With summer rapidly approaching, most of us will be looking forward to long sunny days on the beach or lazing by the pool on holiday

However, if the thought of stepping out in a bikini or a pair of swimming shorts is enough to bring you out in a cold sweat, now may be the time to start thinking about embarking on a fitness programme to whip your body into shape for summer.

And if you're looking to recruit a training buddy, forget about pestering your best mate to join you at the gym or boring your spouse with dietary plans, as the ideal workout partner could be found in the shape of your pooch.

With pet obesity a growing problem in the UK, many vets and nutritional experts are urging owners to consider ways to control their dogs' weight, so a combined health-kick could be the perfect way to keep you and your four-legged friend fit and active.

Just as you review your own diet, the first step in your pooch's new fitness regime is to ensure that they are being fed the correct quality and quantity of dry dog food.

Many owners choose to switch their pets to a prescription diet to help their furry friends shed a few pounds, but a number of brands such as Burns dog food now offer good alternatives to these at a more affordable price.

The second component to you and your pup's fitness drive should be a carefully planned exercise regime.

"Exercising is vital to both human and canine health," Dr Amber Andersen, a vet at Point Vicente Animal Hospital in California, told the Dog Daily.

"Finding a way to incorporate your dog's fitness routine with your own will make you both happy and can be a huge time-saver."

Before embarking on a training plan, take some time to consider your and your dog's fitness levels and to form a regime that will gently build up your stamina without risking human or canine injury.

Written by: Hannah