The competition aims to tackle the UK’s current pet obesity crisis. It follows PDSA research that revealed 46% of dogs, 34% of cats and 30% of rabbits are believed to be overweight or obese.
Now in its 15th year, the Pet Fit Club has helped 89 dogs, 44 cats, eight rabbits and two rats lose a collective 513kg (80st 12lb). The 2019 Pet Fit Club Champ, Luigi the Beagle, lost 8.7kg (1st 5lb), which was 30% of his body weight.
PDSA said that the most common reason for excess weight in pets was the owner’s lack of recognition that their pet is overweight, as well as “inappropriate” portion sizes. It is now urging owners of overweight pets to enroll their animals in the competition.
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. Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to two years and six months.”