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Today (Oct. 7) is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, an event created by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, to educate owners that dogs, cats and other pets need to be kept in shape for their health.

A great way to exercise your dog is swimming. It is easy on the joints so it is great for dogs of all ages. JD is shown above taking the plunge into a pool at his home he shares with owner Alison Smith in Toronto, Canada. JD is also an accomplished rally and obedience competitor in the AKC Canine Partners program and is formally known as Jack-Daniels UD RAE.

Some dogs naturally swim. If your dog is reluctant, seek out a pet center that has a dog-friendly pool and offers dog swimming classes. A life jacket can make your dog feel more confident and secure. Never push or throw your dog into water, which can frighten them and cause them to avoid water.

Get more tips on teaching your dog to swim from AKC at /learn/akc-training/teaching-a-dog-to-swim-canine-swimming-lesson-101/