Dogs are notorious for eating whatever is put in front of them, or whatever they happen to come across. It’s a genetic instinct that goes back to the time when food was scarce. Canines had to fill their bellies while the going was good, after all. They literally didn't know from where or when their next meal would come.

That is now no longer the case, but the urge to binge will always be there. That is why it is down to someone who knows better. The owner must take responsibility for helping their dogs to lose weight—it's a reversal of the best-friend role.

If you are one of the many dog owners who have been told that their pooch is overweight, it's time you did something about it. Here's how.

Your dog’s ideal weight

First things first. Don't just fix on the belief that your pet is overweight. Establish what its ideal weight should be and weigh it regularly. The easiest way to weigh your dog is to pick them up and stand on your scales – otherwise it may obviously be difficult for them to stay still. Some pet stores or vets also offer scales in their waiting rooms and stores. Once you know how overweight he/she is, you know what the target weight loss will be.

Cut out doggie treats

We all love our dogs, and we like to give them treats. That's all very well if your dog weighs what they should. But if they’re overweight, it's a no-no. Cut them out – at least while you are dieting the dog. According to experts, treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of a dog’s total calorie intake, so bear this in mind before dipping into their box of treats.

Diet-size portions

Most dog owners feed their pets according to food manufacturers' instructions. Just bear in mind that like humans, dogs are individuals. There is no "one-size-fits-all". While you can use their recommendation as a guide, remember that their advice is calculated to maintain a healthy weight.

To lose weight, reduce the amount by 5% and see how that works. If needs must, lose another 5% more or less until you strike the right loss rate.

Doggie exercise

As with humans, regular exercise is vital to any diet. The problem is that dogs are usually pretty active creatures, so you may find that increasing the amount of exercise has a minuscule effect. If your dog is one of the lazier breeds, though, increasing their exercise regime will definitely help.

Looking after the general well-being of your dog

Being a dog owner is a big responsibility as well as being a great joy. They are such devoted, rewarding creatures. Looking after their well-being will help to lengthen the time you can enjoy each other’s company. Remember, overweight pets are not only a danger to themselves, they can also be a danger to their owners’ well-being when they try to lift them. Give your furry friend the tools they need to live a healthy life, and they’ll repay you with endless love and affection.