Puppy and young Visla

7 Reasons Why You Need To Strengthen Your Pet

~by Dr Megan Kelly of Holsiticvet

We all get told the benefits of exercise and strength training for ourselves but how many of us see the same importance for our pets?

So let’s see what the benefits are:

1) Helps to keep the weight off

Exercise and your dog

Besides the obvious fact that your pet is burning calories by doing exercise, building muscle helps to speed up the metabolism. The reason for this is that more calories are needed to maintain muscle than fat.

By building lean muscle mass you could increase your pets’ metabolism by up to 15%.

2) Boosts energy levels and improves your pet’s mood

Exercise increases the release of endorphins which are the bodies feel-good hormones. Endorphins are also linked to improved sleep and rest.

3 ) Decreases the pain associated with arthritis or joint problems

Muscles have a few functions.  One important function is to help stabilise the joints and body parts. This can be for individual joints as well as multiple joints such as the spine.

When muscles are stronger, joints are more stable and when joints are more stable the body will experience less pain.

Endorphins, the bodies natural pain reliever released during exercise will also assist in improving pain and discomfort.

4 ) Decreases the risk of injury

Stronger muscles will improve stability and balance decreasing the chance of your pet slipping or falling which could result in an injury.

Core strength is particularly important to stabilise and keep the spine in alignment. Without adequate core strength, your pet will have poor movement resulting in them compensating which will lead to muscle imbalances and overuse injuries.

5 ) Help to maintain mobility in ageing pets

As pets and people get older they start to lose muscle mass. The more muscle they lose the slower their metabolism, the weaker they are and the more prone to injuries.

Pet owners need to do therapeutic exercises with their pets before their mobility starts to become impaired.

6 ) Improve athletic performance

Dogs that have all over body strength are able to move over different terrains with ease.

They have superior balance and body awareness allowing them to move with ease, speed and stability without injuring themselves.

7 ) Increase your pets life span

Older pets are often put to sleep way before their time because they are unable to ambulate and get themselves around.

Taking your pet for a walk is not enough. You need to do specific therapeutic exercises which target the core and slow-twitch muscles.


Dr Kelly says these exercises will take you as quick as 7 minutes three times a week.

Start doing strengthening exercises now with your pet. If your pet is recovering from surgery or an injury, it is best to learn about strengthening exercises from our pet Physio and Rehab specialists around South Africa. If your pet is a working or sporting athlete, learn about sport-specific strengthening exercises from a Certified Canine Athlete Specialist such as The Biokinetic K-9


Its never too early but let’s not make it too late!


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