Help your dog lose weight this New YearWith January well underway you can be fairly sure that gyms across the country will be filled with people pumping weights, pounding treadmills and panting on cross trainers in an effort to stick to their New Year's resolutions and lose weight.

But it's not just people who could stand to shed a few pounds this January, as if you look around you're sure to see a few pooches carrying a little too much flab.

So if you've made it your New Year's resolution to get in shape for 2013, why not recruit your pup as a training partner and help them shed any excess weight?

Just as we humans need to take a look at our diet when it comes to losing weight, so too does your dog.

If your pooch needs to shed a fair amount of weight then you may want to think about gradually switching their food to a 'light' option that contains fewer calories but will still provide all the essential nutrients.

Many brands such as Burns Nutrition and Royal Canin dog food offer weight management diets, which are great for helping your pet slim down and get into shape.

However, as United States vet Dr Katy Nelson points out, feeding a 'light' diet is not enough to ensure your dog fights the flab, as this is just one component of a healthy weight loss plan.

She told the Dog Daily: "You can have the best weight loss food on the market in your pet's bowl, but if you're dishing out too much of it, giving too many treats or not incorporating physical activity, your diet plan will fail."

Indeed, it is essential that you maintain strict portion control when feeding your pooch their meals and that you cut out the treats and titbits completely.

And owners should also make sure that their canine companions are getting plenty of exercise, with at least two walks a day and plenty of time playing in the garden.

Written by: Hannah