The answer to this is actually very simple. They must eat less calories and ideally exercise more - but of course nothing is as simple as that.

Firstly we have to break our habits. We have to stop feeding a cup of dry food because that’s what we’ve always done. We have to stop giving him that biscuit or piece of pizza “because he’s so cute”. Of course there’s always the “but he’s starving!”, “he always look so hungry” argument. If he’s overweight or obese, by definition he cannot be starving - he’s just trying it on.

Next we have to look at what food you’re feeding him. Depending on how overweight they are you could try one of several different things. You could cut down the amount of the current food you are feeding. Better still you could purchase a “diet” or “lite” premium pet food. The diet or light premium pet foods have lower calories, higher fibre to make them more filling and also additional ingredients such as L-Carnitine which helps with the burning of fat.  If your dog is seriously obese, consider talking to your vet about a “prescription diet”.

Treats, even training treats, must be cut down or must be turned into lower fat treats.

If your dog is on a Bones and Raw Food Diet instead of a premium dry food diet, you should cut down, say a third, of the amount of meat and fatty bones and replace with extra vegetables.

And now comes the exercise bit. If however your dog is “just a little overweight” or “I haven’t seen his waist in a while” then exercise is key.  Go for more walks and longer walks – you’ll get fitter to. If he can’t already retrieve, teach him and then spend time in the morning or when you come home throwing the ball for him. Never increase your pets exercise radically in one go. Unlike most humans they will keep going past the point of exhaustion to please you and you don’t want to hurt them. If your dog is seriously overweight or has joint or mobility issues you should seek medical advice before exercising your dog differently.

Good luck with your new regime!

Click here for a "How to" on checking whether dog is overweight.