If your poodle is pudgy, or your beagle is bulging around the midsection, no biggie, right? Nope! According to the Chicago Tribune, 40% of American dogs are overweight or obese. Which contributes to heart disease, arthritis, orthopedic problems, respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancer, and a shorter life.

So, why are they gaining weight? A lot of pet owners don't bother walking their dogs. They either don’t think they have time or can’t be bothered. Some owners even think their dogs don’t need exercise if they’re out in the backyard. But that’s absolutely not true. ALL dogs need walks – even toy breeds. Also, a lot of owners feed their dogs from the table and give endless treats – which leads to obesity. Well, now there’s a once-a-day medication that can trick a dog into feeling full and deciding to eat less. It’ll be available by prescription this spring for about a buck-50 a day.

But there are a few side effects, like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and anorexia. And vets warn that this new doggy diet drug is NOT meant for humans or for other pets, like cats. So, why not simply put your pooch on a diet? A spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association says it’s hard for people to put their beloved companions on a strict diet. Because we connect food with love, and can't explain to the dog why we’ve stopped giving them their favorite treats.

But critics say that you can't just give a drug to a dog, and think that's the answer to a long-term weight problem. Just like people, the cure for dog obesity is fairly simple. Eat less, and exercise more. So do it together! Studies show that people who diet and exercise with their pet are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. Plus, dogs that get sufficient exercise have less emotional problems and are better behaved. So before you have Fido popping a pill – try to help him lose weight naturally.