Don’t let New Year’s resolutions ‘dog’ you!

Keeping fit with your pet can be a great way to stay healthy.

Keeping fit with your pet can be a great way to stay healthy.

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If you’re struggling to find the motivation to budge the extra Christmas bulge, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is offering advice on how pet owners can get fit with their dog.

The advice comes after 62% of companion animal vets said pet obesity is one of their top concerns in a recent BVA survey.

Now BVA is offering advice on how to avoid expanding waistlines for pets and owners with some top tips on how owners can combine caring for their dog with their own fitness campaign.

BVA’s President, Gudrun Ravetz, said: “It can be difficult to drag yourself out of bed on a cold, dark winter morning to take the dog out.

“The thing to remember, particularly if you are struggling with a New Year’s resolution to get fitter, is that extra little bit of effort is worth it, for you and your dog. The dog is always pleased to see you and keen for a walk. You have a loving companion to accompany you on your walk or run, and you’ll find the inspiration to go that bit further because you know the exercise is helping your pet too. We are a nation of dog lovers so let’s show it by spending some quality time with our pets out on a walk – it looks after their physical and mental health and it’s really good for us owners too!”

Exercise is great for a human’s physical and mental health, and this applies to a dog’s too. Taking a dog for a walk or run costs much less than a gym membership and is much more fun and rewarding – it also aids in creating a closer bond between owner and dog, which can have a great positive impact on everyone’s wellbeing.

It also combats the well-known health risks that can come with being overweight such as diabetes, cardio-respiratory disease and joint pain.

Here are some top tips for improving your dog’s fitness:

Go the extra mile – do an extra circuit around the local park or go a bit further on country walks, but remember that your dog should be on a lead in the countryside when there is livestock around

Think toys not treats – toys that a dog can play with and get fun exercise from can get that tail wagging as energetically as treats can

Join a club – lots of vet practices run fit clubs and weight-control clubs

Get the right diet – make sure that your dog’s diet is right for its breed, size, age and lifestyle

Ask your local vet – your local vet will know and be able to offer the best advice on your pet and its needs

If in doubt about your pet’s health, exercise regime or diet ask your local vet.