All kidding aside, obese pets can have serious health problems - including arthritis, heart and respiratory problems, and shorter life spans. Your pet is overweight if you cannot feel his ribs or backbone when you lightly run your hands over him.

Although it's no doubt hard to ignore the pleading eyes of your adoring pet, it's best to turn away and not give in to his pleas for more food.

 - Use feeding guides as a recommendation only. Pet food packages will often recommend how much to feed your pet. However, this really depends on your pet's age, activity level, and size. Use your own judgment.

 - Try not to use the "free-feed" method. In other words, resist leaving food out for your pet all day long. This can contribute to overeating.

 - Provide your pet with more exercise. Take him out for an extra little walk, or play with her in the house for half an hour. Every little bit helps.

 - Severe weight loss or gain should be checked by your vet. If you think you're feeding your pet adequately but he loses weight, or your pet suddenly starts gaining weight, consult with your vet.

 - Older and overweight pets may be switched to special diets. There are lots of high-quality pet food formulated especially for senior pets, as well as plenty of low-calorie diets. You may want to consult with your vet to get recommendations.

Visit  for more pet tips