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No, your dog is not big-boned; New Animal Planet show helps fat pets beat thebulge

Watch an exclusive clip of My Big Fat Pet Makeover's first episode ahead of its television debut on Animal Planet.
Animal Planet
Dog trainer Travis Brorsen is taking pets from "flab to fab" on My Big Fat Pet Makeover on Animal Planet. Photo: Animal Planet

Fat cats and fat dogs, meet your weight loss daddy. Animal Planet premieres My Big Fat Pet Makeover on Saturday with host dog trainer Travis Brorsen helping the pudgy pets and their parents live healthier lives.

In the freshman season of the show, Brorsen spends four months with the flabby pet’s family from assessment to final weigh in. Brorsen tracks his clients’ progress through the FitBark attached to the pet’s collar. (Yes, FitBark. A FitBit for dogs. We’re in love.)

Exclusive clip of My Big Fat Pet Makeover Season 1 Episode 1

Animal Planet shared an exclusive clip of the first episode of "My Big Fat Pet Makeover" with Metro. Meet Fletcher and his family! 

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Video courtesy of Animal Planet

My Big Fat Pet Makeover debuts on Sept. 30 at 10 p.m. ET on Animal Planet.

Animal Planet tackles obesity in pets.

More than half of all pets in the United States are either overweight or obese, which causes major health problems including diabetes, kidney disease and joint issues. “It is proven that pain in dogs does cause them to be agitated and uncomfortable in different situations,” Brorsen told us.

“A healthy pet can live up to two years longer than an overweight pet,” Brorsen said while talking about his first rescue dog, boxer Presley, who died in 2008 after a bout with cancer. “You couldn’t put a price on that.”

But it’s the people, not the pets, that need the most training when it comes to slimming down. Brorsen helps the families of the fat pets set up a system that works for them, so the furry family member is fed and exercised on a schedule.

“It’s more about the consistency of the families doing the work than the actual work,” the Animal Planet host said.

According to Brorsen, there are about three reasons pets tend to get away with being obese. “People think it’s cute,” Brorsen told us. “They don’t understand the health ramifications. Or, [saying “your pet is cute”] might be the only compliment [the humans] get.”

The third reason is denial. Pet parents sometimes just don’t know their pet is overweight or blame it on genetics, Brorsen said. “You should see his parents! They’re big!” is not an excuse for a dog with a dangly belly.

Meet your new Animal Planet host, Travis Brorsen.

Brorsen wasn’t always a dog trainer; he grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma, so dogs, cats, horses and pigs were more than familiar, but it wasn’t until he and Presley were asked to do a reality show that he experienced the respect and trust between an owner and a trained pet.

“[Presley] didn’t even know his name at 14-months [of age],” Brorsen said with a chuckle.

Instead of being the laughing stock of CBS’ Greatest American Dog, Brorsen and Presley bested 11 other dogs and dog parents, taking home $250,000 and bragging rights.

“It saved the relationship between me and Presley – making everything fun, making things a game, not sweating the small stuff,” Brorsen explained.

The win inspired Brorsen to bring pet positivity to others and leave “old school and outdated” training methods behind.

The Queens, New York, resident lives with his wife, rescue boxer Pete and 5-month-old human child. Brorsen said the family is expecting... a cat. "I grew up with cats, so it’s time," Brorsen said.

 
 
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