With signs that the weather might finally be improving and spring fast-approaching, now is the perfect time to dust off the cobwebs and get your pooch into shape.

Indeed, just as us humans tend to put on the odd few pounds during the winter months, it's not uncommon for our pets to be a little on the heavy side too when spring rolls around.

However, with pet obesity a growing problem in the UK, it's really important to nip any weight gain in the bud by taking a good long look at your dog's diet and upping the amount of exercise they receive.

If your pooch is a little podgy the first thing to do is to take a look at the quantity of food they are consuming, both at mealtimes and as treats, and then take steps to cut back.

Your vet can help you come up with a diet plan that will help you ensure that your pup is still getting all the nutrients they need from their food but is also slimming down at the same time.

Some people choose to feed their pooches a prescription diet, which can be extremely effective if a little pricey. However, if you want a similar effect but without the cost, a number of brands such as Burns dog food offer alternative diets that will help your pet lose weight but won't cost an arm and a leg.

To complement your dog's new diet, you will also need to make sure that they are getting plenty of exercise. In addition to your regular walks, you may want to introduce your pup to a new activity such as agility, flyball or even swimming, as this is a great way to improve the bond between dog and owner while also helping to budge those extra pounds.

Written by: Hannah