January is traditionally the month of resolutions and fresh starts. With the festive season finally over, many of us begin to embark upon healthier diet and lifestyle choices after over-indulging around the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

But it’s not just us who could use a bit of a health boost this January; our dogs could benefit from some lifestyle changes of their own! Exercising with your pooch is a great way of getting the both of you moving and there is no better work-out partner than your best friend. Funnily enough, January is also ‘National Walk your Dog Month’ which gives us no excuse when it comes to going for a stroll together.

We are all aware that walking our dog regularly is the best way of improving its overall health. This includes strengthening the cardiovascular system, bettering muscle tone, and maintaining a healthy weight, however, there are numerous other benefits to your dog’s health and wellbeing.

Boredom doesn’t just happen to us humans; our dogs can become restless too if they are cooped up in the house all day. Going out for a walk is a great way of providing your pooch with fresh air and a change of scenery. Physical activity gives their day some variety and also has the added advantage of reducing negative behaviours that can result from boredom, such as chewing, scratching and barking.

Bumping into other dogs is all part of the walking experience and is hard to avoid. However, this socialisation teaches your best friend about the world, allowing them to become comfortable around new people, places and other dogs. A well-socialised pooch means you can get out and about within your community and have fun with other dogs and dog-owners. A well-socialised dog is also less likely to be skittish or anxious, and more likely to respond to serious situations with the right level of caution.

Some of us have very excitable dogs and exercising with your best friend is a great way of reducing hyperactivity. If you have a pooch that is full of beans then you probably know that getting out for a walk twice a day is fantastic for burning off all that extra energy. Excitable dogs are usually a lot calmer during the day if they get outside first thing in the morning and they also tend to have more quality sleep.

Diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle. A daily walk in the park is great for aiding digestion; however what you feed your dog is just as important as how they burn it off - after all our pets ‘are what they eat!’ A low fat diet is probably the best option for a dog looking to reach a healthier weight. Protein sources such a chicken are naturally lower in fat and are always a good option to try. Dog food that contains a nice mixture of vegetables is great for getting vitamins into their diet, as well as highly digestible carbohydrates such as brown rice or sweet potato.

Once your dog has reached its target weight, knowing how to maintain its new physique is the next step. Some lighter foods such as ‘Fat Dog Slim’ from Barking Heads can be fed as either a weight loss or a maintenance diet. So, if you and your best friend decide to take part in ‘National Walk your Dog Month’ this January, whether for weight loss or just for a fun – good luck! Post written by Pet Food UK.

Written by: Hannah