Fatigue and Exercise in Dogs

Muscular fatigue in dogs is a common complaint among their owners. The underlying cause of this condition may be any of the disorders affecting the various systems of the body. In working dogs, muscular fatigue can be a big problem, as it is in racing dogs such as Greyhounds. Dogs participating in high-intensity sporting events requiring agility may be affected too.

If high-intensity exercise is continued for extended periods, it may result in fatigue. The force-producing ability of the muscles becomes considerably reduced. This is actually a protective mechanism of the body to prevent physical damage. For example, in the absence of fatigue, the dog may not slow down physically taxing activities even when it may be causing pain. If it continued these strenuous activities for longer time, it may cause severe, irreparable damage to the muscles tissues.

Exercise that extends over many hours may cause the dog to sweat and pant excessively. These are attempts by the body to remove some of the heat produced due to the high metabolic rate during excessive physical activity. Moisture lost through panting and excess sweat production may result in severe dehydration. It may also cause electrolyte imbalances, and unless remedial measures are taken, it may progress to potentially fatal outcomes.

Physical training from a young age may help increase the dog’s capacity to exercise. It may lessen fatigue too. Proper training prepares the tissues to utilize oxygen more efficiently. There may be an increase in the volume of circulating blood too, and the muscles may get adapted to longer bouts of activity. Dogs entering into competitions and those who work for prolonged periods should be prepared beforehand by acclimatizing them to hot environments. Their diets too have to be planned accordingly.

You should follow the recommendations of the veterinarian regarding the diet and hydration measures that would help in minimizing fatigue in working dogs and those participating in competitive sports.

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