Originally published Monday, September 2, 2019 at 05:24p.m.

An article in a dog publication recently stated that 40% of all our dogs are obese. This puts an extra burden on their joints and backs and can lead to hormone-related diseases like diabetes.

Further, the article reminds us that overweight dogs live an average of two years less than a dog of good weight.

It is quite easy to measure and regulate what your pup gets for a meal. And if this creature is too heavy, we need to gradually cut back. It is essential to use a measuring cup when preparing their meals.

One thing to avoid is feeding the pup from the dining table. They quickly learn that begging really works!

I have a girl who is a little heavier than she should be, but she tries to keep it a secret from me. She is always ready for a meal or a snack, and if her baby brother leaves anything anywhere, she is very quick to snatch it up.

Treats are a bit tougher. One is required when I leave the house, when they seem rather bored in the afternoon, and any other time when those soulful eyes are tearing through me. Carrots, green beans, green peppers and cucumbers are good alternatives. Our evening routine must include the Kong, which must be filled with tasty tidbits. Carrots are part of the filling.

We all know that exercise is one of the best ways to manage that waistline. That includes a couple of daily walks.

But also, if you are lucky enough to have a dog that will chase a ball or other toy, that is terrific. One wonderful sport for dogs is agility. It involves jumping over a variety of jumps, going through tunnels and climbing over some obstacles at full speed. Sure wish I had an agility course set up in my little yard. I do have a portable jump in my training room, which they find pretty fun.

For the average dog owner, those daily walks are the most meaningful and once you get a routine started, the pups will remind you when it is time.

Certainly, it is beneficial for the human also. Another benefit is mingling with all your neighbors that you meet and visit with along the way.

A totally different thing, I heard on public radio a conversation with input from a dog owner and a veterinarian about the high danger that exists today with algae contained in many water sources.

The message here is that we should not allow our dogs to drink from an open water source, whether it be a lake, pond, stream or fountain.

It is essential to always keep a gallon of water in the car to fill the no-spill bowl you keep back there for your dogs. And if you are traveling, take enough of your home water with you to last the duration of your trip.

I guess buying bottled water is the next best thing if you run out of your home water.

The story on the radio talked about several dogs who suddenly became very sick after drinking lake water and though they were rushed quickly to the veterinarian, they did not survive. This is rather devastating.

One vet said that if the dog gets to treatment immediately, and gets his stomach pumped, he might possibly be spared. How awful.

One final note, we are hearing about the dangerous mosquito problem that is cropping up. It is so easy to leave a little standing water unknowingly in the yard, which is the ideal breeding ground for these nasty bugs. We must always be vigilant. These bugs can bite our dogs, too.

Christy Powers is a freelance writer whose passion is studying and writing about pet health, nutrition and training. She can be reached at cpowerspak@gmail.com.