Vet charity PDSA is searching for the UK’s fattest pets as it launches its annual slimming competition – Pet Fit Club, with the winner receiving a year’s supply of pet food and a pet-friendly holiday.
The annual competition is now in its 15th year and aims to help Britains hefty hounds shed a few pounds while highlighting the pet obesity issue.
PDSA stats reveal that *46% of Britain's dogs are overweight. According to PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, pet obesity has been a huge problem in the UK for many years and sadly there is no sign of improvement.
This statistic is concerning, as just as with humans, carrying too much weight can seriously affect your dog's health and life span. Nina points out that “Research has shown that carrying too much weight can reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 years and 6 months**.”
As every person who has lost a dog knows, their life expectancy is already too short, with an average lifespan of between 10 - 13 years, 2 years is 15% - 20% of a dogs average lifespan. To help put this into context 20% would be 16 years off the UK human life expectancy of ***80.96 years.
Up to 20 overweight pets (dogs, cats, rabbits and rats) from across the UK will be chosen to participate in PDSA Pet Fit Club.
Selected pets are placed on a six-month diet and exercise programme, individually tailored to their needs and overseen by vets and vet nurses at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.
Participants receive free diet pet food for the duration of the competition, and the overall Pet Fit Club Champ, crowned at the end of 2020, will win a year’s free pet food and a pet-friendly holiday.
Each year one pet is crowned the ‘Pet Fit Club Champ’, over the past 15 years those crowned champs have lost a combined total of 130.35kg (20st 8lb). In 2019, the Pet Fit Club Champ, Luigi the Beagle, lost a huge 30% of his body weight, 8.7kg (1st 5lb).
The charity, which provides free and reduced-cost veterinary care to pets in need, is urging owners to enter their pets for the slimming competition at pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.
The closing date is Sunday 8 March 2020.
If your dumpling doggy is too shy to enter but still needs help with their weight, there are lots of things you can do;
But if in doubt speak to your vet about the best ways to help your dog shed some pounds.