PDSA tackle the rising pet obesity rate

Pets are experts at tricking us into giving them treats. Pampered pooches who enjoy a slice of ham before dinner, or maybe even a moreish moggy who loves an extra bowl of cat food or two, can dupe us humans into feeding them more than they need. Luckily, PDSA have launched a Pet Fit Club, a six-month diet and exercise programme for pets.

Rolo the Pug before and after

Rolo the Pug before and after

The sad fact is the nation’s pets are getting porkier, which is leading many to suffer from an array of health issues. In fact, 80 per cent of vets surveyed in vet charity PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report, believe there will be more overweight than healthy weight pets in five years’ time.

PDSA Vet Vicki Larkham-Jones, said: “We treat thousands of pets every year who have piled on the pounds and we know that many more are struggling with bulging waistlines, which is why we launched our Pet Fit Club competition. Not only to help some of the UK’s most obese pets reach their ideal weights, but to raise awareness of this important pet health issue.”

Boycus before with owner Sam Denning

Boycus before with owner Sam Denning

Boycus after being weighed

Boycus after being weighed

Now in its eleventh year, Pet Fit Club is a six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored and overseen by expert PDSA vets and nurses.  The charity will select up to 12 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits from across the UK to participate.

PDSA Pet Fit Club 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!

Meet Daisy

A formerly bulging Bulldog – who was so lazy she had to be bribed with ham to exercise –  was crowned ‘pet slimmer of the year’ after shedding over a quarter of her bodyweight.

Daisy before and after for web

Daisy before and after with PDSA Head Nurse Steph Williams.

Diet queen Daisy, from Middlesbrough, beat off competition from huge hounds, fat cats and round rabbits, who were all battling the bulge in a bid to become PDSA’s Pet Fit Club champ.

When Daisy (8) began her diet, she had ballooned to over 28kg (4st 6lbs), making her more than 40 per cent overweight. Daisy’s passion for extra portions had caused her waistline to expand, along with her preference of hitching a ride to pounding the pavement.

Owner, Gillian Turrell, (62) had tried to help her beloved pooch to slim down – even encouraging her to go on a treadmill under her close supervision, plus walks to gradually increase Daisy’s exercise levels. But exercise wasn’t Daisy’s thing – when out walking she’d been known to jump into any available car to catch a ride home when she’s had enough – hence her family nickname ‘Lazy Daisy’.

Daisy AFTER with PDSA Head Nurse Steph Williams, the potatoes show how much weight Daisy lost!

Daisy after with PDSA Head Nurse Steph Williams, the potatoes show how much weight Daisy lost!

Gillian said: “Daisy always begged for food, and has even been known to steal things out of the fridge. I also got into the habit of spoiling her with treats and titbits. The weight crept up slowly, and I didn’t notice how big she’d got.

“When I couldn’t get the car harness around her, and she was struggling to get up the stairs, I knew things had to change. I love Daisy to bits, and I want the best for her, so when I heard about PDSA’s Pet Fit Club, it was the perfect solution to helping her lose the weight.”

Daisy started the competition weighing in at a hefty 28.3kg but with PDSA’s help and Gillian’s determination, she was able to lose around 8kg in weight – meaning that she’s shed an impressive 27% of her bodyweight.

More pet slimmers:

PDSA Pet fit club. Duke the Labrador weighs 61kg but his ideal weight should be around 28-30kg. He is pictured with PDSA Vet Karen Jones at the Pet Hospital in Cardiff © WALES NEWS SERVICE

Duke the Labrador weighed 61kg but his ideal weight should be around 28-30kg. He is pictured with PDSA Vet Karen Jones at the Pet Hospital in Cardiff. © WALES NEWS SERVICE

PDSA Pet Fit, Duke the dog pictured in the Cardiff Pet Hospital © WALES NEWS SERVICE

PDSA Pet Fit, Duke the dog pictured in the Cardiff Pet Hospital after his weight loss. © WALES NEWS SERVICE

Shown is Hooch an overweight Rottweiler from Hull. He has been selected as a candidate for the PDSA Pet Fit Club as he currently weighs over 80kg. He is shown at PDSA Pet Hospital Brunswick Avenue in Hull with Head Nurse Helen Darnell and owner Mr Leslie McCormack. Pictures © Darren Casey / DCimaging.co.uk 07989 984643

Shown is Hooch an overweight Rottweiler from Hull. He was selected as a candidate for the PDSA Pet Fit Club as he currently weighs over 80kg. Pictures © Darren Casey.

Shown is Hooch an overweight Rottweiler from Hull. He was selected as a candidate for the PDSA Pet Fit Club as he weighed over 80kg. He is shown at PDSA Pet Hospital Brunswick Avenue in Hull with Head Nurse Helen Darnell and owner Mr Leslie McCormack at one of his final weigh ins. Pictures © Darren Casey / DCimaging.co.uk 07989 984643

Here is Hooch at PDSA Pet Hospital Brunswick Avenue in Hull at one of his final weigh ins. Pictures © Darren Casey.

PDSA, Shamrock Street, Glasgow, 29/5/15. Kia, an obese mastiff who is on a strict diet as part of Pet Fit Club. With owner Agnes Higgins. Pic free for first use relating to PDSA. For more information please contact Russell Roberts, 01952797273, roberts.russell@pdsa.org.uk . © Malcolm Cochrane Photography +44 (0)7971 835 065 mail@malcolmcochrane.co.uk No syndication No reproduction without permission

Kayla, an obese Bullmastiff with her owner Agnes Higgins, was on a strict diet as part of Pet Fit Club. © Malcolm Cochrane Photography

23Nov15: FREE FOR PR USE: PDSA PET FIT CLUB KAYLA...Pictured is bullmastiff Kayla from Glasgow who with the help of the PDSA is pictured at the end of Pet Fit Club having lost almost 17kg. Kayla is pictured with owner Agnes Higgins and PDSA Veterinary Surgeon Hannah McIvor, who is showing how much weight Kayla lost by showing her collar before the diet. *For more info contact Russell Roberts at PDSA on 01952 797 273* Pic by Nick McGowan-Lowe (07774 438935) ----------------------- Licence: This image is licensed for internal and PR use by the original client, and for PR use by editorial third parties, when used in conjunction with the original press release for a period of five years starting on 23Nov15. Contact photographer in advance to agree a fee for other uses. ---------------------- (C) Nick McGowan-Lowe 2015. Unit 114 Stirling Enterprise Park, John Player Building, Stirling, Scotland, FK7 7RP. T: 01786 474448; F: 01786 474285; M: 07774 438935; VAT: 724 1334 66. E: nick@nml.uk.com W: www.nml.uk.com ---------------------- Picture ref: 20151123

Pictured is Bullmastiff Kayla from Glasgow who with the help of the PDSA is pictured at the end of Pet Fit Club having lost almost 17kg. © Nick McGowan-Lowe 2015

If your pet is a little on the portly side, you can enter them at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub. Entry forms are also available from PDSA Pet Hospitals, Shops and Pet Hut superstores nationwide.  The deadline for entries is Sunday 6 March.

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity, treating more than 470,000 pets annually across its 51 Pet Hospitals. The charity strives to improve all pets’ lives through education, preventive care and emergency treatment. For more information visit www.pdsa.org.uk.

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