Is your dog a chowhound? We’ve talked on the show before about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for humans - but it’s equally important for dogs. Just like their owners, lean dogs get sick less often, and they live longer. Here’s what you should know, courtesy of Prevention.com: In a study, 50 puppies were raised from birth through adulthood. They all received the same care. Except, half the dogs were fed 25 percent less food than the others. The dogs who ate less maintained their ideal weight, had fewer hip problems, and lived two years longer than the big eaters. So, here’s how to keep your dog slim:

  • If you have a puppy: check with your vet about feeding them to maintain their ideal weight. As your dog grows, their dietary needs change, so keep your eyes open for extra pounds. The worst thing you can do is to pour a random amount of food in a bowl and leave it. Feeding time is a great training time. So find out what’s an appropriate serving for your dog – and have them sit and wait patiently before you put the bowl down.
  • For older dogs, too see if they’re overweight: Stand over them to see if they have a clearly defined waist behind their ribs. If they don’t, it’s time for a diet.
  • Watch the table scraps. I know it’s fun to treat your pet, but scraps are fattening – and certain human foods, like onions, grapes and chocolate – are toxic to dogs.
  • Just like humans, dogs don’t stay healthy by food alone. So, walk your dog for at least 20 minutes each day and try increasing the pace so your pet trots along beside you. That way you both get a cardiovascular workout.