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The Top 5 Signs Your Pet is Overweight:

     1. Must enter house through garage door.

     2. No longer cleans itself unless heavily coated in whipped cream.

     3. Guests constantly mistake your pet for an overstuffed beanbag chair.

     4. Enormous gut keeps the floors freshly buffed.

     5. Expects a treat for blinking.

What's so great about fat dogs?  Everything!

Everyone loves dogs.  The loyalty, the companionship, the affection, the unconditional love... that's why people keep them as pets.  People also love big, soft, cuddly things.  Put the two together and you've got a fat dog- and the embodiment of the perfect pet.  Everyone thinks a pudgy puppy is cute- and some of us love to see that roly-poly pup grow up into a king-sized adult dog.  Now some may argue otherwise, but giving food to your pet can be an expression of love.  Feeding (and overfeeding!) is a very simple expression of love from a pet owner to their furry friend; what pet owner wouldn't like to pamper their canine companion?  After all, anyone who has ever owned a dog can attest to the fact that they love to eat- so why not indulge them?

There are health issues that can be associated with being overweight which any responsible pet owner should be aware of.  Many such health issues are unnecessary, though; just as is the case with a person, a dog can be quite fat and still be in good health.  Some people like to compare dogs to children in that you need to monitor their diet.  But who's to say that dogs aren't supposed to eat until they can't?  In any case, there are conditions wherein being overweight may complicate other health issues, and in such a situation I'm sure anyone would rather cut back on the table scraps and slim down their pet a little than have no pet at all.

Always be proud of your dog's size- and remember he loved every one of those extra treats.

If your dog is too skinny- or not fat enough- what can you do about it?

1. Keep the food dish full.  If you do some research, you'll find that dogs who are allowed to eat at their own leisure- or "free feed"- can gain weight easily.  Use this to your advantage!

2. Make eating one of the only things available to do.  If your dog doesn't know what to do with himself, chances are pretty good that he'll make his way over to the food dish and chow down.  Of course, this by no means a suggestion to ignore your pet- if anything they should get more love and attention for getting fat!

3. Find reasons to feed your dog treats as often as possible.  Dog cookies and the like are generally pretty high in calories; and if you treat him to food you might eat yourself- hot dogs, for example- that's even better!  Supposedly feeding a hot dog to a small dog is the equivalent of an adult human eating two and a half packages of hot dogs as a snack.  See how long you can do that before you start putting on weight.

4. Make eating a game!  For example, you may try hiding a tiny treat around your home and teaching your dog to search it out.  When he finds it, reward him with a good pet and more food!

If you're looking for a specific food, try Satin Balls.  Also known as "Fatballs," they're a high calorie variety of meatball perfect to stuff your furry friend full of.  They're relatively inexpensive to make and are reported to really help your pooch to pack on weight quickly.  There is also a high calorie vitamin supplement called Enervite which works similarly.  Check out the Links section for more recipes to help your dog grow up big and fat!

It may also be helpful to know that certain breeds are prone to gaining weight and/or obesity.  They include labrador retrievers, beagles, rottweilers, and dachshunds, among others.

Be sure to check out the Fat Dog Site's Scoring section to see how your dog measures up- and don't forget to browse the Fat Dog Site's official forum, The Food Dish, for feeding tips too!

If your dog needs to lose weight, what can you do?

As is the case with a person who needs or wants to lose weight, the best way to go about it is gradually.  This is best accomplished through reducing caloric intake and increasing physical exertion; in the case of dogs, a decrease of one to two percent of their initial weight each week is a safe pace.  There are a multitude of websites dedicated do doggie weight-loss and related products, and you'll have great results searching for them at Google.

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