Different dogs have different nutritional needs, especially as they grow older or recover from an injury. While an average dog or puppy gets everything it needs from a healthy diet, other dogs may need to build muscle to help them lose weight and stay active.
If your furry friend needs to put some meat on its bones, a muscle-building supplement and strength training for dogs may be a good combination. Here is everything you need to know about how to build muscle in dogs, from supplements to exercises.
The ABCs of Muscle Builders
Supplements for dogs are nothing new; in fact, almost one-third of dog owners use them for their pets, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Chances are good that you may have given your canine probiotics for digestion, fish oil for a healthy heart, or glucosamine to keep joints flexible.
Muscle builder is not for every dog, but it can be a valuable support for aging dogs who may be losing strength or working dogs who need power and stamina to perform well. These supplements may contain protein for soft tissue repair and growth, creatinine to boost energy, and vitamins to help muscles work more efficiently.
Most muscle-building supplements are either in a chewable tablet or powder form, so you can easily mix it into your pet’s food.
The Dogs That Can Benefit
Before you buy a muscle builder, consider your dog’s needs. Is your baby perfectly healthy and active? Do you have an older dog who is a little thick through its middle and slowing down? Maybe you train your pups for dog shows or agility competitions. Some dogs are just fine the way they are, but others may need muscle-building supplements to improve their health. Let’s look more closely at which dogs may find improvement with these products:
- Muscular breeds – Rottweilers, American Staffordshire terriers, boxers, and pit bulls all have muscular physiques. Adding a muscle builder can help with definition and build, which in turn can help your dog place better in competitions.
- Working dogs – Sled dogs, police or military hounds, service dogs, or herding pups contribute to their environment. Because they work hard, they need the stamina and strength to get a leg up and improve their performance. The last thing a working dog should be is out of shape or sedentary.
- Aging dogs – Older dogs can’t tell you when they don’t feel well, but their body language may say it loud and clear. A lifetime of wear and tear on joints can take a toll on your four-legged friend. Imagine the difference it can have in its quality of life with muscle growth. Stronger muscles can reduce stress on joints and bones, making it easier for your good boy or girl to stay mobile and active.
- Dogs in recovery – It can be ruff, er, rough, to get back to normal after an injury or surgery. Search for anything that helps reduce downtime and enables your dog to get stronger and feel better. Using a muscle-building supplement may fight off muscle atrophy until your pup can resume exercise and normal activities.
The Perks of Muscle-Building Supplements
What differences can you expect to see when you give your dog muscle builders? Here are several reasons why these supplements are so beneficial:
- Increased energy level – Dogs who are sedentary just don’t have much get-up-and-go. With a nutritional supplement that enhances energy, your pup may have more pep in its step. Less lethargy means it can keep up with you on a walk or run and maybe even lose a little weight.
- More Strength and Stamina – Agility training or performance at dog shows takes some endurance. Your dog’s training can go more smoothly if it is more robust and can keep up with the physical demands of a race or obstacle course. The same goes for working dogs—they may not get many breaks when on duty, so they need to be in top-dog condition.
- Developed Muscles – Some dogs just look better with more musculature. For example, an out-of-shape or overweight pittie may have trouble walking and moving around. Some dogs can even develop depression and separation anxiety when they are not in good physical condition, so you may notice an improvement in mood or demeanor with muscle growth.
- Weight gain – Just as there are overweight dogs, there are also underweight ones. Rescue dogs or older pets can fall in this category, and they need a healthy way to put on a few pounds and get stronger. Instead of adding treats or table scraps, muscle builders may make more sense for overall health. These supplements can encourage faster muscle growth than if your dog only puts on weight through regular meals.
The Smart Way to Build Muscles in Dogs
Any applied animal behaviorist can tell you that slow and steady is the trick to making changes in your pet’s life. The same is true for how to build muscle in dogs—you want to be consistent and firm but not intense, rushed, or demanding. Even with a muscle-building regimen for your dog, you should be patient and give it time to work.
As with exercise programs for humans, dog exercise should allow for rest and recuperation. Moving too fast may result in changes in animal behavior that may not be what you had intended. Any conditioning you choose to do with your dog should include a reward component and plenty of fun, especially if you want to keep your older dog engaged and cooperative.
These exercises, along with a muscle-building supplement and equipment like weighted vests, may get your dog in shape:
- Walking or running
- Tugging toys
- Weight pulling
- Stair climbing
The Right Muscle Builder for Your Pet
Not all muscle-building supplements are created equal. Do your research when learning how to build muscles in dogs so you can know the ingredients that will make a difference.
Muscle Builder by XDOG is chock-full of amino acids and other nutrients to support healthy muscle growth and metabolism. When you place your order, shop the rest of the products at XDOG to see what’s new in dog nutrition and training accessories.