JANUARY is a popular month for diets and exercise as people try to shift the extra pounds put on over Christmas.

But this year our four-legged friends are joining in with Alfie the Pug named Slimmer of the Month at his swimming class.

Alfie was a portly 12.4kg when he was first taken to Pawseidon Canine Wellness for hydrotherapy.

Eleven-year-old Alfie's back legs had collapsed and his weight had crept up over the years.

But now his owner, Louise Turner, says he's back to his naughty self, hurtling around her flat, after swimming sessions at the Poole business.

"He's like a puppy again" said Louise, who lives in Queens Park. "You often hear about people being named Slimmer of the Month but not dogs.

"I'm really proud of him and I can't thank the team at Pawseidon enough."

Louise also made adjustments to Alfie's diet and said she's determined to keep up his new lifestyle. He now weighs 10.9 kg.

"Alfie had arthritis and it was a vicious circle because he didn't want to go anywhere because his joints were stiff so he was putting on weight, which made it worse."

Pawseidon was established by two former Royal Marine dog handlers who lost their companions in incidents which also left them badly hurt.

Jimmy Hill and Scott Candlish say hydrotherapy is ideal for dogs recovering from injury or surgery, or suffering conditions such as rheumatism. The warm water gives them a chance to exercise without straining their joints.