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Help Your Pet Lose Weight

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When D. Jay, a 4-year old Chihuahua mix, first came to PAWS Atlanta in April, he was big.

So big it was hard to walk. In photos taken at the time, he looks pretty miserable.

PAWS Atlanta veterinary technician Heather Campbell says, “He didn't even have a neck for you to put a leash or collar on him. So, yeah, I definitely felt bad for the little guy."

Campbell says D. Jay, surrendered by his owners who could no longer keep him, weighed just over 18 pounds.

That's twice as much as he should weigh. She says, “We ask each owner to fill out a form about their dog, and what they eat. And on his paper it said he basically ate table scraps. Chicken, mash potatoes."

After checking for medical problems, Campbell put D. Jay on a diet, feeding him what a 15 pound dog should eat. She says, “At first he was a little bit resistant to eating the food. It didn't taste like chicken or mashed potatoes."

Weight is a real issue for about half of U.S. dogs. It's a problem because it can shorten your pet's already brief life.

And the extra weight is hard on a dog's joints, and heart, and kidneys. Campbell says if you suspect your dog is too heavy,

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* cut back on treats.. or switch to vegetables.

* and slowly decrease the amount of food your pet is eating.

She says, "You don't want to have a dog eating four cups a day and then you drop them down to two cups a day, because then they'll be hungry. So you just slowly take them down."

D. Jay has lost 3.5 pounds in 6 weeks, a big deal for a little dog.

And he's now ready to be adopted.

PAWS Atlanta is hoping D-Jay will find a family committed to helping him get - and stay - healthy. Campbell is hopeful about his future. She says, “We've noticed since he's been here he loves to go for walks. And he's actually a pretty playful little dog.

If you’d like to read more about D.Jay, or adopt him, go to www.pawsatlanta.org and look in the “Adoptable Dogs” section for his photo.

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