Sadly many pet guardians don’t understand the health risks associated with overweight pets. This is why the PDSA and us are trying to raise awareness of pet obesity.
The search is over! Vet charity PDSA has unveiled the line-up for this year’s PDSA Pet Fit Club –the UK’s ultimate pet weight-loss challenge.
This year’s nine heavy hounds and fat felines include a cat from Manchester who is double her ideal weight, a Pug from Glasgow whose super-sized waistline has left him struggling to breathe and a Bulldog from the Midlands who loves Mr Whippy ice cream cones.
Together these hefty pets weigh 197kg (31 stone) and need to lose nearly 80kg (12st 7lb) – the same as a Game of Thrones dire wolf!
PDSA Vet, Rebecca Ashman, said: “Pet obesity is an epidemic that is impacting the lives of millions of pets across the country. As with humans, being overweight can lead to a higher risk of suffering from serious life-limiting and life-threatening conditions such as arthritis, certain types of cancer and heart disease.”
The line up
Alfie, a seven-year-old extra-large Labrador from Liverpool, is nearly double (90%) his ideal weight and piled on the pounds due to his even larger appetite. He weighs in at a whopping 60.75kg (9 stone 7lb), and needs to lose a colossal 28.75kg (4 stone 7lb) to reach his ideal weight of 32kg (5 stone 1lb).
Bonnie is a six-year-old super heavyweight Spaniel from Blackpool. Her love of sausage rolls has left her 77% overweight. She tips the scales at 17.7kg (2 stone 11lb), a colossal 7.7kg (1 stone 3lb) over her ideal weight of 10kg (1 stone 8lb).
Seven-year-old podgy puss Bournville, from Sheffield, has a love of muffins that has left him 59% overweight. He weighs 9.55kg (1 stone 7lb) – 3.55kg (8lb) over his ideal weight of 6kg (13 lb).
Lucky the five-year-old podgy Pug from London weighs a porky 10kg (1 stone 5lb). He is 43% overweight and needs to lose 3kg (7lb) to reach his ideal weight of 7kg (1stone 1lb).
Luigi, a bulging Beagle from Newport, has a love of Sunday roasts has left him 39% overweight. The five-year-old podgy pooch weighs a hefty 29.1kg (4 stone 8lb) – 9.1kg (1stone 4lb) over his ideal weight of 21kg (stone 4lb).
Missi, a bulging Bulldog from the Walsall, who loves to feast on McFlurry ice creams, needs to lose 18.8kg (3 stone) to reach her ideal weight of 25kg (3 stone 13lb). The eight-year-old porky pooch is 43.8kg (6 stone 13lb), making her 75% overweight.
Percy the porky Pug from Glasgow, whose love of chicken and leftovers has left him struggling on walkies, weighs a whopping 12.62kg (2 stone). The three-year-old roly-poly pooch is 40% overweight and needs to lose a colossal 3.62kg (8lb) to reach his ideal weight of 9kg (1 stone 6lb).
Supersize cat Sox from Gateshead, whose excess waistline once caused her to get stuck in a child’s safety gate, is a huge 63% overweight. The nine-year-old puss weighs 6.5kg (1stone), a colossal 2.5kg (5lb) over her ideal weight of 4kg (9 lb).
Sparkx the cat from Manchester, is double (99%) her ideal weight after stealing food from her feline housemates. The two-year-old podgy puss is 6.95kg (1 stone 1lb), and needs to lose a colossal 3.4kg (7lb) to reach her ideal weight of 3.5kg (8lb).
PDSA Pet Fit Club
Pet Fit Club is a six-month diet and exercise programme. Participating pets are placed on individually-tailored regime, designed for their specific needs and overseen by the vet team at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.
PDSA vet Rebecca added: “It is estimated that up to 40% of UK cats and dogs are overweight or suffer from obesity. But with the help of PDSA and Pet Fit Club, these pets and their owners are making the necessary diet, exercise and lifestyle changes to help get down to healthier weights. We will support them every step of the way over the next six months to ensure they succeed.
“Pet Fit Club has been helping pets lose weight for 14 years, and is a great example of what can be achieved if owners are dedicated and determined to help their pets live a healthier lifestyle. If owners are worried about their pet’s weight they should seek advice from their vet or vet nurse, who can also make sure pets are on the right type of diet, are being fed the correct amount, and recommend ways to increase exercise levels.”
The national competition has been running since 2005 and is the biggest of its kind in the UK. Since its launch the competition has helped 85 dogs, 42 cats, eight rabbits and two rats lose over 75 stone (476kg)!
Pet Fit Club joint-reigning champs are Borris, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Deal, Kent, and Sadie the Labrador from Basildon, Essex. Both lost an incredible 25% of their bodyweight during last year’s competition.
To help them with their weight loss, Pet Fit Club participants will receive free weight management pet food from the SPECIFIC™ range for the duration of the competition. SPECIFIC™ pet food contains the exact nutrients appropriate to help keep your pet healthy and support them during their weight loss journey. The overall Pet Fit Club champ, crowned at the end of 2019, will win a year’s supply of SPECIFIC™ and a pet friendly holiday, courtesy of Sykes Cottages (www.sykescottages.co.uk/pdsa).
For more information about this year’s pet finalists and to follow their progress visit www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.
Pet Obesity: The Facts*
- Vets and vet nurses estimate that up to half of UK pets (46% of dogs, 34% of cats and 30% of rabbits)* that they see in their practice every week are overweight or obese.*
- 4 million (2.4 million dogs, 1.5 million cats and 30,000 rabbits) are fed table scraps or leftovers as one of their main types of food.**
- 80% owners stated their dog was an ideal weight, but 40% didn’t know their actual weight or body condition score.
- 74% owners stated their cat was an ideal weight, but 65% didn’t know their actual weight or body condition score.
- 83% owners stated their rabbit was an ideal weight, but 77% didn’t know their actual weight or body condition score.
- Vet professionals estimated that 47% of overweight and obese dogs seen have health issues which could be related to weight*
- 34% of vet professionals felt the number of overweight or obese cats they see in their practise has increased over the last two years.*
- Inappropriate diet is the most common rabbit health concern amongst veterinary professionals
- 5.5 million UK pets (3.3 million dogs, 2.1 million cats and 140,000 rabbits) are fed treats (including crisps, cake, cheese, chips, takeaways and chocolate) every day.
- 41% cat owners feed treats because they believe food makes them happy.
12% rabbit owners feed treats because they feel guilty about leaving them alone
- 89,000 dogs are never walked.
- In a 24 hour period, on average rabbits spend 12 hours in their hutch.
- 4% of cats (440,000) have no opportunities to exercise every day**