When Alison Sweeney, host of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” found out her Boston Terrier was overweight, she turned her attention to a growing problem: About half of all dogs in the United States are obese.
Sweeney is dog mom to two rescues: plump, one-eyed Winky, and a Chihuahua named Jorge.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sweeney’s vet told her Winky needed to lose 3 or 4 pounds to return to a healthier weight of about 20 pounds. While this wouldn’t be too big of a deal for humans, for Winky, it meant shedding 20 percent of her body weight.
“It’s like how we overfeed children,” Sweeney told the Times. “It comes from love, from caring, from wanting to make them safe and comfortable — to let them know we love them.”
But if your dog is obese, Sweeney said the way to really show your love is by controlling his diet.
Winky successfully lost the extra weight, and Sweeney has become a spokeswoman for Hill’s Science Diet Weight Loss System.
She told the Times that whether it’s people or pets you’re helping to lose weight, there’s a learning curve away from being unhealthy.
If your own pooch could lose a few pounds, here are some recommendations:
Feed your dog food that’s healthy. The Whole Dog Journal recommends a diet that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Be sure your dog gets regular exercise. A University of Missouri-Columbia study found that walking a dog just 20 minutes a day, five days a week, produced an average weight loss of 14 pounds for study participants.
PHOTO: Los Angeles Times