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How to Build Muscle on a Dog with Food

Five Ways To Increase Dog Muscle

Swimming, weighted bands or harnesses, regular exercise, biking or hiking, age-appropriate playings like tug-of-war, flirt poles, agility, and a balanced diet are the greatest ways to improve your dog’s muscles.

Although there aren’t precisely a tonne of studies on how to increase dog muscle, the available research supports easy ways to keep your dog busy and well-exercised.

You may find out where your particular dog is at and how to gauge his fitness after reviewing the methods to bulk up your dog.


1. Enjoyment

If done properly, simple playtime alone can, believe it or not, enhance your dog’s muscle mass.

Consider how much of your dog’s body he uses when he tugs vigorously or how the various agility obstacles can help your dog develop strong shoulders, chest, and hind legs.

Even if your breed is less well-known for agility, you can try creating your own obstacles without needing to take home every prize in a tournament.

Especially if your dog is healing from an injury, something as easy as training your dog some tricks can be a terrific place to start.


2. Consistent Exercise (biking, hiking, etc.)

Right, trivial?

Well, too many folks are attempting to develop canine muscle without even making sure the foundation is sound.

The first step to growing strength is to walk your dog and burn off extra energy. It conveniently steers clear of negative actions and other problems.

The frequency and duration of your dog’s walks will mostly rely on his age, health, and breed.

For high-energy breeds, the AKC either provides extremely low estimates (such as “two brisk walks a day”) or is incredibly ambiguous about how much activity a dog should get.

However, be mindful of your dog’s limits. You must strike a balance.

Oh, and if you want to avoid overworking a young dog, look at this puppy exercise chart.

Once your dog’s bone growth is complete, you should only engage in strenuous activities like biking and strenuous treks.

Building muscles in the back legs, shoulders, and chest is greatly aided by climbing reasonable mountains, traversing rocky terrain, and bouncing around in the underbrush.

Your preferred form of exercise every other day is biking.

Your dog should only trot with you when you are out biking; start out slowly and without a leash. Make sure your dog associates motorcycling with something enjoyable and pleasant.



3. Swimming to develop canine muscle

 Of course, owners of breeds that enjoy the water will have it easier than those whose dogs were born with the same dislike of water that cats appear to acquire because they have access to water and the proper temperature all year round.

Swimming is only feasible in my area during the warmer summer months, which only leaves 2 months of the year, or possibly 6 months or more for canines with more grit.

There isn’t a dog pool indoors in my area. If you have one, that might be a fantastic place to begin.

But when we can, we enjoy going to the lake since it offers a change of environment that is great for helping your dog gain weight organically.


4. A Good Diet

Although this blog post is not about diet, I wanted to clarify this since it causes confusion for many readers.

My dog is fed a raw diet, and she seems to benefit from it.

Having said that, a variety of diets can be effective as long as they are of a good calibre.

However, gaining muscle does not require high protein diets or pricey (and frequently unhealthy) supplements.


5. A harness or weighted bands

Only dogs whose bone growth is complete (which typically occurs between 12 and 18 months) should utilise weighted bands and vests, and even then, only gradually.

Even during the height of training, weighted bands should only be used every other day for up to 15 minutes and should be adjusted according to your dog’s weight.

There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back up the claim that using weighted bands is the best method for building muscle.

Please take my anecdotal “proof” with a grain of salt, but I can attest to the fact that I have observed dogs successfully attain leaner body composition and muscle gain using primarily brief weighted band workouts.

Training with weight bands may aid in muscle growth if a few principles are followed (! ), but you must be careful.


How to Feed a Dog to Gain Muscle

A balanced raw diet would be my recommendation for a starting point if you wanted to feed your dog to gain muscle, but you’ll still need to exercise your dog and occasionally change the meal plan.

Many articles with stakes in the game (either because they own a supplement firm or because they receive funding from businesses involved in the sector) seek to emphasise the value of supplements.


This is untrue, period (or at least not yet proven by science).

A well-rounded, healthy diet made up of high-quality components accomplishes the bulk of the work.

Even if you take supplements, they shouldn’t be “massively bulking up” or extremely high in protein.

Many people think giving human supplements to dogs may help, but this is not recommended unless your veterinarian has given the all-clear.

Green lip mussel, spirulina, and probiotics are a few supplements that may improve general health.

The majority of commercial supplements contain ingredients that may not only have no effect but may even make your dog’s health worse.

Always do your homework before making a purchase.



Does protein help dogs gain muscle?

Dogs require protein, but not in the quantities sometimes suggested, and definitely not from low-quality sources.

While some studies attempt to emphasise the significance of protein in developing dog muscle, their comparison group primarily consists of corn gluten. A raw diet offers a lot of high-quality protein.

In this scenario, comparing diets with 12% and 28% protein is actually very pointless because it may be preferable to feed less of a poor quality corn or starch source if a suitable and higher quality substitute is available.

When given the option, dogs choose to eat less carbohydrate and more protein, but fat still makes up the majority of their diet. Another study contends that the diet of the dog’s progenitor was not high in carbohydrates.

You can choose a low-carb, moderate-to-high fat/protein diet to help your dog put on weight.

If a dog gets fat by eating a high-fat diet, why might you do it? Because dogs’ excess weight isn’t primarily caused by being “fat.”

Once your dog starts using fat as fuel, many holistic vets think the high-fat ketogenic diet offers a lot of health advantages.

Don’t blindly accept every “research” you come across. Make sure you do your own research so you can make wise choices.


How To Make Older Dogs Muscular

An elderly dog can gain strength by swimming, exercise, fun, and moving to a natural diet.

In order to counteract the natural loss of muscle that comes with ageing, older dogs may need to put on weight.

As was already noted, elderly dogs can benefit greatly from swimming, so if you don’t have year-round access to water, you might want to look into aquatic treatment facilities.

Do not attempt to alter the breed’s natural form.


When attempting to develop muscle, it’s crucial to consider your dog’s breed.

Pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers, and other physically dominant breeds are the most popular choices for those looking to bulk up their dogs, and these canines frequently tolerate the extra mass well.


Greyhound, whippet, or Afghan. These breeds are designed to be long and thin, and if they are consistently made to carry too much extra weight, they may experience health issues.


Appropriately warm up and cool down your dog

This will help prevent pulled muscles and other ailments in addition to improving performance in the long run.

While some people make an effort, it’s not always easy to teach their dog to stretch when asked. Although many owners find it difficult to prevent their dog from leaping up on humans in this fashion, you can attempt to encourage him to stand on his rear legs and rest his paws on your chest to help him stretch a little.

At the very least, think about massaging your dog’s key muscle groups before a workout to improve blood flow to the areas and promote more fluid movement.

A smart method to accomplish this is to take a leisurely stroll right after your workout. Such strolls need not be long, but they allow your dog’s body to cool off before returning inside and collapsing on the kitchen floor (I’m sure my dog is not the only one who enjoys relaxing on the cool kitchen floor after exercise).