With Christmas and New Year celebrations behind us, now is the perfect time to think about not only our own health and fitness but also our dogs’.

Just like us, our pets need to keep in shape to stay healthy, and the usual ‘eat less, exercise more’ rule applies for them too!

Canine obesity is a big problem at the moment, as too many owners can’t resist the temptation to over feed their loved one. In fact, vets estimate nearly half of all dogs in the UK are overweight or obese.

Struggling to see or feel your dogs ribs, spine or waistline is a tell-tale sign of them packing on some extra pounds. You may even notice a reluctance to go for walks, lagging behind or excessive panting.

If you enjoy running, that’s a brilliant way to exercise your dog. It will give them a good workout and enable them to burn off some energy. However, be careful not to overdo it: dogs with health conditions and elderly dogs should not be taken on long runs.

If their daily walk isn’t doing enough to drop the weight, then you may need to boost their walkies. Up their number of walks per day and increase the time you’re out with them. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow for this, hiring a dog walker to help is a great option.

Agility classes are a fantastic way to get your doggy active as they’re put through their paces using a variety of fun equipment and obstacles. Bones Doggy Day Care in Newbury, run some fantastic agility classes on Saturday mornings.

Ask any owner who has a dog that likes to play and they'll say it’s the best way to get their dog to burn off excess energy. Play fighting and playing with other dogs can be a rather tiring activity. Find a dog that yours loves to play with and arrange a doggy date so they both get some good quality exercise together.

For older dogs or those with health issues, simply letting them go outside and play in the garden for a few hours a day can really help. Just be careful if the weather is very cold not to leave them outside for too long. Just give them a bit of fresh air and a chance to stretch their legs.

Of course, be sure to consult your vet before making any sudden changes to your doggies feeding and exercise routine. Here’s to a healthy 2018!