You want the very best for your lovable pup, so on this National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, we wanted to take this opportunity to share a few tips to help keep your dog active and healthy.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (or APOP) started this annual day of awareness in 2007 to bring attention and solutions to the problem of pet obesity in America. Based on their 2014 survey, 52.7% of our nation’s dogs are either overweight or obese. Many owners don’t even realize that their pet is overweight because it’s not always obvious.

At iFetch, we believe a healthy dog is a happy dog, so we’ve put together some simple ways that you can help your dog get the exercise he needs, even when time and space are in short supply. So here we go!

1) Establish a Routine

This sounds super simple, and it is! Your schedule is busy, but if you commit to taking your dog for a brisk walk once in the morning and once in the evening (or any variation on that), it will be incredibly beneficial for your dog and for you. If you can add at least one high-energy activity during the week, that will help even more to keep your dog in great shape.

2) Find a Doggie Friend

Dogs will often happily play with another dog and burn calories as they make up games together. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re exercising! A few places you can meet other dog owners in your area are local dog parks, through your vet’s network or even online. MatchPuppy is an entire social networking site dedicated to helping you find a play date for your dog. Use your Facebook account to sign up and you’ll be setting up dates before you can say ‘Wienerschnitzel’.

3) Recruit a Trusted Dog Walker

Can’t make it home to give your dog a brisk walk? Thankfully, a new app called Wag can get a trusted neighbor in your area walking your furry friend in no time. It’s UBER for the dog world. Or if you could use the help on a regular basis, download the app ahead of time and plan a meet-up with your chosen dog walker to ensure everyone is happy with the new arrangement. Wag is currently available in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.

4) Play a game of (you guessed it) FETCH!

This is undoubtedly our favorite. Here’s how Animal Planet puts it: “A simple game of fetch can be all that is needed for your dog’s daily exercise fix. Fetch is easy to squeeze into busy schedules, as there is no need to travel far to fit in a game. A close-by park or backyard works great and on rainy days, fetch can be an indoor sport, played from the comfort of your couch.”

The beauty of the iFetch, of course, is that you can either take part in the fun or let your dog play while you’re away, ensuring that your dog stays entertained AND gets lots of exercise. You can now even track your dog’s activity from afar with Whistle’s lightweight and easy-to-use activity monitor. If you are away for most of the day, always remember to give your dog plenty of water to prevent dehydration and be careful that he doesn’t over-exert himself, especially if he’s as obsessed with fetch as our toy poodle, Prancer!

Well there you have it. We hope that these tips will help keep your best bud active and healthy so that you’ll have a rewarding relationship for years to come.

If you are a pet owner or a veterinarian, we’d encourage you to take part in APOP’s 2015 survey. Be an advocate to end pet obesity and share this post!