We all love our dogs and we know that our dogs love treats and pretty much anything that we're eating at any given moment.

Treats and proper table scraps can be OK in moderation, but according to Dr. David Bessler of NYC Veterinary Specialists: "Of the 41 million pet dogs in this country, approximately 17 million, are either overweight or obese."

Our dogs really have no say on their diet choices or quantities and there are countless conflicting opinions on what is best to feed your dog.

The diets range from dry kibble to canned food, to home cooked meals, to a raw diet and there are countless choices within each of those categories.

I recommend taking the time to do your own research on all the different feeding options and choose what you feel is best for your dog.

Diet and lack of exercise are the two major causes of overweight and obese dogs. These heavy four-legged buddies of ours are much more susceptible to many health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis just to name a few.

Even with a proper diet our dogs still need exercise just like us.

How can you tell if your pup is too plump?

• When your dog is standing you should be able to see an indentation just behind the rib cage that extends backward coming outward again at the hips. If you have a shaggy dog, run your hands along their side to feel for an indentation.

• Run your hand along your dog's side; if you can feel all of their ribs they are too skinny.

• If you can't feel all of their ribs then lightly push in with one or two fingers. If you only feel a cage and not individual ribs, they are too heavy.

• A dog at the proper weight has an "hour glass" figure, you can't feel every rib when running your hand down the side but can feel individual ribs when you lightly push in.

It's OK to love your dog, let's just try not to love them to death ... Literally!

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Brad Jaffe owns Team Canine. He uses non-violent training and modern day psychology to train dogs. Reach him at (602) 954-8353 or info@teamcanine.com.

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