Calling All Chonky Pets: A Charity Is Launching A Search For The UK's Fattest Animals
Vet charity PDSA is on the look-out for Britain's largest pets as it launches its annual pet slimming competition, Pet Fit Club.
The competition - which is now in its 15th year - aims to help tackle the UK's pet obesity crisis.
Worryingly, PDSA's stats reveal that up to half of UK pets are believed to be overweight or obese.
While these chonky pets are seriously cute, their weight puts their long-term health, happiness and life expectancy at risk.
Pets who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop health problems such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.
Luckily, PDSA's slimming club is on hand to help the UK's chunkiest animals battle the bulge.
So far, the charity has helped 143 pets lose a total of 513kg (80st 12lb) - that's the equivalent of a polar bear!
Selected pets are placed on a bespoke six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored to their needs and overseen by vets at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.
Participants receive free diet pet food throughout the competition and the overall Pet Fit Club Champ will win a year's free pet food and a pet friendly holiday.
Luigi the Beagle won the title of 2019 Pet Fit Club Champ, losing an impressive 8.7kg (1st 5lb). That's 30% of his bodyweight - and 8 inches from his waist!
Work it, Luigi!
According to PDSA, the most common reasons given by British vets for excess weight in pets are include a lack of recognition that their pet is overweight, feeding 'treats' or human food and inappropriate portion sizes.
In a statement about the project, PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: "Pet obesity has been a huge problem in the UK for many years and sadly there is no sign of improvement, with nearly one in every two pets seen by vets and vet nurses overweight or obese.
"This is a serious health issue, one of the biggest currently threatening pet wellbeing across the UK.
"Pets who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. Being overweight can also seriously aggravate other health problems, such as heart disease.
"For example, Pugs and French Bulldogs already struggle to breathe because of their flat faces, but carrying excess inches can make this much worse.
"Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can reduce a dog's life expectancy by up to 2 years and 6 months."
Want to help your pet beat the bulge? Owners can find out more and apply online at pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub or by calling the Pet Fit Club team on 01952 797246.
The closing date is Sunday 8th March 2020.
Featured Image Credit: PDSA