How To Make My Dog Bigger and Stronger
Your dog is part of your family. You care about their health and want them to feel their best. Whether they’re beginning to show signs of aging, recovering from a recent surgery, or growing into big paws, you’re likely wondering how to encourage their strength in a healthy way.
If you’re searching for “how to make my dog bigger and stronger,” you’ve come to the right place. At XDOG, we offer solutions like the weighted Drag Bag for dogs and nutritional supplements that can help with dog muscle building. For any workouts or new supplements to work, though, you must implement a full diet and exercise regimen that shapes your pup’s health for the long term.
Why Promote Your Dog’s Strength?
Common reasons you may choose to work on your dog’s strength include the following:
- To rebuild strength in your senior dog: Muscles deteriorate in older dogs as they age, just as they do in humans. Muscle deterioration inhibits some of your dog’s favorite playtime abilities and day-to-day functioning, increasing the risk of injuries. Strengthening your senior dog can prevent injuries and improve their quality of life.
- To prevent muscle deterioration: As mentioned above, muscle deterioration occurs naturally in all dogs, but you can prevent this with ongoing exercise and healthy diet choices. You can keep your dog healthy as a senior by strengthening them before they reach their older years.
- To regain muscle after an injury or illness: If your dog suffers an injury or illness, they may experience muscle atrophy while resting and healing. Once fully healed, you can help them regain strength through various exercises and diet changes.
- To enhance your dog’s abilities: Many dogs serve specific functions, like hunting, protecting their owners, working for the police, guarding properties, herding animals, and more. You can enhance your dog’s abilities in their job function or role by promoting their strength.
Another benefit of promoting your dog’s strength is how it can improve your life as the owner. As you put more effort into exercising your dog, you may enjoy your physical health benefits.
How To Make Your Dog Stronger
Now that we’ve discussed why you may want to increase your dog’s strength, let’s get back to the topic at hand: how to make your dog bigger and stronger. Below are our top tips on boosting your dog’s strength in a healthy way.
Assess Your Dog’s Condition
First, you should assess your dog’s condition to determine whether they need to gain or lose weight. You can easily assess their body shape by bringing them to a certified vet who can help you understand whether or not they should develop more muscle. If you’d like to assess your dog’s condition from home, you can find various resources online, like the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Score Charts for Muscle Conditioning.
Add Nutrition to Their Diet
Now that you know what shape your dog is in, you can develop their diet and exercise plan more adequately. Gaining weight and muscle requires a high-protein diet with excellent nutrition. According to the National Library of Medicine, your dog’s diet should include 12% protein for a lean body mass.
You may also want to include high-quality vitamins and supplements to boost their nutrition. You might consider feeding them omega fatty acid supplements, antioxidants, raw eggs, and creatine for muscle growth. Creatine, for example, is a natural fatty acid that may help in this regard.
Some suggest starting the diet changes at least six to eight weeks before the exercise program so your dog can develop a healthy foundation first. We recommend speaking with your vet for further diet recommendations.
Boost Your Dog’s Exercise Program
Exercise promotes muscle growth, though you must start gradually to avoid straining your dog’s muscles. You can start small, then work up in intensity and duration over time as your dog gets stronger. For example, you may start with a simple 10-minute walk before introducing something like resistance training much further down the line.
As you exercise your dog, you need to keep in mind their natural instincts. You want them to have fun and feel involved in the process. Some common exercises you can work your dog up to include the following:
- Weighted vest activities: Weighted vests allow your dog to participate in their favorite games or walks with an added level of difficulty for increased muscle-building.
- Weight dragging: Weight dragging involves pulling a heavy weight using a safe harness for a great workout.
- Swimming: Many dogs already love swimming. When conducted in a controlled manner, swimming offers a low-impact option for strength training.
- Resistance training: A popular way to incorporate resistance training is with spring-loaded poles that attach to a knotted rope your dog can tug on to build strength.
- Treadmill training: For easy indoor training, your dog can walk or run on the treadmill.
Like humans, dogs require warm-up and cool-down periods, so be sure to let your pup prepare for any workout regimen. You can massage their muscles and start with an easy walk or play period to help their body adjust before diving into any intense exercises. You can help them cool down after the workout with a muscle massage or short walk.
Muscles cannot grow without adequate rest and healing time. According to the National Sleep Foundation, dogs require around 8 to 13.5 hours of sleep and should only be active for around 20% of their day. Be sure to schedule plenty of rest time for your pup so they can feel their best as their hard work settles in.