Are you making your pet fat?

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- A study finds that 53 percent of cats and 55 percent of dogs are overweight or obese.

Are pets following in the footsteps of their owners?

"One of the first comments people will make is that ~he or she doesn't even finish the bowl of food when I put it down, TM and that right there is an indication, says senior veterinary tech Guin Pavkov of Elam Animal Hospital.

Pavkov sees animals of all shapes and sizes, but recently she has been treating a growing number of pudgy patients.

A report released by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention shows one-fifth of cats and dogs are obese, weighing 30 percent over the recommended guidelines.

I think cats are a bit more likely to be overweight because they are not as active as dogs, according to Pavkov.

Ali Griffin has been trying to help her 18 pound feline named Gray Kitty slim down to a modest 12 pounds suggested by the veterinarian.

I know it is important and I do try, says Griffin, but he has been overweight his whole life.

Gray Kitty is at risk of suffering from a multitude of health issues, including arthritis and diabetes.

One way to help reverse the process is to monitor the amount of food and snacks your pet consumes.

Pavkov advises to read all labels and follow the suggested portions for what your pet should weigh.

She also points out that it is important to be calorie-conscious when giving your pet a treat. For example, a small Milkbone for a dog is equivalent to a human eating a cheeseburger.

Healthy substitutes for treats can be things like, baby carrots, string beans and broccoli.

Experts advise to set small monthly weight loss goals, and the best way to measure your pet's progress is taking them to the vet.

As for Gray Kitty, who is 14-years-old, old habits die hard.

I don't think he will ever weigh 12 pounds, but maybe we will get closer, Griffin says.