The host of The Biggest Loser put her dog on a diet, and thinks other dogs could benefit, too

By People Staff
Updated May 10, 2011 11:45 AM

As host of The Biggest Loser, Alison Sweeney had focused on healthy living in her family life. She just had no idea that she had to apply the same rules to her dogs.

So it came as a shock when last December, Sweeney realized her Boston terrier Winky was overweight. Since successfully helping Winky lose 2 lbs., Sweeney realized that other people could probably use the same wake-up call.

“If I hadn’t really thought that through, maybe a lot of pet owners haven’t either,” Sweeney tells

Sweeney has joined with Hill’s Science Diet, the pet food brand that helped Winky get back on track, to launch the Million Pound Pledge, which calls American pet owners to help get their pets to a healthy weight – and to lose a collective one million pounds. Sweeney knows the challenge is almost as tough as the one that Biggest Loser contestants face when they start the show.

“It’s hard, because I think pet owners associate food with reward and with showing their pets that they love them,” Sweeney says. “There’s a lack of awareness and understanding. Even people who know their dog is fat will say, ‘Oh, but he’s cute!’ or ‘Oh, but I love him.’ That’s how it makes you feel – not how it makes the dog feel.”

Sweeney says that instead of showing affection with treats or table scraps, pet owners should take their pets for walks or out to play.

“You have to amp that up and really commit to it,” Sweeney says. “It’s hard to stay strong.”

For help with the challenge, Hill’s Science Diet has set up, a website where pet owners can access weight tracker tools and sample pet workouts. Now let’s shed some pounds!