As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to live long and healthy lives. We provide them with nutritious food, regular vet check-ups, and plenty of love and attention. But have you ever considered the role that strength plays in a pet's longevity?
There is a growing body of research that suggests a strong association between physical strength and longevity in pets. Strength, in this case, refers to a pet's muscular power and endurance, which can be developed through regular exercise and physical activity.
One study published in Acta Veterinaria Scandinavia found that dogs with higher muscle mass had a significantly longer lifespan than those with lower muscle mass. The researchers attributed this finding to the fact that stronger muscles can help prevent injuries and support joint health, which can reduce the risk of age-related conditions such as arthritis.
Similarly, another study found that cats with higher muscle mass had a longer lifespan and were less likely to develop chronic kidney disease, a common condition in older cats.
Watch this amazing video of a gorgeous kitty-cat showing off her fitness training skills! (Video credit Sit Stay Squat)
In addition to the physical benefits of strength, regular exercise and physical activity can also have positive effects on a pet's mental and emotional well-being. Exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function, all of which can contribute to a longer and healthier life.
So, what can pet owners do to help their pets build strength and promote longevity? The answer is simple: regular exercise and physical activity. Depending on the pet's age, breed, and health status, this may include activities such as walks, runs, swims, hikes, or even agility training.
Pets with health challenges, including joint problems such as osteoarthritis, can also benefit from a low-impact strength training plan, provided it is done under the guidance of a pet rehab professional, such as a veterinary physiotherapist. Muscle strength helps dogs with joint problems stay active and mobile for longer, but these dogs need a careful approach to ensure the exercises are safe.
In addition to exercise, a nutritious and balanced diet is also crucial for promoting strength and longevity in pets. High-quality protein sources such as lean meats, fish, and eggs can help build and maintain muscle mass, while antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits and vegetables can support overall health and vital
In conclusion, the association between strength and longevity in pets is becoming increasingly clear. By providing our furry friends with regular exercise, physical activity, and a nutritious diet, we can help them build strong muscles and enjoy long and healthy lives by our side.
If you want to learn more about getting your furry friend on the right strength training programme, contact your pet's physiotherapist for a consultation.
Adams VJ, Watson P, Carmichael S, Gerry S, Penell J, Morgan DM. Exceptional longevity and potential determinants of successful ageing in a cohort of 39 Labrador retrievers: results of a prospective longitudinal study. Acta Vet Scand. 2016 May 11;58(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s13028-016-0206-7. PMID: 27169845; PMCID: PMC4863359.
Patil, A. R., & Perez-Camargo, P. G. The Role of Nutritional Interventions in the Longevity and Maintenance of Long-Term Health in Aging Cats.