Is Your Dog Overweight? You May Not Realize It.

We tend to have love blinders on when it comes to man's best friend—but here's what you can do to keep your dog healthy.

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Bogie the basset hound poses for a studio portrait.

By now many of us have shelved our weight loss resolution in favor of some cookies.

What about man's best friend? This week we delve into doggie diets—whether they work and how to keep our pets as healthy as possible. (Read why dogs are even more like us than we thought.)

Weighty Issues

Canine obesity has become a major health issue: Between 22 and 40 percent of the world's dogs may be obese. The condition often leads to other problems, including diabetes and poor kidney and respiratory function.

When evaluating a dog's weight, vets do what's called a body condition score, which consists of "a visual and hands-on examination," says Alex German, small animal specialist at the U.K.'s University of Liverpool.

For instance, a dog at an ideal weight should have easily palpable ribs with minimal fat. A dog at a non-ideal weight may not have palpable ribs at all, and have a waist that's barely discernable from above.

If it seems like an overweight dog should be obvious to an owner, well, the eyes of love can be forgiving...

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