\n\nEvery pet owner knows that it is absolutely crucial to keep their pet happy, healthy and full of vigour. A growing number of animals are regarded as overweight – research from Direct Line suggests that a staggering 83% of vets are seeing higher numbers of overweight pets, and that one in eight UK dog owners have an overweight pet.\n\nThe reasons why pets are becoming more overweight are simple:\n\n- They’re being fed too much\n- They’re not getting enough exercise\n- They’re not eating a balanced diet\n\nOf course, the very best thing for your pet when it comes to ensuring they’re the right weight, and to make sure that they live a long and happy life without encountering any unnecessary medical problems, is to make sure that they get enough exercise. And, while going for a walk is a valid option, there are other interesting and engaging ways to burn calories!\n\nSo, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more unusual – but no less effective – ways you can play with your dog to help them remain fit as a fiddle.\n\n\u0026lt;b\u0026gt;Games to play with your dog\u0026lt;\/b\u0026gt;\n\n\n\n\n Tug of war\n\n\nOk, let’s start simple! We all know the rules of traditional tug of war, where your goal is to drag your opponent across the central partition and emerge victorious, but when it comes to playing with your dog the rules are a little bit different.\n\nDogs absolutely love playing tug of war because it seems – to them – like a legitimate challenge. They are competing to win, and your role as the more powerful of the two parties is to make it feel like it is a valid match-up, before ultimately allowing the dog to emerge victorious.\n\nGames such as this do not, as some propagators of urban myth would suggest, make dogs more violent; rather, they make them far more resilient, patient, and will also allow them to exercise their core, as well as their leg, shoulder and neck muscles.\n\n\n Frisbee\n\n\n\n\nDogs like nothing more than playing fetch – that’s been known since the dawn of time, and even wild wolves have been witnessed participating – but that game becomes even more fun, and more beneficial, if the object they are attempting to retrieve is capable of travelling long distances. A frisbee, in that regard, is absolutely perfect.\n\nWhen introducing your dog to a frisbee it is probably best to start with one that has soft edges. Dogs will, very often, be inclined to jump for a frisbee in an attempt to catch it in mid-air, and they may be caught unawares if their face or teeth are rattled by hard plastic.\n\n\n Create an agility course\n\n\nHave you ever watched Crufts and thought that it would be amazing if your dog was capable of performing such incredible feats of dexterity, poise and agility? Well, why not test their abilities by creating your own obstacle and agility course in your garden, in the park, or in your living room (if you have enough space)?\n\nIf this sounds like something you’d be interested in, why not do some research and get an idea of what you can achieve if you set your mind to it!\n\n\n Chase some bubbles\n\n\nYou’ve seen how much kids enjoy blowing and popping bubbles, right? Well, dogs enjoy the prospect of chasing and popping bubbles just as much as children do! If you have a big enough garden, or fancy a trip to the local park, then why not bring some bubbles with you and get your dog leaping into the air?\n\n\n Find the treats\n\n\nThis works in exactly the same way as an Easter Egg hunt, and the reward is indeed very much the same; the finder gets to devour some tasty treats! The only difference being, of course, that you are in no way allowed to feed your dog chocolate – this is pet ownership rule one!