How to Keep your Dog in Shape

Author: Amy Holloway

If you’ve been giving your dog a few too many extra treats recently, now’s the perfect time to make some changes and keep your dog in shape.

Left unchecked, excess weight can soon escalate and cause a whole host of problems for your dog including back and joint pain. It can also lead to health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. No need to panic though, there are plenty of ways you can get your dog in good shape and keep them there!

Chrissie Poke and the rest of our nurses have pulled together their top tips on how to keep your dog in shape, and have created a dog fitness & food quiz to help you understand the potential problem areas:

Take our dog fitness & food quiz

Top tips for getting your dog in shape

1. Get a weight check & body condition score

Our nurses can assess your dog’s weight and give them a body condition score (1 being very underweight, up to 9 being very overweight). They’ll also set goals for your dog’s ideal weight & body condition, and give you tailored advice on how to reach them.

2. Commit to regular daily exercise

a) How much exercise your dog needs will depend on their breed (check this at, age & health – ask our team for advice if you’re unsure. A mixture of lead walking and off-lead running/adventures is best.

b) If you’re short on time or your dog can’t walk very far, vary your walking routes and use activities i.e. going up & down a steady gradient, up & down kerbs, walking on different surfaces, and gently weaving around trees/posts.

c) If you or your dog are unable to go outdoors much, there are lots of ways you can exercise your dog indoors:

  • Hide food around the house & make your dog work a little harder for it.
  • Do laps around your living room together several times a day.
  • Teach your dog some new commands, such as roll over, or ‘high five’.

3. Maintain a healthy diet

a) Good nutrition is a key ingredient in keeping your dog in shape. Choose the right food for your dog’s size, life-stage and health, and make sure to weigh out their portions so they’re consistently getting the correct amount. If you’re unsure, contact our team for advice on nutrition.

b) Swap regular dog treats for healthy ones like sweet potato (cooked), carrots, cucumber and apple. Your dog’s waistline will thank you for it!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our top tips. For more help, try our dog fitness & food quiz.