Vet charity PDSA has revealed some of the UK’s most obese animals as they weigh in for its annual pet slimming competition, Pet Fit Club.
This year’s 17 pets battling the bulge are carrying a total of 32 stone in excess weight, and include:
Hooch, an 11-year-old Rottweiler from Hull, who tips the scales at nearly 13 stone (82kg), is more than seven stone overweight making him the biggest ever pet to take part in Pet Fit Club. His owner Leslie McCormack rescued Hooch several years ago, and has already managed to help him shed some weight but he still has a long way to go.
Leslie said: “Hooch was mistreated before so he’s a bit wary of strangers. He used to eat five tins of dog food a day but I’ve cut him down to one. He’s already lost so much weight but I want him to be healthy and happy and to live as long as he can.”
Meanwhile, Sue Blackhurst and her family from Liverpool, have been forced to put child locks on their fridge in a desperate bid to prevent their Springer Spaniel Poppy from stealing their supper. At 4st 12lbs (30.8kg), Poppy is around 30% overweight.
Sue said: “Poppy is a lovely dog but she’s very mischievous. She steals my rollers and just loves to play but also fights our birds for their bread and tries to open the fridge to steal food - so we’ve put child locks on.”
Greedy Guy the cat, from Leicester, is one of the fattest ever moggies to take part in Pet Fit Club. Guy, 8, lives with his owner Angie Barcock on a main road so is kept indoors. But his habit of pinching his companions’ dinners together with his dislike for exercise have caused him to balloon to more than double the size he should be. At 1st 10lbs (10.8kg), Guy is 116% overweight.
Cocker Spaniel Harley is carrying so much flab that he’s even been mistaken for a panda by foreign tourists visiting Edinburgh. Owner Lisa Mitchell said she has been stopped by Chinese sightseers in Prince’s Street who often ask to take photos of her six-year-old podgy pooch due to the uncanny resemblance. Harley weighs 4st 4lbs (27kg) and is nearly 60% overweight.
Rescue cat Boycus is one of several cats in the household; all the others are a healthy weight but Boycus has ballooned in the last couple of years and is morbidly obese. The greedy puss eats everything in sight, finishing off the other cats’ dinners and even pinching the dog’s food. His owner, Sam, has tried everything to stop him stealing food, even putting the other cats’ grub inside cat carriers that are too small for Boycus to get into. But he always finds a way to break in! Boycus weighs 1st 8lb but should be around 11lb, making him 108% overweight.
Roly-poly Pug Rolo was adopted by his new owners at the end of 2014. Previously he had been over-fed, not walked properly and was morbidly obese. Describing him as ‘very food motivated’ Rolo’s owner,Lydia Ernstsons, said: “He has a habit of chasing people carrying shopping bags of food and has even been known to follow complete strangers into their home! His favourite trick is to pull at the tablecloth until any food on the table falls to the floor, and just last weekend he jumped into the pond after food that was thrown for the ducks!” Rolo is 2st 1lb but should weigh approximately 1st 6lb making him 48% overweight.
The diet food for the Pet Fit Club finalists is kindly sponsored by Hill's and Burgess. The winning cat and dog win a year's free food from Hill's, and the winning rabbit or small pet wins a year's free Burgess Excel food. The overall Pet Fit Club champ's owner will win a pet-friendly break, kindly sponsored by Cottages4You.
Sadly these pets are not alone when it comes to carrying too many extra pounds. The PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report revealed that four-out-of-five veterinary professionals* have seen an increase in pet obesity cases in the last two years.
Obesity is the number one concern among vets when it comes to dogs but, worryingly, nearly half of pet owners surveyed are not aware it’s a major issue**. This is a huge concern, says PDSA, given that 80% of vets and vet nurses believe there will be more overweight pets than healthy weight pets in five years time.
Obesity can contribute to pets developing deadly conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, as well as debilitating conditions including arthritis.
Nicola Martin, PDSA Head of Pet Health and Welfare, said: “Just as human waistlines are expanding, sadly our pets are facing a similar fate too.
“When considering how much to feed their pets, many owners still rely on ‘common sense’ or past experience to make a decision, rather than looking at the weight and body shape of their pet and using packet guidelines.
“With millions of pets receiving unhealthy treats such as crisps, cake and cheese as part of their daily diet, and millions more not getting enough exercise, it is clear that the serious issue of obesity in our pet nation is only going to get worse.
“However, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to make a positive change. All the pets taking part in Pet Fit Club this year are taking the first step towards a longer, healthier life. Anyone concerned about their pets’ weight should speak to their veterinary practice who can offer the right advice and support.”
PDSA Pet Fit Club was launched in 2005 and has already helped 63 dogs, 26 cats and 6 rabbits lose a total of 60 stone 6lb. This weight loss is the equivalent of 384 bags of sugar, more than 6,700 sausages, 761 tins of dog food or over 500 blocks of lard.
For more information about the pet finalists, please visit www.petfitclub.org.uk