Dog the Bounty Hunter understands he might need to make serious changes in his day-to-day life if he's going to be around for his family ... this after some tough love.
Sources close to Dog tell TMZ ... family members had a serious talk with him after his weekend hospitalization -- for what seemed like a possible heart attack -- and made it clear something's gotta give.
As we reported, it turned out to to NOT be a heart attack ... still, we're told Dog seems open to making some changes, but nothing is gonna come easy.
For starters ... he has been and continues to be a heavy smoker, which of course, is a leading cause of heart issues. We're told he's willing to try to cut back on cigarettes, but there's no talk of quitting.
TMZ broke the story ... after performing a bunch of tests, doctors determined Dog's chest pain was brought on by stress and blood pressure issues.
Our sources say Dog eats a ton of junk food -- so he's open to dietary changes as well. He's been very candid about his loss of appetite since Beth died -- but his family wants him to commit to getting on a strict and healthy diet.