To stay healthy, dogs require exercise and good nutrition. Regular veterinarian checkups ensure that your dog will lead a healthy life. Protect your dog from aging and developing arthritis by ensuring that she eats foods that build more muscle, reduce fat intake and increase metabolism.
From Puppy to Senior
Veterinarians and scientists have worked to create food formulas for the various stages of your dog's life. Puppies eat foods with the highest protein content to build muscles and develop vital organs properly. As dogs mature, their kidneys can have problems processing high protein diets. Don't eliminate meat from your dog's diet, however. Active dogs, just like active humans, need protein to rebuild muscle at all stages of life.
Check With Your Vet
Diet affects your dog's health. Puppies eat a high protein diet, but older dogs should see a veterinarian before protein in their diets is increased to determine whether there is underlying cause for loss of muscle mass. Cushing's disease affects the adrenal glands in dogs which in turn affects corticosteroid production. If condition is untreated, your dog will happily consume meat (increase in appetite is a common side effect) but will lose muscle mass and definition in the face and abdomen. Increased protein consumption puts a dog at risk for kidney problems. Consult with a veterinarian for all change in diet decisions.
Food to Build Muscle
Protein is the key ingredient for building muscle. As muscle mass breaks down from exercise or age, protein must be replaced. Active dogs require more than inactive dogs, but all dogs benefit from a high protein or "pure meats" food. These are unprocessed meats, prepared either raw or in a low fat, low sodium manner. Beef and chicken are ideal components. Avoid pork, as it may contain a parasite that can transfer to your dog.
Vitamins for Fido
Omega fatty acids and antioxidants also help increase muscle mass by reducing muscle damage and acting as an anti-inflammatory, as in humans. This is important for older dogs with arthritis, who would otherwise remain lethargic. Reduced swelling reduces pain, allowing dogs to stay more active and use muscles, which helps prevent loss of muscle mass.
An active lifestyle is the first component for building and maintaining healthy muscles. Get your dog out to play often and provide food that helps rebuild what metabolism breaks down. When adding a supplement or making any major adjustments in your dog's diet and lifestyle, always check with a veterinarian.