It’s now a well-established fact that being a dog owner helps you live a longer, healthier, happier life.

So with that in mind, here are 20 great tips that will keep both you and your dog in the peak of health… Doga! All the benefits of Yoga, suppleness, flexibility and muscle toning and dogs can join in too.

Take your dog with you on that journey for internal peace. You can both hold the ‘mountain’, ‘lotus’ or ‘cobra’ position, but don’t forget to warm up first. An excellent work out for both human and dog is a good old ‘tug-o-war’. Although usually spontaneous, a five-minute session will burn off as many calories as a brisk fifteen-minute walk. Use an old rag or t-shirt and go for it.

It is best if you crouch down to start with to avoid bending the back improperly. Your dog will love this one, but make sure you win, or you could be saddled with a very cocky young pup! Short and often beats once a day. Walking the dog should never be a chore. Frequent, shorter walks are often more beneficial to you both than one long stroll a day.

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Bringing your heart rate up regularly increases cardiovascular fitness. A two-minute jog completed by a five-minute stroll four times a day will get results pretty sharpish. Make minor diet adjustments. Replacing fizzy drinks with cordial will benefit a weight loss programme. Small changes that do not overhaul your lifestyle are easier to stick to. Changing an overweight dog’s portion size beats re-designing his whole diet plan.

Worming your pet is important all year round, however, for one hookworm, in particular, Uncinaria stenocephala, there is a sharp rise from July to September. In heavily infested pups, it can have nasty results such as diarrhoea, anorexia and lethargy. By worming every three months your pet will be protected.

Camp it up. A camping trip with your dog is fun and can offer lots of opportunity for exercise. It will give him a whole new world to sniff and the exercise happens without you even noticing. Let him do all the work. If you are looking for an easy ride, but want your dog to get a work out get a Frisbee. All you need to do is toss the thing and he will (hopefully) bring it straight back. This will provide an excellent aerobic work out for him that will also relieve any boredom. If possible, incorporate water into the activity. Toss the Frisbee into the pond or lake (it will float) and let him swim for it.

BARF. A diet based around raw meat and bones is a superb and very natural diet for a dog that could use a little more protein. Although it may not sound it, this diet is very healthy and suits all breeds of dog. Not sure about raw? Not to worry, you can delve into the subject and read raw dog food pros and cons here to help you decide if a raw diet is right for your dog.

Hide his toys. If you have a lazy dog, a good way to encourage exercise is to move his toys whenever you go upstairs. If he is loafing about downstairs make sure, the next time you go up the stairs that you take his favourite toy with you. It may only be a small amount, but any exercise is better than none.

This can also be practised at mealtimes. To avoid a soaking. Long-haired breeds require frequent grooming. When showering or bathing your dog, always wait until the very end to wash the head. You will notice that your dog will only ‘shake out’ when his head gets wet. For supple joints, both of you should eat fish once a week.

It is high in potassium and low in sodium. Coldwater fish such as trout and salmon are both excellent for joints. Older dogs will benefit from the presence of fish in the diet. For a healthy coat. Give your dog a daily dose of Safflower, Corn, Soybean or Cotton Seed Oil in their food (1 teaspoon) this really helps them to have a great looking coat and reduces hair loss. Now you can style your hair in that shiny coat. In the summertime.

Make sure nobody suffers from sunburn by being generous with the sunscreen. Even the dog should get some factor 12 on his nose. To keep him cool and burn free, a damp t-shirt will do him no fashion favours, but will keep him comfortable. Water, water everywhere. An oldie but a goodie. Water is never bad for you, but it is especially good for the bipedal during the summer months. Six pints a day (not all at once) re-hydrate the skin and flush out many of your body’s impurities. It is always good for the dog to have a fresh water supply, as an over-excited dog can become dehydrated very quickly.

Regular checkups. A great way to judge a dog’s inner health is by the state of his coat. A full, glossy coat spells a healthy, well looked after dog. But a comprehensive check up by you can be a huge help. You will be able to find any suspicious lumps, be able to tell if he is under or over weight (a thick coat can conceal this) and is a great way to bond with your dog. Once you get used to your dog, you are more likely to spot any alarming changes later on in life.

Back of the net! Former West Ham United star John Harley is famous amongst his football pals for training with his dog. You too can have a kick about with your mates and get the dog involved. He will love chasing the ball around at your feet and capitalizing on any schoolboy errors you may make defensively!

For the more dedicated sports person. Ed Moses, the world’s most successful 400m hurdles runner is making a return to athletics at the age of 48. He trained for the comeback specifically with his dog. You can do the same. Anything athletic will or at least should, appeal to a healthy dog. He will try and join you, but he will never defeat you, because you are the champ, aren’t you? Laps of a track are always good for endurance.

A winning smile can be achieved through regular brushing, and not much else. Despite what people might have you believe, biscuits or chews do not replace a good tooth brushing. To clean teeth sufficiently, there needs to be brushing action. Even he protests, get that brush working on those canine chompers.

Take a dip. Quite possibly the most beneficial exercise going. This works for all muscle groups. The resistance pressure of the water is dictated by how fast you want to go, and if you get tired get Rover to pull you along with his tail, he’ll love it. Most dogs love a good splash about, you’ll spot the ones that don’t.

Get in line. If you stick to all of the above you both should be feeling pretty good by the end of the summer. This is when you take that last risk before winter comes round again. Get the skates on. Roller skating or in-line skating is a great way to burn fat, get around faster and provided you can stay vertical, it is a great way for you and your dog to have a good laugh on the park. Watch out for those posing so-and-sos who just want to whip by and make you feel slow.

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