Healthy Ways For Dogs To Gain Muscle Mass

Healthy ways for dogs to gain muscle mass

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Are you trying to find some healthy ways for dogs to gain muscle mass? We have a few simple tips to help you help them reach their optimum ripped body.

Now, bear in mind that all dogs are not equipped to gain muscle mass. All dogs in the Pitbull category, Rottweilers, most Mastiffs etc will do great with muscle mass training but Indian breeds, Indian mix breeds, Grey Hounds, Afghan hounds etc have a long lean body. Training them with etc weights will ruin their physique.

You should also steer clear from weight training if your dog is:

  • Above  6 years and has had no weight training in the past
  • Has heart problems
  • Has weak bones
  • Is obese – with obesity, you must start with a different training regiment to get them back in shape
  • Is a puppy (between 1-12 months for medium size dogs and 1-18 months for giant dogs)

So, before you get started, it is mandatory to talk to your vet and ask them if your dog is ideal for rigorous weight training. Once that is cleared you can get started!

Start With A Warm-Up

Just like humans, dogs need to stretch and warm-up too! A good warm-up will get their muscles warm and ready to work. You can start with a few simple stretches like the bow down pose and standing straight against your chest.

After a few basic stretches, you can start by a walk around the park. Hey, just because they are training doesn’t mean you aren’t! You need to sweat it out with them too!

Weight Vest

There are special harnesses with weights made especially for dogs. Remember to start with weight as less as 5% of their body weight and never exceed more than 20% of their weight. A few runs with a weight vest will be great to build muscle around their chest and shoulders.

Start with the vest for a small duration and slowly increase it. If your dog avoids the vest, it’s a good sign that they feel overworked. It’s important to take a step back during these times. Make weight training a fun exercise not something they have to dread.

Weight vest
Healthy ways for dogs to gain muscle mass – Through a Weight Vest

Puppies should not undergo training with a weight vest. Their bones are still soft and mouldable. Weight vests can stunt their growth or cause them a lot of harm.


You can either teach them how to jump in their spot or jump into you.

This will help them gain muscles in their hind legs. Remember that while catching them you will also have to practice and get your technique right so as to prevent injuries.

Spring Pole

A spring pole is a sturdy rope attached to a strong bendable pole. Many make their own spring poles with a tree but we would like to caution you. All trees are not equipped to handle your dog’s force.

Make sure the spring pole is properly mounted before training your dog with it. Most spring poles are slightly above the ground and dogs have to jump to grab hold of it. It helps build their jaw strength and leg strength.


If your dog loves water swimming is a great way to build muscle without putting pressure on their bones. Safety is always more important so make sure they have an inflatable safety vest whenever they are in the water.

If your dog seems a little unsure of the water, you may have to get in the pool to encourage them to jump in. Never force them. Forcing makes the experience scary rather than pleasant and it may even create trauma. They may never want to jump in a pool again. We don’t want that.


Again, if your dog is comfortable with machines you can train them on a treadmill. Make sure to start slow. Treadmill training is also great for the monsoon season when you can’t take your dog out.

If your dog has longer fur, keep it trimmed around the paws to prevent it from getting pinched on the sides of the treadmill. Never leave them unsupervised on the machine.

Full Sprint/Frisbee Training

Sprinting helps build their stamina which is also an important part of strength training. Dogs usually do much better when they have something to chase or someone to run with. This is why it is always ideal if you run with them.

However, if you just can’t keep up with them, frisbee training works wonders. Be patient and learn how to properly throw a frisbee and you will never regret it!

Cooling Down

Lastly, after they finish training, make sure they get to cool down. You can do the same stretches you did before training followed by a light jog.

4 Things to remember when strength training your dog

Strength training works wonders when your dog’s body is naturally equipped to take on rigorous training. However, there are some things you must keep in mind.

Watch Their Paws

Strength training is great for their body but not their paws. That is why you must provide the proper support around their paws. Avoid training them in concrete because that will put a lot of force on their paws and may lead to weaker joints during their senior years.

After each training, check their paws for cuts and bruises and always treat them with iodine water. It the cut seems severe to avoid exercise for a few days. 

You may also notice them licking or biting their paws more than usual. Sometimes excessive licking may indicate a fracture. If your dog seems agitated and uninterested, you must take them to a vet and let the wound heal before training again.

2. Different Dog, Different Bodies

All dogs are not equipped for strength training and some dogs may take longer to get that smooth chiselled body. You must love and respect their body even if they don’t become the desired muscular canine. 

They love you the same even if we change and they deserve the same love too.

3. Nutrition

Now that they are working out so much they need the extra nutrients for bone and muscle strength. You can give them a formula that is high in fat, protein and calcium. Sometimes, when they reach their peak, you can give adult dogs puppy food as it contains the right amount of nutrition for high agility dogs.

Add an extra spoon of coconut oil or olive oil to provide them with the much-needed amounts of fat.

4. Stay Away From Protein Supplements

Canine supplements are not as heavily researched as supplements made for humans. There aren’t enough researches or journals that find them beneficial and many have shown to have side effects. So, it’s always better to stay away from them.

Lastly, with strength training, you should know when to stop. Some dogs are much better off with light training while others enjoy pulling weights. Understand what your dog likes and you will have the best training session ever! 

We hope you enjoyed our healthy ways for dogs to gain muscle mass, do you have any tips? You can share it with us in the comment section below.

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About Dheepakh

About Dheepakh

Dheepakh is a dedicated pet parent. His love for his dogs turned him into a pet food enthusiast. He has dedicated all his life to understand pet food nutrition and is eager to learn everyday.

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