Muskelaufbau beim Hund

Muscle building in dogs

Similar to humans, dogs' muscles play a key role in vitality, mobility and joy of life well into old age. The joints in particular benefit from strong muscles surrounding them.

Last but not least, muscles are crucial for a dog's energy expenditure, even when at rest. Today, our four-legged friends suffer from typical illnesses and symptoms that we humans associate with a less than ideal lifestyle.

Examples include osteoarthritis and obesity. Lack of exercise is also not uncommon among animals. Building muscle to a healthy extent helps keep our dogs young and healthy for longer .

Even if there are already health restrictions, such as injuries, the focus is on muscle development . But how can muscles be built up in our four-legged friends? Is there strength training for dogs ?

What role does nutrition play in building muscle ? Find out more about the topic in this article.

The influence of exercise on the muscles in dogs

The building of muscles for our four-legged companions follows the same principles as for us humans. Muscles need a challenge, a stimulus, to grow.

In addition, periods of exertion and rest must alternate so that more muscle mass is created. Muscle building training for our four-legged friend is therefore not possible without targeted movement stimuli.

Dog muscle building – how does muscle gain work?

Growth of muscle is an adaptive response. Muscles adapt to physical demands in order to be able to cope with them in the future.Muscle growth generally means an increase in the existing muscles .

The existing muscle fibers thicken. In this context we also speak of muscle hypertrophy (or hypertrophy training ). It is not clear whether muscle building training for dogs also leads to the formation of new muscle fibers .

The technical term for this type of muscle growth is muscular dysplasia. This has already been proven in some rodents. It remains unclear whether the results can also be transferred to other mammals such as dogs.

(See Se-Jin Lee: Regulation of muscle mass by myostatin. In: Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 2004. April 21, 20, 2004, pp. 61-86.)

There is no typical standard training for building muscles in our four-legged friends. The individual requirements that each individual animal brings with it are too different.

For example, certain anatomical malformations, such as those in the hip joint, can preclude a number of training measures from the outset.

Unlike some human strength athletes, our four-legged companions are not concerned with particularly developing their muscles for purely aesthetic reasons or for the owner's vanity.

What is needed is natural and healthy muscles that support all body functions and protect various other anatomical elements such as joints .

Muskelaufbautraining für Hunde

Pay attention to your individual constitution

Each animal has different muscular requirements depending on its constitution and age. You should take these into account with any type of muscle building training .

Overall, puppies are still growing and are just beginning to fully build up all of their body tissue. You should not start targeted muscle building training with animals that are younger than one year old.

Even with adult animals, it may be advisable to have the animal examined by a veterinarian before targeted training. Perhaps there are individual illnesses or anatomical peculiarities that speak against a certain type of training.

It also goes without saying that for animals with known previous injuries or anatomical peculiarities, training should not be started without the support of a physiotherapist or veterinarian.

Some animals will particularly benefit from very specific training under physiotherapeutic support - for example water training.

It's also about neither under-challenging nor over-taxing your four-legged friend. Muscle growth depends on a balanced system of stimulus and rest phases.

Balance beim Muskelaufbau Hund zwischen Reiz- und Ruhephasen

Further principles of muscle building training for dogs

If you as an owner want to specifically train your four-legged friend's muscles, you should internalize the following principles:

  • With dogs, as with people, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient warm-up training before the actual exercises. A good warm-up is, for example, alternating slow and fast walking and running. Exercises with a ball can also be good for warm-up sessions.
  • Muscle building should be combined with fun and games for your four-legged friend. The exercises shouldn't be boring either.
  • Your own, especially psychological, constitution influences the dog's enjoyment of training. The owner's bad mood and irritability have a direct impact on the animal's performance and willingness.
  • Muscles should be trained overall evenly and, above all, with identical intensity on both sides of the body

Dog owners should note that targeted training is not only linked to the dog's physical performance . Concentration and focus are also required for the animal during the exercises.

Here too, you should avoid overtaxing your four-legged friend.
Muscle mass also increases in your four-legged companion indirectly through praise and motivation. These help him stay on task.

Typical training measures

We will introduce you to some typical training variants for building muscles in dogs :

Obstacle or cavaletti training

The dog trains his runs in particular with obstacles that you can build yourself using broomsticks, for example. By slowly leading the animal over the obstacles, you encourage it to consciously lift its front and hind legs over the obstacles. Depending on how you design the training course in detail, the exercises can be intensified.

Uphill and downhill training

The animal is led up and down small hills. To intensify the training, small slalom routes can be added. This exercise also involves the four-legged friend consciously putting his paws down slowly. It's not about doing the exercise hectic or particularly quickly.

Posture exercise

The four-legged friend should stand on an elevated object such as a tree trunk or an upturned bucket with its front paws.

The dog owner uses treats or toys to draw attention to one side of the body at a time, forcing the animal to move its rear end. With this exercise you train the entire rear muscles, including the hind legs.

Isometric training

During these exercises, the owner takes a very active part in the training measures. To ensure correct execution, it may be advisable to have the principle of isometric exercises explained to you by a physiotherapist.

In a nutshell, the owner applies pressure to certain parts of the dog's body, which tenses the muscles and provides resistance. The resistance creates a muscle stimulus that can help build muscle .

Dogs often really like these exercises because they are associated with a special closeness to the owner. They usually quickly understand the principle and offer appropriate resistance to the holder's pressure. For them, it's all a game in which the body can build muscle mass almost at the same time.

Aminosäuren zur Unterstützung Ihrer Gesundheit

The nutritional factor in building muscle in dogs

In order for muscle fibers to thicken, they need sufficient building materials. These building materials form proteins, or the smallest building blocks of protein, amino acids. Some of these amino acids are produced by the body itself, others must be obtained through food .

We call the latter essential amino acids .

The aminos:

  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

are essential for the dog. TheAmerican scientist Professor Dr. Luca-Moretti has developed a theory of amino acid patterns with regard to the essential amino acids in mammals.

He supports the thesis that essential amino acids can be utilized particularly well by the respective organism.

The usability is around 99%. That's why the essential protein building blocks are the ideal building material and can support faster muscle building .

Even if you don't want to follow this theory, there is little doubt about the need for adequate protein intake to increase muscle mass .

Carnivore or not?

If you feed your canine companion enough meat, he will regularly consume the necessary amount of protein . However, it also depends on your general health and, above all, your age.

In older dogs, the typical conversion processes that amino acids constantly undergo in the animal organism often no longer work as effectively. This means that the need for protein can increase in senior dogs.

At the same time, muscles in the dog's organism break down as they age. If you want the animal to stay young for longer, muscle loss should be counteracted.

When it comes to a dog's diet , there is always debate about whether it is a pure carnivore or a carnivore omnivore. Today, experts tend to view our domesticated four-legged friends as meat omnivores, unlike wolves.

There are dog owners who feed their animals a vegan diet. This is particularly critical from the perspective of protein supply.

Especially for young and older animals, which may have an increased need for protein, a dog's vegan diet could not be considered species-appropriate. Vegan foods can contain amino acids just as much as animal foods.

However, animal components in feeding tend to produce the essential amino acids in their entirety. If meat is avoided, a very targeted combination of certain plant-based foods is also important to ensure protein supply.

It is doubtful whether the dog can build more muscle mass under such circumstances. For dogs with an increased need for protein, a feeding supplement with amino acids may make sense, regardless of their diet. This is especially true when it comes to building muscles .

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