HALF of pet dogs are obese or overweight, a study shows.

Experts blame too many treats and too little exercise, in particular over the festive season.

Tubby pooches are likelier to have arthritis, diabetes, heart problems and shorter lifespans.

Some nine per cent are obese and 41 per cent overweight, health tracker firm PoochPlay’s analysis of 2,600 found. Meanwhile, a third never exercise enough, a separate PoochPlay study of 3,600 said.

At ideal weight, owners should be able to easily feel a dog’s ribs. A large one like a labrador needs up to 1½hrs’ daily exercise. Small ones like chihuahuas need 30 minutes.

PoochPlay boss Ravi Sharma said educating owners about food and fitness would “help our pets live longer, healthier and happier lives”.