Building Muscle and Performance, Creatine for Canines.

Introduction

With the increase in attention around personal health and fitness, it is likely that you have come across or may have yourself used creatine as a dietary supplement to help enhance your physique and meet your fitness goals.

In the muscle-building world it goes without saying this molecule is likely the most popular of supplements and can produce undeniable results by supporting your body’s energy demands, if this is the case and since you have ended up on this article, I should take it that you are wondering if this would be the case for our canine companions also and can they gain the same advantages from an increase of creatine in their diets?

In short, the answer to your question is yes.

Among other benefits, the addition of supplemental creatine to your dogs’ diet will increase their short-term power output and prolonged use will produce an increase in their rate of muscular growth. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of information from peer-reviewed studies that can give us definitive answers on how usage will affect our canine companions. Since they share our mammalian energy systems and bodily processes, however, we can extract information from how our own bodies react to this and make educated assumptions on the benefits for them.

What is creatine?

Found in vertebrates creatine is an organic compound ( meaning it contains carbon ) made in the body from the amino acids arginine and lysine. Due to the fact that it is produced in the body in the liver and kidneys, it is classified as a ‘non-essential nutrient’.

For me to talk about creatine in the context of how it can be beneficial to the body and be a health-supporting supplement, I feel it is important to first have a brief understanding of the energy system it is used in and how an increase in creatine can support and enhance this system.

First, let’s take a look at the Adenosine Triphosphate – Creatine Phosphate or ATP – CP system. ATP can be viewed as a sort of ‘energy currency’ used in cell processes throughout the body in tissues with a high energy demand, one of these processes being the contraction of muscles during high-intensity activities and is used short duration, think of resistance exercises that require a short and intense burst of energy such as sprinting and jumping.

When the body uses this ATP molecule it sheds a phosphate becoming Adenosine diphosphate or ADP. Now, these cells only have a finite amount of ATP so once this conversion to ADP has taken place it must then be converted back or ‘recycled’ so that it can be used again, this is where creatine phosphate comes into the equation providing that much-needed phosphate so that the process can start all over again.

The Benefits

With the body having access to a greater store of this creatine phosphate it is able to better facilitate this recycling of ADP to ATP, the direct result of this being more energy for high-intensity power output, increased muscular strength and an improvement of energy recovery time.

Sustaining this increase in creatine and the benefits that come with it will increase the rate of muscle mass growth and produce a steady improvement in performance. Now it is starting to come together! Looking at this information it is plain to see that from the perspective of physical performance there are undoubtedly benefits to be had from a creatine supplementation. More energy, more power output, more recruitment of muscle fibres, more muscle growth and higher performance.

My thoughts on using creatine supplements for your dog

People may ask you why you would want to use a supplement such as creatine in your dog’s diet and there will always be people who see this as a wrongdoing in some way or another. However, I think these people do not understand the type of relationship I have and likely you have with your four-legged companion.

My dogs to me are not just pets, they are my family and are an important part of my life that help to define me and give me an identity. I want them to be as fit and healthy as possible because if they are fit and active, then they are happy and healthy. And when people see how great of a condition they are in and see all effort and love we put into achieving this goal, this makes me so happy as it is a reflection of how much we care. 

So, if there are dietary additions that I could possibly introduce into their lives that helps all of these things to be the case then I see this as a potential tool to be used.

Unfortunately, there is still a large void when it comes to studies in this area so always use caution, educate yourself to the best of your ability and make sure your dog is fit and healthy and is active enough to justify the use of creatine supplements. Current studies show that creatine is well tolerated and safe in healthy humans with a range of benefits, I take these into account as well as my personal experiences and hopefully in the future we may see more definitive studies directed towards dogs.

All of this being said if your dogs’ diet is highly nutritious and biologically appropriate, they are fit and active, they work or compete I would be compelled to look into further nutritional optimization through supplements to improve their performance and with it their health.

Supplement options

Currently, I live in the UK and unfortunately, the canine health and fitness industry hasn’t quite hit the mainstream here yet but with recent health trends and hopefully future UK distribution we will see some of these supplements and with it, fitness gear hit the shelves.

In the US, however, there are companies creating a blossoming industry and paving the way for a truly great canine health and fitness movement. If you are considering using creatine then I would urge you in the direction of these very companies since their supplements are formulated with your dog in mind, often of very high quality ingredients and blended to provide optimal benefits, two of these companies I would like to mention are MVP K9 Supplements and Muscle bully supplements both of which have connections to Xdog the producers of high-quality weight vests and fitness equipment for your dogs.

Now I am a realist and I know that at this time ordering these supplements from the US whilst having to pay shipping as well as custom fees to get them here to the UK can make them pricey and unsustainable in terms of your dogs routine, and although I would say to you if you can afford these then that is your best option, it is currently not the cheapest option.

Human grade Creatine monohydrate from a reputable company is cheap and it is highly effective, it is just that however with none of the frills of a supplement formulated with your dog in mind. For humans, it is recommended to follow a dosage of 0.03g per Kg and this seems like a reasonable number to use as a guide when supplementing your dogs’ diet.

Cautions

It goes without saying that when introducing something new to your dog’s diet supplement or otherwise a certain element of caution be taken, stomach cramping has been known when creatine has been given without sufficient water and too much can cause nausea and diarrhoea, start low and take it slow.

For a more comprehensive look into this supplement and the studied effects on humans, this website is a great resource, examine.com.


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