It seems dog owners can be encouraged to go out and get some exercise if vets tell them their dogs are dangerously overweight.
Research carried out by scientists at a military hospital in Maryland recruited 32 dog owners through local vets. The dogs were all overweight or obese, as were most of their owners.
Half of the volunteers were told to keep a careful eye on the dogs’ diets and the other half were told to walk them for at least 30 minutes a day.
After three months all the dogs and owners in the “walking” group had lost weight but so had owners in the other group who hadn’t been told to walk but had in fact walked their dogs more.
The researchers say love for your dog can be a powerful motivator to exercise.
In the UK however the PDSA said that over a quarter of the dogs in the UK were never exercised regularly off the lead and 1/4 million were never taken for a walk.