AS YOU tuck into your hearty dinner tonight and are met with the sad brown eyes of your beloved pooch looking longingly at your plate - don't feel guilty.
Ipswich is heading into the warmer months, and giving your pet extra treats means their surplus kilos could result in health problems for them.
RSPCA Wacol vet Vicki Lomax said now was the time for pet owners to act if they noticed their furry baby had gained a few extra kilos.
"In summer dogs can die because they can get overheated - it's as simple as that," Dr Lomax said.
"Now is the perfect time to address the weight problem as you have a little bit of time before summer to do something about it."
Dr Lomax said it was easy for pet owners to relent and give their hound extra treats over winter, but they weren't doing them any favours.
"We've had all sorts of breeds gain too much weight - it puts so much pressure on their heart, lungs and joints," she said.
"It contributes to arthritis later on, just as when humans get health problems from being overweight."
Dr Lomax said giving your pet a treat was fine "every now and then" but spoiling them daily could lead to pancreatitis and other deadly diseases.
Dr Lomax said to kick off a weight-loss regime, start with reducing your pet's food portion by one-quarter each day, and slowly introducing exercise.
"The weight loss needs to be gradual for it to work," Dr Lomax said.
"Sometimes exercising them straight away is not a good idea - dogs need to start losing the weight before exercise as they can pant, overheat and it puts a lot of stress on their joints. Take them out when it's cool, not during the heat of the day."
- Avoid treats like raw chicken wings and necks.
- Never treat pets to barbecue scraps, especially fat trimmings.
- Don't substitute dry food for rice or vegies without considering the portion size or nutritional value.