-needed warmth. Look for one that is breathable. It will give you the warmth you need and help to minimise the chance of the dog overheating. A thinner overall is also great for layering under a jacket or a thicker winter overall, for example. Older dogs, especially short-haired breeds, will get a lot of use from a warm and comfortable overall, whether it be for colder weather or simply daily walks.
The Body Warmer is a wonderful thermal layer designed for muscle maintenance in active dogs or any dog that requires extra warming in cool weather. The foil lining helps to activate the dog’s blood circulation and to prevent sports-related injuries. After workouts or competition, the foil lining actively reflects heat back to the dog, thus promoting safer muscle recovery.
Watch out for cold temps
Rain, especially cold rain, can cause a dog’s warm muscles to cool too quickly. It can even be dangerous and lead to freezing so you have to keep an eye on your dog’s condition while outside in cold weather. A jacket that protects your dog from both rain and wind can help. A raincoat with a foil lining goes a step further by reflecting the dog's body heat back to the dog for added warmth and vital cold-weather protection. Alternatively, a thin overall can be worn as an intermediate layer under a jacket to provide extra warmth that can be added or removed as needed.
Rain is no reason to stay inside on the couch when you have the proper wet-weather protection. Besides, most dogs love to play in the rain. The Drizzle Coat is the perfect solution for rainy, windy and muddy conditions. Plus, its flexible, quiet, and breathable fabric makes the coat ideal for warming active dogs before and after training and competitions.
Extreme cold calls for extreme warming
In winter weather, dogs often need extra warming protection from frost, snow, and wind. A dog’s coat provides some warmth but there is a limit, especially if the dog’s coat is thin. For most dogs, a winter jacket will suffice, as long as it covers the dog’s core muscles that generate heat and essentially anywhere the dog’s coat is thinner. On very cold days, a thermal layer under a coat will provide extra warming and allow you to enjoy the outdoors longer. A coat with a foil lining is great because it gives you vital warming without all the bulk.
Hurtta's warmest jacket, the Extreme Warmer, takes thermal jackets for active dogs to a whole new level with head-to-tail, cold-weather protection and a foil lining that puts a dog’s own body heat to good use. The water- and wind-proof surface material keeps wet, windy weather out. It’s also soft and flexible and won’t restrict a dog’s natural movement, even sensitive dogs.
Learn from the champs
A lot goes into caring for high-performing dogs like hunting dogs and dog athletes. And that includes before, during, and after they work out or perform. Luckily every dog, especially highly active ones, can benefit from their same strategies. First comes quality nutrition which helps to develop and maintain a dog’s healthy musculature. But be careful not to overfeed dogs as it can lead to negative health consequences. Dogs should also be given ample time to rest and recover after intense training, heavy work, and sports performances. A variety of different low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming will put less stress on the joints than running and jumping. This will help speed the dog’s recovery and transition back to everyday activities. For even more muscle care, a visit to a massage therapist can help enhance both a dog’s athletic performance and recovery.
We wish you and your active dog happy and safe training and great health!