When we've over-indulged on the crisps and doughnuts and are feeling a little bit heavier than usual, the first step is usually to throw out the takeaway menus, bulk by the fruit and veg and embark on a diet.

And the same should go for Fido too. With canine obesity proving to be an increasing problem in the UK, pet owners who notice their furry friends are becoming overweight really ought to take steps to battle the bulge.

Canine weight loss is best achieved with a combination of physical activity and diet, so once you've dug out the lead and got your pup stuck into an exercise routine it's time to think about food.

Without even realising it many dog owners feed their canine companions more than is necessary for their size and breed, so portion control is key in weight loss.

However, if you've spoken to your vet or pet nutritionist about the right amount of dry dog food for your pup and they're still looking a little heavy, it may be worth considering switching to a diet dog food.

Many owners opt for prescription dog foods to help their pup battle the bulge, but brands such as Burns dog food offer healthy and affordable alternatives which can be very effective.

Finally, speaking to Web MD director of medicine for the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital Points Louise Murray points out that if you're hoping to see your pup grow slimmer, healthier and more active you're going to have to cut down on the treats and snacks.

"Do an honest assessment, covering all treats and snacks, including those given by other family members, neighbours, dog sitters, and dog walkers," she recommends. "You may find all you need to do is cut these out."

The odd treat once in a while is usually okay for most dogs, but this should only be very occasional and should be a healthy doggy snack rather than human food or fatty nibbles.

Written by: Hannah