We might be one of the fittest places in the United States, but we've got the fattest pets.

Despite Minnesota typically being rated one of the nation's most fitness-conscious states, we claimed the No. 1 spot on the list of fat dogs and cats in Banfield Pet Hospitals' annual "State of Pet Health" report. And we really know how to throw our weight around: 40 percent of our pets are obese, nearly twice the national average of 21 percent.

Pets get fat for the same reasons people do, said Dr. Chris Anderson, medical director for the Minnesota Banfield Pet Hospitals. They either eat too much and/or are too sedentary. The potential health problems are the same, too, including increased risk for diabetes and arthritis.

Help for our chunky critters is on the way. The Banfield hospitals, a national chain associated with PetSmart stores, has teamed up with Dolvett Quince, a trainer from TV's "Biggest Loser," to design an exercise program that owners can do with their pets.

Anderson likes the program because it can be adjusted based on the fitness of the owner and the dog. "There's more than just going out running with your dog, although that's still a great exercise," he said. "He's put together a program that has a range of complexity."

For best results, Anderson said, the exercise program should be combined with a weight-loss diet outlined by your vet.

The program can be downloaded at www.Banfield.com/fitness. Or you can watch Quince do a live demo at 10 a.m. Saturday in Staring Lake Park, 14800 Pioneer Lake Trail, Eden Prairie. Both the download and live program are free.