Podgy pets battling to become UK’s ‘biggest loser’
Vet charity PDSA has unveiled the heavy hounds, colossal cats and bulging bunnies taking on the ultimate pet weight-loss challenge – PDSA Pet Fit Club.
This year’s 13 pets – who together weigh a staggering 296kg (46st 8lb) – have been selected to compete in the UK’s foremost pet slimming competition.
The fat finalists, include:
Sadly, overweight pets are a big problem. It is estimated that around one-third of UK dogs and a quarter of cats are now overweight or obese**. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report also revealed that vet professionals are predicting the problem will continue to grow – with four-in-five believing that there will be more overweight pets than healthy weight pets by 2019.
- Curvy Cilla from Liverpool, who weighs in at nearly 8st 8lbs (54.4kg). Her canine companion, supersized Shyla, tips the scales at a hefty 7st 13lbs (50.2kg). Their owner used to give the portly pooches treats including crumpets, pasta, and biscuits. Together they need to lose nearly 4st (24.6kg)
- The heaviest cat in the competition is Lucy who ate and slept her way to a colossal 1st 5lbs (8.8kg) – around 120% overweight - after her owner mistakenly believed she was pregnant and fed her double portions!
- Tipping the scales at nearly a stone, is seven-year-old Chihuahua Tyty whose weight-gain has been caused by his thieving ways. He may be smaller than most dogs but is a big-time bully when it comes to food. He takes the lion’s share from his canine housemates even stealing potentially deadly treats like chocolate bars from his owner.
- Supersized kitty, Puff, from Sheffield now tips the scales at 1st 3lb (7.5kg), making her around 50% overweight. With the help of her owner she has already lost 5lb since being rehomed last year.
- Four-year-old English Bulldog Ethel, from Manchester, has a weight problem because of her thieving ways. Her family admit to spoiling her, but say their dog has ballooned in size after she suffered a tear to her cruciate ligament last year which prevented her exercising. She currently weighs in at 4st 13lb (30.3kg), making the portly pooch 50% overweight.
- Pebbles the rabbit once tipped the scales at a colossal 10Ib (4.5kg), making him more than 50% over his ideal weight (7Ib/3kg). The three-year-old rotund rabbit from Blackpool piled on the pounds through a combination of poor quality rabbit food and his aversion to rain, which prevented him exercising.
The cause of our pets’ expanding waistlines is no mystery either: over 4 million pets* (2.6 million dogs, 1.4 million cats and 12,000 rabbits) are fed scraps or leftovers as their main meals. Owners have also admitted to ‘treating’ their pets by giving them fatty, sugary and, in some cases dangerous, foods including cake, chocolate (despite being poisonous), biscuits, crisps, chips, and even takeaways.
Nicola Martin, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, said: “Pet obesity is a serious issue affecting millions of UK pets. Like humans, pets carrying excess weight risk developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. It can even shorten their lives.
“Too many pets are being fed unsuitable diets and not receiving enough exercise. So it’s vital we educate owners on how to keep their pets fit and healthy before the problem gets even worse. If owners are unsure what to feed their pets, or are concerned about their weight, they should always seek advice from their vet."
Nicola added: “With the help of PDSA Pet Fit Club, these pets and their owners will be making positive changes to their lifestyles to help them slim down to a healthy weight. PDSA will support them every step of the way over the next six months to ensure they succeed.”
An annual contest, PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 74 dogs, 32 cats and 6 rabbits lose a total 63 stone 11lb - equivalent to over 400 bags of sugar, 6,500 tins of tuna, 7,000 sausages, or four heavyweight boxers.
For more information about this year’s pet finalists and to follow their progress visit www.petfitclub.org.uk