"Biggest Loser" host helps launch weight-loss plan for dogs

Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:46pm EST
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By Bernd Debusmann Jr.

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Is your puppy getting pudgy? Does your terrier need to drop a few excess pounds?

Like many adults in the United States, an increasing number of pets are overweight or obese.

Alison Sweeney, the host of the popular television weight-loss reality show "The Biggest Loser," is using her experience in humans to focus on the problem in dogs with a new diet plan for canines.

And judging from a recent study, which showed 35 million canines in the U.S. are overweight, there should be no lack of canine clients.

Sweeney decided to take on the problem in dogs when her veterinarian told her that her Boston Terrier needed to slim down.

"I realized that I had totally not been paying attention to my dog's health," she explained in an interview.

Sweeney is not alone. More than half the dogs in the United States are overweight, according the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which was founded to combat the problem.

"It's enormously serious. The percentage of obese pets isn't known precisely, but it is surely very high and for the same reasons as obesity is high in humans: they eat more food that they can work off," said Professor Marion Nestle, of New York University, and the co-author of a book on pet nutrition.   Continued...

<p>Actress Alison Sweeney waves at the end of a presentation for the Electronic Arts video game Sports Active for Wii Fit platform at the Orpheum theatre in Los Angeles June 1, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>