FINE, YOU’LL ADMIT that you’re a bit chunky. But your beloved Bichon Frise? He’s just fluffy, you protest. And that’s a big problem, according to “Good Morning America” vet Marty Becker. More than half of all American dogs are overweight (much like their owners) because people have gotten lazy and stopped taking their pooches for walks.

Plus, there’s the problem that pet owners see food as love. “These dogs were born scavengers. They’re more than happy to eat whatever you stick in front of them. There’s no bikini season. They don’t walk in front of a mirror and check out their hairy derrieres,” Becker says. The solution is to get your butt off the couch. Fido’s will happily follow you out the door, as we explain in today’s must-read edition of Fit (click here to download a PDF of this story).

But I don’t have a dog, you complain. So how can you find a furry friend to exercise with you? Try asking elderly neighbors if they could use a hand with their pets, or contact the Washington Humane Society. The dogs at the Georgia Avenue location need to be walked three times a day, so the shelter’s always looking for eager volunteers to pitch in. (At 25 pounds, Mister Gee, above, is an example of an adoptable Pekingese who could stand to lose a few pounds.) You just need to attend a training and then you can sign up. Kids as young as 12 can even do it, as long as they’re accompanied by an adult. Call Rebecca French for details at 202-723-5730, ext. 208. At the New York Avenue shelter, you can offer to take a dog on an “Ambassador Walk.” That means you and the pup go on a field trip to a part of town with heavy foot traffic. As you burn calories, you can pass out adoption forms to help your exercise buddy find a happy home. It’s all about looking good while doing good.

Photo from Washington Humane Society