Fat pets to slug it out for diet crown
Nov 18 2008 by Sam Wood, The Journal
AN overweight pooch from the North East has made it to the final stages of a dieting competition, after being found to be one of the country’s fattest pets.
Two-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel Bo weighed in at 19.75kg (44lb), over twice the recommended weight for his breed.
His concerned owner, Joan Gilmour, 50, from Hebburn, South Tyneside, said she was worried about her greedy mutt’s weight and entered the competition, run by vet charity PDSA, after reading about it in a newspaper.
Bo will join six other dogs and a cat from across Britain on a specially-tailored 100-day programme run by PDSA vets and nurses to help them battle the bulge.
The diet includes special food and extra exercise for the portly pets.
The animal with the biggest percentage weight loss which has best followed the fitness regime will be crowned PDSA Pet Fit Club champ and win a holiday for both pet and owner.
Ms Gilmour, of St Rollox Street, Hebburn, said: “He is just like a dustbin, he is so greedy he just eats and eats and eats.
“I have another King Charles spaniel and feed them the same but Bo will just not stop, even when he is full.
“Maybe I did give him too many treats, but every time I take him for walks, he will just go looking for any food he could find, there is just no way to stop him eating. If he finds a piece of pizza in the street, he will just eat it.
“I’ve had him since he was a puppy and I noticed he was putting on weight but I’m not very experienced with dogs and I didn’t know what to do.
“The breed has a history of heart problems so I was worried about him.
“He has been on the diet for a while now and has already started to lose weight. The vets reckon he should weigh around 8kg but he is a big dog anyway so we will have to see how thin he gets. However, already he is looking a lot healthier. The challenge is now to make him stick to the diet.”
PDSA statistics show around 30% of the nation’s dogs are overweight or obese, amounting to around 1.95 million fat dogs across the UK. The charity said this figure leapt by 9% between 2006 and 2007.
Sean Wensley, senior veterinary surgeon at the PDSA, said the charity was extremely concerned about the rising number of obese pets.
He said: “Many owners admit to spoiling and overfeeding their pets.
“Alongside their daily portions of pet food, owners often show their affection by giving unhealthy human treats such as cheese, buttered toast and biscuits. They don’t realise they are actually killing their pets with kindness.
“This, combined with lack of exercise, is causing the growing number of obese pets, many of which face a lifetime of health problems because of their weight.”
Also in the running to be the PDSA weight loss champion is 13-year-old cat Tinks, from Walderslade, Gillingham, Kent, weighing in at 9.8kg (22lb).