Symptoms of a pulled muscle in a dog include pain over the joint, localized swelling of the tissues and temporary lameness of an extremity. Generally, symptoms are present for a few days to a week but can potentially develop into chronic pain.
Further injuries may be prevented by resting the injured muscle. Restrict unnecessary movement by confining the dog to a small space. The first day of treatment, apply a chemical cold pack or crushed ice in a plastic bag to the injured area for 15 to 30 minutes, three or four times over the course of the day. Alternatively, run cold water over the pulled muscle for five to 10 minutes, also three or four times. After the first day, switch to a warm compress treatment for 15 to 30 minutes. Do not use a hot compress, as this may aggravate or burn the skin. If the injury does not improve and the dog is unable to place weight on the leg, consult a veterinarian to rule out fracture or dislocation of the bone. Veterinarians may prescribe analgesics for pain relief, allowing the dog to use the leg. However, this may delay healing. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce swelling and inflammation and may speed the healing process.