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Keeping your dog in shape is just as important to his health as keeping fit is important to yours! Overweight dogs are prone to health problems, joint deterioration, and shortened life span. To help prevent Fido from a growing waist line keep a few things in mind.

First, remember that food does not equal love and attention! So resist your pup’s pleading eyes to have a bite of your pizza and instead give him a carrot stick or pretzel. If your dog still seems hungry after dinner you can also help him to feel full without adding excessive calories by adding green beans or apple slices to his food.

Secondly, exercise is KEY to not only a happy and thin dog but one that is well behaved. Dogs are roamers by nature and their bodies are built to travel many, many miles in a day. Although a walk around the block may work off some of his excesses energy, your dog should also be given the chance for extended exercise (hikes, runs, dog park visits) at least three times a week. Make sure to build any exercise program slowly to give your pup ‘s body time to adjust to their new routine. Start with a one mile run instead of ten!

Third, check the fat and calorie content of your dog’s food. If your dog is older or less active, you may be able to switch him to a lower fat or calorie meal. Also, make sure to include your vet on any weight loss program so that they can ensure that Fido is on the path to a healthy lifestyle without mistakenly missing some key nutrition.

Finally, as with us, lasting weight loss and lifestyle changes take time so be patient and really reward your pup, and you, with a pat on the back as the pounds come off!