PORTLAND -- If your New Year s resolution was like a lot of people's, you probably hit the gym this week with renewed focus. But a Portland veterinarian wants you to extend that to your pets.

About half of all dogs and cats are obese, and during the holidays, many owners slip them some extra treats.

Dr. Justin Cates with Alberta Veterinary Care is starting the Pet Pooch Project to help animals shed those extra pounds.

Through January, he's hosting dog walks, free pet exams with a recommended calorie count, and healthy treat and toy ideas.

People tend to show affection by giving additional treats and over the long run it leads to diabetes, weight gain, orthopedic elements, cardiovascular disease. It ends up doing more harm, Cates said. So what we're trying to do is arm people with knowledge to make positive changes in the new year.

He said to choose toys that encourage scavenging in dogs, and toys that encourage the predatory instinct in cats.

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