The first fitness centre for overweight dogs has opened its doors in Switzerland.
The state-of-the-art centre, located in the southern part of canton Ticino, offers pets a choice of personalised training programmes.
Two personal trainers have been appointed to take charge of day-to-day operations at the centre.
One of the unique features of the Swiss fitness centre for four-legged pets is the "Aquadog" swimming pool, kept at a constant temperature of 28 degrees.
Monica Sovera and Gina Caminada, who are jointly responsible for the management of the centre, said they were inspired to open "Aquadog" after seeing the variety of fitness programmes offered in Britain.
The first training pools for greyhounds and other racing dogs opened in Britain several years ago.
Dogs like humans
"Just like humans, dogs also have weight problems and can suffer from the effects of a sedentary lifestyle," commented Caminada.
"The service we offer is ideal for anyone who doesn't have the necessary time to devote to his or her pet," she added.
One of the most popular facilities on offer at the centre is the treadmill, a running machine designed to exercise the dog without exhausting its owner.
But Michele Mazzi, a veterinary surgeon based in Locarno, warns prospective visitors not to use the centre as a substitute for exercising their pets outside.
"A treadmill will never replace a good walk outside," he said.
swissinfo with agencies
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