Each year the PDSA Pet Fit Club gathers up a bunch of unhealthy pets to take them on a journey of weight loss and discovery.
The winning cat or dog gets a year’s supply of healthy food and an animal-friendly holiday for their owners, so it’s worth taking part.
The animals get to return to better health and us bystanders get to enjoy transformations of pudgy pugs and chubby tabbies getting svelte over the course of six months.
Today marks the start of the challenge, so it’s time for us to meet a few of the contenders.
First up is Percy, a pug weighing in at two stone. He gained weight thanks to a love of eating chicken and leftover dinners.
The three-year-old dog needs to lose eight pounds to reach his ideal weight, and will do so with the help of his owner Chloe Morrison and guidance on a diet and exercise plan from the Pet Fit Club.
Owner Chloe said: ‘When we’re eating dinner he sits and stares at you with his puppy-dog eyes until you give him some food and my dad tends to feed him his leftovers, too, which is definitely adding to his weight gain.
‘He’s a clever pooch. My mum had cooked some toast and had left it on the side while getting something from another room.
‘When she came back he was half way down the garden with the whole piece of toast in his mouth.
‘I’m really excited to be part of Pet Fit Club and I’m hoping it will help Percy to have a better quality of life and he can live to a ripe old age.’
Also in the running is seven-year-old Alfie, a Labrador from Liverpool who needs to lose nearly half his current body weight.
There’s also Bonnie, a spaniel whose love of sausage rolls has left her 7.7kg overweight, and Sox, a cat so hefty that she once got stuck in a child’s safety gate.
The pets will receive free weight management food during the competition, and will be overseen by the vet team at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.
PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman said Pet Fit Club is ‘a great example of what can be achieved if owners are dedicated and determined to help their pets live a healthier lifestyle.’
She added: ‘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 competition has been running each year since 2005, and has helped loads of animals get healthy and happy.
Last year’s winners Borris and Sadie lost 25% of their body weight during the competition.
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