November 24, 2016 – A formerly morbidly-obese dog – who used to feast on Sunday roasts and couldn’t jump on the sofa he was so heavy – has become the biggest ever loser in a national pet slimming competition after shedding an incredible 39% of his bodyweight in just six months.
Oscar, the now-sprightly Spaniel, from Wolverhampton, was nearly double his ideal weight but has undergone an incredible transformation, shedding 1st 5lb (8.35kg). He beat off competition from six other pet super slimmers to be crowned PDSA Pet Fit Club Champ 2016.
His fitness regime included hydrotherapy sessions, long walks and a clampdown on fatty treats. His delighted owner says he is now a completely different dog, almost unrecognisable and much happier.
Each year vet charity, PDSA, which runs the UK’s most successful pet slimming competition, helps Britain’s fattest pets embark on a strict six-month diet and exercise programme, specially tailored and overseen by the charity’s vets and vet nurses. Pet Fit Club, now in its 11th year, helps get them back into shape and creates awareness of the serious issue of pet obesity, which afflicts millions of household pets.
Overall, this year’s seven Pet Fit Club finalists, which include a Labrador, Chihuahua, Bullmastiff, two cats and a rabbit, have lost a total of 4st 12lb (31kg).
Oscar once tipped the scales at a colossal 3st 6Ib (21.6kg), making him 80% over his ideal weight (1st 13lb/12kg). He was facing serious health problems and a shortened life span. But he wowed PDSA judges with his 1st 5lb (8.35kg) weight loss. He is now a much healthier 2st 1lb (13.25kg) and has been crowned the UK-wide winner.
Oscar, 10, provides vital companionship for his owner 78-year-old June Lawrence. After her husband died last year, June admits she has spoilt Oscar.
June treated him to Sunday dinners and leftovers from her plate. Lack of exercise compounded the problem until he became so unfit that just walking in the garden left him breathless.
June’s daughter, Karen Allen, 56, said: “Before Pet Fit Club, Oscar didn’t get much exercise. My mother is disabled so struggled to walk him. As he piled on the pounds he wanted to exercise even less and it became a vicious cycle. He couldn’t even jump on the sofa he was that big.
“He is a completely different dog now – like a puppy again. People simply don’t recognise him because he’s changed so much, in looks and personality. We now walk for miles and he runs around the house with his toys, nudging you until you play fetch with him.
“We started taking him to hydrotherapy at the beginning of the competition to help increase his exercise. At the first session he could barely do 15 seconds in the water without stopping for a break. Over the weeks we’ve seen him improve and now he cannot wait to get in the pool when we arrive. He can swim around 10 minutes at a time and loves being in the water.
“Taking part in Pet Fit Club is the best thing we could have done for him. We can see now how unhealthy and unhappy he was. Hopefully we’ll have many more years with him and have PDSA to thank for all their help.”
Oscar’s weight-loss has been supervised by PDSA vet nurse, Kay Brough, from Wolverhampton PDSA Pet Hospital. She said: “Oscar has done amazingly well on Pet Fit Club. His family have been very dedicated and worked extremely hard to help change his lifestyle for the better. He has virtually halved in size; his whole personality has changed. They’re all now seeing the rewards for their hard work.”
PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman, who helped to judge the competition, added: “Oscar’s transformation during Pet Fit Club is truly incredible. His success is testament to the hard work and dedication of his owners and the PDSA vet team. He is living proof that it’s never too late to make positive changes to improve our pet’s health and well-being. Oscar and his fellow Pet Fit Club slimmers will enjoy a better quality of life thanks to their weight loss.
“Owners who are concerned about their pet’s weight should speak to their vet as soon as possible so they can start making the necessary changes to make their four-legged friends happier and healthier.”
Other PDSA Pet Fit Club top slimmers:
Other pet slimmers joining Oscar’s record-breaking weight loss are Tyty the Chihuahua from Glasgow and Kaspa the Labrador from Cardiff. Both lost an amazing 29% of their bodyweight and have been awarded joint second place.
Mikey, from London, was named ‘top cat’ after losing 17% of his bodyweight.
Blackpool bunny, Pebbles, is also jumping for joy after losing 11% of his body weight.
Find out how all of this year’s pet slimmers got on and register your interest for next year’s competition at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub, and follow the conversation on social media with #PetFitClub.
More information about pet obesity and how to assess your pet’s body shape is also available at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.
Oscar’s owners have won a pet-friendly holiday courtesy of Cottages.com. Both Oscar and ‘top cat’ Mikey have won a year’s free pet food supply of Dechra Specific.