As a well meaning and loving dog parent, you’d want your pet to look good and stay fit and healthy for years to come. Some dog breeds are naturally skinny; they just cannot gain weight even if they eat several meals a day. These dog breeds are meant to have low body fat and a fast metabolism. Then there are dogs like Pit bulls and other bull varieties which are meant to be bulky with tons of muscle. Their owners also want them to look extremely bulky and intimidating. Then there are dogs adopted from rescue shelters which often tend to be quite skinny. Whatever your reasons to fatten up a dog and get him to build muscle; this guide might help you:
Important factors to know when you want to bulk up your dog
- Understand that every dog breed has specific height and weight requirements. You might feel your dog is skinny but the breed’s standards may say he has a balanced height and weight. It is best to consult a vet to know what the right proportion is for your dog. As a general rule of thumb: you should be able to feel your dog’s ribs but not see them.
- Never feed table scraps with the intention of fattening a skinny dog. Many human foods are unfit for canine consumption and could lead to gas, bloating etc.
- It is a myth that dogs need only meat (or a lot of meat in each meal). While dogs are carnivores, evolution has changed them. So they also need vegetables and fruits for getting the antioxidants these foods provide.
- Fat does not mean healthy. A fat puppy only looks cute. A sleek dog with only a thin layer of fat is actually beautiful!
- Obesity, especially in older dogs, can lead to many health issues.
Workouts for dogs
There are many muscle workouts for dogs that can help you bulk your dog up naturally. Before you set out to do these workouts with your dog, please consult a canine trainer or a vet. A puppy should never be over-exercised or taken to the beach or park for a run before he has had all his vaccinations. Likewise, when you want to bulk up or fatten an old dog, make sure he has no underlying health issues that could affect his training or strain his body. With these points out of the way here are some muscle building exercises for Fido:
Endurance training – 2-3 times per week
Mix and vary between these
- Short distance sprint (20-30 seconds), agility, dock diving, weight pulling, flyball.
- Intermediate distance sprint 20-90 seconds, lure coursing, herding and obedience training
- Long distance running, hiking, long distance running
Resistance training – 2-3 days per week
- Weight pulling
- Exercise in water (if your dog likes that)
Strength training – 2-3 times per week for 20-40 minutes
- Weighted vests – Weighted vests improve muscle tone, help dogs bulk up, reduce obesity and improve overall health and cardiovascular health. Talk to a canine trainer/vet whether dog weight vest is right for your dog.
- Sled dragging
- Elastic bands
- Spring pole
For achieving best results, supplement this workout with protein rich diet as prescribed by a trainer or your vet. Make sure to rest your dog one day each week.
We cannot reiterate this enough. Always start slow. Do not start exercising a puppy or an old dog for longer periods of time. This could affect his joints and can lead to permanent damage.
Best dog food supplement to build muscle
Bully Max is one of the best dog food supplements to build muscle. It is a vet approved and can be used for dogs older than 7 weeks for all ages. Many pitbull owners have seen great results with this supplement. It boosts health, builds muscle and maximizes growth. This US made formula contains 19 muscle building ingredients and you only need to give 1-2 tablets a day to see results. The supplement is also ideal for old dogs, sick dogs or pregnant and nursing bitches. For more information and reviews, visit the official website of Bully Max.
Raw food diet to fatten up a dog
One of the best ways to bulk up a dog naturally, old or young, is by feeding him a balanced and healthy diet. Many vets and canine experts believe that the ideal canine diet is the BARF or Bones and Raw food diet. Raw diet for dogs can supply all the amino acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals a dog needs for healthy growth. Here are benefits of raw food diet to bulk up your dog:
- Bad breeding and commercial dog foods have weakened our dogs. Their immune systems are weaker. Raw dog food can strengthen immunity so dogs recover quickly. Many pet parents believe that dogs recovering from surgery tend to recover faster when placed on raw diet plan.
- This natural food fortifies the system and makes your pet stronger and resilient. Dogs that eat the BARF diet have stronger ligaments and tendons and fewer joint issues.
- Sick dogs benefit tremendously from the raw and natural diet. This is because; the diet strengthens his immunity so his body can fight off parasites quickly.
- Ticks and worms appear lesser in dogs fed raw diets.
- Raw feeding has remarkable external benefits. It can help build muscle and bulk up your dog naturally. His coat will be shinier and healthier. Your pet’s eyes will sparkle with brilliance.
- Soft food often results in tartar. The raw food contains uncooked bones which naturally clean your pet’s teeth leading to fewer oral issues and fresher breath.
- Your dog will become more balanced, happier and joyful.
Note that some pets could experience gastric irritation due to raw food diet. So always test for allergies before feeding. If your pet vomits or experiences loose stools, then stop the diet. Never feed raw eggs to dogs.
Human foods to bulk up dog
Not all human foods are safe to fatten up your dog and some human foods are downright toxic to your pet. Do not start feeding human food to fatten up an old dog if he isn’t used to that food. Allow some time to get him to adjust to the new food. Introduce small samples to see if your dog’s system can handle the food. Some human food that can help fatten up a dog in a healthy way are:
- Eggs – never feed raw eggs. Always cook eggs before feeding your pet.
- Peanut butter – give this in limited quantities. It is good for protein and building muscle.
- Salmon – boneless salmon is safe; unless you feed a raw diet in which case go for organic, wild caught fresh salmon only. Some raw salmon can cause poisoning.
- Cheese and cottage cheese – These are good protein sources and also provide your dog with calcium. Feed cheeses in limited quantities only.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal has tons of fiber. Feed it in moderate quantities to prevent obesity. Oatmeal is a good human food to fatten up a skinny dog.
- Coconut oil – This is a healthy fat. You can use it as occasional treat or drizzle it daily on his meals. Coconut oil can give your pet a healthy, shiny coat, cleaner teeth and fresher breath.
- Pork – Feed pork in small quantities and avoid processed pork which can be fattening and also contains a lot of salt.
- Turkey, rice, chicken and beef – Non spicy varieties of these human foods are healthy for dogs. Avoid sauces and seasonings. Leg bone of beef is safe for dogs and your pet will happily chew on it for hours!
- Shrimp – Shrimp is a healthy treat for dogs as long as it is not fried or spicy.
- Bananas – Very good food for dogs.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes – feed white potatoes in small quantities. Avoid feeding potatoes to dogs with IBD.
Always start slow when you want to bulk up an old or young dog. Keep a eye on your pet. If he shows signs of fatigue or other symptoms, stop training and make dietary changes as advised by a vet.