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Best Core Strengthening Exercises for Dogs

Your dog’s core strength is no less important than yours. It’s responsible for providing your pup with good stability, balance, and maintaining its overall health. Even such daily tasks as sitting, eating, bending, and going to the toilet all engage your dog’s core muscles. 

Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t realize that weak core muscles might affect their dog’s sitting posture, increase the chance of injuries, and ultimately lower their quality of life. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your dog stays active and “exercises” to strengthen its core.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to help you improve your dog’s core strength and make their daily life more fun.

Why Is My Dog’s Core Strength So Vital?

Your dog’s core muscle groups consist of abdominal, spinal, and diaphragm muscles. They're the ones that allow your pup to function properly and engage in various daily activities.

For example, your dog’s abdominal muscles are responsible for:

  • Supporting visceral organs and spine
  • Assisting in bending and similar movements
  • Barking and breathing

With age, the dog’s core muscles become weaker, and since they’re crucial for enabling your furry friend to walk and do other essential tasks, it’s important to maintain their strength throughout their whole life. 

Signs Your Dog’s Core Is Weak

While it’s always a good idea to turn to a veterinarian about your dog’s health, here a few signs that might mean your dog has a poor core strength:

  • Lack of endurance
  • Swaying back
  • Swinging from side to side
  • An arched back
  • Problems with holding a stand-stay or sit-stay
  • Poor balance
  • Preference to sit instead of standing
  • Bad posture

Reasons Your Dog Might Have a Poor Core

If you’re wondering what might cause your dog to have a weaker core, here are a few reasons:

  • Excess weight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor joint health
  • Problems with spine

Benefits of Core Strength for Your Dog

Still not sure your dog needs core strengthening exercises? Here are a few benefits you might want to consider:

  • Better posture
  • Improved balance and mobility
  • Better endurance
  • Improved coordination
  • Stronger muscle structure
  • Better coordination and flexibility
  • Less pressure on the spine
  • Lower chance of injuries
  • Enhanced performance

Top 14 Exercises to Strengthen Your Dog’s Core

Don’t worry; you don’t have to invest in any special equipment to work on improving your dog’s core muscles. You can start with a few repetitions and increase them with time.  Of course, you can adjust all exercises depending on your dog's health and the existence of any injuries. 

Sit-Stand-Down

Switching between these positions is a great way for your pup to train core muscles. Try making them hold each position for a few seconds.

Walking up the Hill or Up and Down

This is an exercise that challenges your dog’s muscles and makes it harder to maintain balance, ultimately helping them to strengthen their core.

Swimming

Just like for humans, swimming is an excellent way to engage all muscle groups. So, if your dog is fond of water, let it take as much advantage of it as possible. 

Rollover

Your dog might already be doing this fun activity, so why not encourage them to do it more often. 

Paw Lifts

Start by lifting your dog's paw from the ground and holding it for about 3-10 seconds. Depending on your dog’s condition, start small and increase the time and height gradually. This exercise is perfect for puppies as it helps them learn more about spatial awareness. 

Doggies Squats

When you see your dog stand, give them a command to sit straight away. This will help them train their core muscles.

Use a Cushion

Place your dog’s front feet on the cushion and then move the treat from right to left over their head. Repeat the same by placing their back feet on the cushion.

Stand Stay

Try teaching your dog to change from sitting to standing without moving their feet and holding it for up to 10 seconds. 

Move Head From Side to Side

Move the treat above your head from side to side for as long as they don’t move their feet. Then, increase the repetitions with time.

Crawling

Fun and easy activity. Every dog should like it, and it’s also good for their muscle strength.

Figure 8s

Try to entice your dog to move around your legs. Every time, make the distance between your legs smaller and smaller.

Walking Backwards

Easy and fun exercise you can do with your dog every day and help them improve their core. 

Spins

Again, most dogs do it daily, so why not encourage them to do it more frequently. 

Stretching

Stretching is good for both humans and dogs. So, if you see your pup doing downward dog, let them do as many as possible! 

How Else Can I Improve My Dog’s Posture?

Did you know that the way your dog eats may affect its posture? Regular pet bowls require your pup to lean forward and bend their neck, causing extra strain on their spine and slowing down the digestion process. Of course, how much it affects your dog will depend on its breed, size, and age. Elevated dog bowls might be of great help here.

Apart from contributing to better posture and digestion, raised pet bowls can also teach your pup not to lay down when eating and prevent it from dragging food all around the house. Plus, you can adjust most posture bowls according to your dog’s needs and thus provide them with more comfort when eating.

For example, our Bella&Toby™ Posture Bowl Pro can be a perfect gift for your little one, letting them eat with less strain in the back and neck and improve their core strength. So, if you decide to introduce core strengthening exercises into your dog’s daily routine, a raised pet bowl can be an excellent addition to the training process.

At Bella&Toby, our mission is to make you and your pet happy, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about our products or simply want to say hello. 

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