Although all dog owners want their pets to be happy and healthy, sometimes it can be all too easy for your canine companion's weight to creep up without you realising, potentially leading to serious health problems.

In fact, some figures suggest that as many as 35 per cent of pet dogs in the UK are overweight, and this is often without their owners even being aware there is a problem.

Therefore, just as important as knowing how to help your pup lose weight is knowing when your pet is too heavy and so when you need to take action.

Although the appearance and weight of your pooch will vary greatly depending on size and breed, there are a few general guidelines owners can follow to have an idea of whether their pooch needs to go on a diet.

"If you can't easily feel your pet's ribs, and your dog doesn't have a clearly defined waist when viewed from above, he is probably overweight," vet Dr Jessica Vogelsang explained to the Dog Daily.

"A visit to the vet is in order to confirm this and to check for underlying medical issues such as low thyroid function, which can predispose a dog to weight gain."

Feeling for your pet's ribs is always a good place to start when checking their weight. However, although you should be able to feel the ribs, if you can see them as well this would suggest that your pooch is underweight and they are either ill or you need to up their premium dog food.

If you have any slight concerns that your canine companion is either under or overweight, the next step is to take them to the vet where they will be weighed and their weight checked against a body chart.

The weight of a certain size and breed or dog may well fluctuate slightly, but if your pooch is carrying too many excess pounds and your vet cannot find a medical reason for this, chances are that you need to start thinking about a doggy diet.

Written by: Hannah