YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A recent study conducted by “One Vet” revealed that Pennsylvania has the plumpest dogs out of 42 states, averaging 18 pounds overweight. Ohio fell in the middle of the pack with pets about 10 pounds overweight. We took a closer look at what can cause pet obesity and the ways to prevent it.

“Easily 60 percent of our pets are overweight and a large fraction of those are obese, obesely overweight,” said Dr. Donald Allen, a veterinarian.

Dr. Allen has been in the animal practice for 42 years and said he sees obese dogs and cats frequently.

“The weight is hard on the heart. The heart has to pump blood through all that tissue and the fat. It’s hard on their backs. We’ve seen a lot of dogs that have blown a disc in their back,” he said.

A good test to use to determine whether your pet is at a healthy weight is if you can feel the ribs but not see them. If the ribs are difficult to feel under a thick, fat cover, that is a sign that your pet may be obese.

Dr. Allen says it’s important to measure and monitor the actual amount of food you’re giving your pet.

“If you’re feeding your dog a cup and a half twice a day and he’s getting heavy, then cut it to a cup and a quarter twice a day and add veggies,” he said.

Recommended serving sizes cannot always be trusted.

“Rarely should you ever feed what it says on the bag because they want to sell food and that would be for a very energetic, very active dog or cat,” Dr. Allen said.

Although it’s hard not to feed your furry friend table scraps, try your best to avoid it. Instead, Dr. Allen recommends serving fruits and vegetables as treats.

He also says if you have an overweight pet, it’s a good idea to bring it to the vet for a blood profile to check its liver, kidneys and sugar levels.