Fit Club for pets launched

Fit Club for pets

PDSA have launched this year's Pet Fit Club pet slimming contest, as it warns that a bad diet and lack of exercise is fuelling a “pet obesity time bomb”.

Owners are being called on to ‘skip the treats and hit the streets’ as new findings from the charity’s PAW Report reveal a staggering 5.7 million UK pets, including 3.4 million dogs, are fed treats every day, including dangerous foods such as crisps, cake, cheese, chips, and takeaways.

A further 2.4 million dogs are also fed table scraps or leftovers as their main meals, further adding to the weighty problem.

PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman says: “We love our pets and owners often enjoy showing their love by giving food. Nearly half of owners told us that they give treats because they believe it makes the pets happy, and 27 per cent do it to make themselves feel good. And 13 per cent confess to giving treats because their pets beg, puppy dog eyes are hard to resist.

“Treats and human food can be high in fat and sugars which are bad for pets’ waistlines and teeth. Some foods, like chocolate, are poisonous to pets and can even be fatal.”

On top of this, a shocking 1.6 million dogs aren’t walked daily, some of these are never walked because their owners mistakenly believe that playing in the garden is a suitable substitute.

PDSA now estimates that a third of dogs and a quarter of cats are now overweight or obese as a result, and to help battle the bulge, owners of overweight and obese pets are invited to take part in the UK’s biggest and most successful pet slimming competition.

The charity will select up to 15 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits from across the UK to participate in the six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored and overseen by expert PDSA vets and nurses. Owners can enter their pets at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub or by picking up an appliction form from PDSA Pet Hospitals and shops nationwide. The deadline for entries is Sunday 5 March, 2017. The overall winer will win a year’s free diet food and a pet friendly holiday, courtesy of Sykes Cottages.

One such chubby canine who will be following the Pet Fit Club regime is five-year-old Labrador Buddie, from Blackpool, who will gobble up anything from lasagne and pasta to biscuits and curry and he now struggles just walking to the end of the street. Owner Janet Ingleson says that, since she had a hip replacement last year, walking long distances has become a struggle. And when combined with the excessive calories, Buddie has gradually piled on the pounds. A recent skin infection on Buddie’s neck also made it difficult to put a collar on, so walks have become almost non-existent.

Buddie weighs in at a whopping 55.1kg (8st 9lb) and PDSA professionals say he needs to lose over 20kg, which currently makes him around 36 per cent overweight.

Janet adds: “My husband spoils him and will sneak him biscuits and treats when I go to bed. I tell him not to but he doesn’t listen! He’ll also give him leftovers from our dinner: lasagne, pasta, rice – you name it, Buddie will eat it!”