PetFitness Blog – Pet Exercise, Workouts & Fitness Tips for Dogs

The Anatomy of Dogs

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The purpose of this post is not to bore you with long, complex scientific literature on the anatomy of dogs. That said, it’s important to have a generalized understanding of how a dog’s body functions. If you plan to train and exercise your dog, whether using the plan laid out in this post or otherwise, you should understand how and why your dog’s body responds the way it does to specific types of activity and exercise.

A Great Dane on the left & Foxhound on the right

For example, some breeds are naturally better runners than others. Take Greyhounds and Foxhounds for example. Greyhounds are fast, but after only one lap on the track, they become exhausted. Foxhounds, on the other hand, can run for extended periods without tiring. What is the difference? This is a very basic lesson in anatomy, but it should help you get a better understanding of the complexities of your dog’s body.

Like humans, there are essentially two types of muscle fibers present in dogs: fast-twitch fibers and slow-twitch fibers. As their name suggests, fast-twitch fibers are fast and powerful.

They use sources of energy that are already present inside the body, such as glucose. They work quickly, fatigue easily, and are more likely to be found in sprinting breeds, such as Greyhounds and Whippets. Conversely, slow-twitch fibers are more likely to be found in endurance dogs as they are more efficient at burning fat for energy. These fibers do not tire as quickly as their fast-twitch counterparts and are more likely to be present in hunting dogs like the Foxhound.

Your dog’s running performance comes down to what proportion of their muscle fibers are fast-twitch or slow-twitch. It’s also fair to say that within each breed, certain “bloodlines” have the potential to be better athletes than others.

It’s not just about how your dog looks or how athletic it is; exercise is the elixir to a longer, healthier, and calmer life for your pooch.

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