Techniques for building muscle in dogs include walking or jogging up hills, having the dog wear a weighted canine vest, walking or running in water, jumping, playing tug-of-war and weight-pulling exercises. Anyone changing a dog's exercise routine should first consult with a veterinarian.
Increasing dogs' muscle mass through strength training helps prevent common health ailments such as joint pain and arthritis. It also prevents injuries, helps their metabolic rate and helps them perform work-related tasks effectively.
A veterinary consultation will determine whether the dog is healthy enough for an exercise program by making sure the dog has sufficient amounts of all the necessary proteins, enzymes and chemicals that enable them to perform athletically. If the dog is being trained for competition or a particular task, the veterinarian will help create a daily workout routine and diet that ensures the dog is properly conditioned and that the risk of injuries is minimized.
During a rigorous workout program, a dog's protein intake should increase. Dogs are meat-eaters by nature, and by feeding them a combined diet of meat and grains, their full muscle gain potential will be realized. Heavy chains should not be placed on a dog's neck in place of a weighted vest because they can cause permanent damage to the dog's neck.