Some pet owners find it hard to say "no" to their pets when it comes to giving them food and treats.
But if you don't, you could be putting your pet's health at risk.
Beth Taylor's "gran-dog" Madison has battled weight problems in the past which has forced her family to learn the hard way when to say "no."
"You give them treats and you give them people food, and that's a big no-no," said Taylor.
Too many treats and the wrong foods cause pets to pack on the pounds.
"Yes, [there will] be more of them to love if they're larger, but less time to love them," said veterinarian Dr. Danielle Brinker.
Brinker says about half of the animals she sees are overweight, which can be dangerous to their health.
"[Pet obesity can ] cause heart disease, [and it's] going to be difficult on their joints," said Brinker, who works at the Mid-Michigan Veterinary Hospital. "We see a lot of dogs for ligament problems. It can affect their respiratory system as well."
Serious side-effects for a problem that's easy to prevent or correct.
"A lot of people say, 'We'll just go for more walks,' but the biggest thing is not taking in as many calories," said Brinker.
And doctors say it's not always the amount of food you're giving your pets that's adding on those extra pounds, they say sometimes it's the type of food that needs to be changed.
"Maybe switch them to a low-fat food," said Brinker. "Only puppies and kittens should be on puppy and kitten food because it's a lot higher in calories. We often see a family who gets a new puppy or kitten and the other dog [in the family] packs on the pounds."
"Everybody needs a treat," said Taylor. But now "gran-dog" Madison is getting fewer of them, and it's made a big difference in the quality of her life.
"She plays more, jumps - for a 12-year-old dog she gets around really great," said Taylor.
Veterinarians say measuring your pets food will help control their weight. They also say the entire household has to be onboard. It won't work if one person has them on a diet and someone else is giving them extra treats on the side.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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