Is Creatine Safe for Dogs?

There is an ongoing debate amongst health experts on the question, "Is creatine safe?" This debate is tied in with the use of steroids and other muscle and size enhancing drugs.

Creatine is different from these other drugs because of its origins; it is a natural amino acid that is built up in the body through normal processes. It is also built up in your dog's body. However, there is little reason to use creatine for your dog. While studies are still inconclusive as to whether or not creatine is safe for your pet, it is best to avoid using this supplement on dogs. It will not benefit them in any great and necessary way, and it is only putting them at risk of potential adverse reactions.

Creatine Overview

Creatine is a type of supplement that is built in the liver. It is a combination of several other types of amino acids, and it's found in both fish and red meat. Because a dog's diet typically consists of either or both of these two food sources, it's not uncommon for a pet to ingest creatine anyway.

Creatine is a supplement that helps your body (and your dog's body) to create a chemical fuel called ATP. ATP assists muscles in working for a longer period of time, which allows body builders, athletes and others to continue to train for longer periods of time. The creatine itself doesn't build any sort of muscle mass; it simply extends the duration of time that one can exercise, allowing for greater exercise and, therefore, greater muscle building potential.

Creatine and Dogs

Dogs are simply not set up to benefit from creatine use. Even if a dog had the potential to extend his exercise capabilities, the idea of weight training of this type with a dog is ridiculous in most cases. A dog will simply continue to run, play and exercise until he is tired anyway. Creatine use may even put him in danger; dogs are notoriously bad at gauging their own exhaustion levels, and have been known to continue to be active until they reach a point of collapse. With creatine, it's even more difficult for your dog to determine when he should stop being active.

Long term studies on the effects of creatine in pets do not yet exist. However, this supplement has been know to cause a number of side effects in humans which may be similar to those in dogs. They include:

  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Pulled muscles and other injuries
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Dehydration

Ultimately, there is very little reason to give your pet creatine. If you provide him with a full diet of the foods that will provide nutrients to him and any additional supplements as recommended by your vet, plus you give him adequate exercise opportunities, he'll be as happy and healthy as possible. Creatine will not aid in this in any real manner.