Don’t forget about your dog!

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The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging owners making New Year’s resolutions not to forget pets, particularly their dogs, in health and weight control regimes in the New Year.

In the BVA’s most recent Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, 95% of companion animal vets said that better weight control would have a significant impact on canine health and welfare, with two-thirds saying that a change in diet would also have a significant impact.

The BVA is encouraging dog owners everywhere to include their loved pets in New Year’s resolutions to burn off the post-Christmas flab and get fit.

BVA President John Blackwell said: “As a practising vet myself and as a dog owner, I know how tempting it can be to show your love for a family pet by indulging in treats.

“But more and more practices are seeing pets brought in suffering from the consequences of poor weight control, from mobility and breathing problems to cardio-vascular conditions.

“A much better way for owners to love and care for their pets is to ensure they get the diet and the exercise that meet their pets’ natural needs.

“We all know that dogs and walks go together like a horse and carriage. As people all over the country begin the New Year with a new health regime, we would encourage owners to get fit with their pets – a long walk is good exercise for you and your dog.

“Think about going an extra mile on a country walk or an extra circuit round the park.

“If you are concerned that your pet may be overweight, ask your vet to check and to give advice on diet and exercise. There are lots of pet food options that suit not only your pet’s age and size, but their lifestyle as well.”

The BVA’s top five tips for getting fit with your dog in 2015 are:

l Go the extra mile – on country walks or do an extra circuit around the local park. Remember that your dog should be on a lead in the countryside when there is livestock around.

l 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.

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

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

l Ask your local vet – your local vet will know your pet and its needs better than most. If in doubt about your pet’s health, exercise regime or diet, ask your vet.