A formerly heavy hound from Middlesbrough has been named biggest loser in the UK’s largest pet slimming competition after shedding an incredible 34% of his bodyweight in just six months.
Alfie the Beagle once weighed-in at a whopping 4st 10lbs (30kg), – 67% over his ideal weight (2st 12lb/18kg). His health was at serious risk from his excess pounds, say PDSA vets. But after pounding the streets and cutting back on the excess food, he’s lost a third of his bodyweight and wowed the Pet Fit Club judges. He is now a much healthier 3st 1lb (19.7kg)
Each year, PDSA helps the country’s fattest pets take on a strict six-month diet and exercise challenge, specially tailored and overseen by the charity’s vets and nurses. Pet Fit Club helps our four-legged friends slim down, and raises awareness of the serious health and welfare implications of pet obesity.
Since its launch in 2005 the Pet Fit Club competition has helped 79 dogs, 37 cats and 8 rabbits lose a total 71 stone – equivalent to a grand piano (or 16,000 doughnuts!)
The winner: Alfie’s tail
Owner, Emily Simcox (25), adopted Alfie, the bulging Beagle, five years ago. Alfie was already seriously overweight and found it difficult to get around.
Emily has been trying to help Alfie slim down ever since but back in April, admitted she needed help from PDSA to shake off some bad habits.
She said: “Taking part in PDSA’s Pet Fit Club is unquestionably the best thing I have ever done. Seeing the transformation in Alfie has been incredible. He’s a completely different dog and we’re over the moon.
“Before, he was sluggish, tired and looked sad a lot of the time. He couldn’t even walk up the stairs; he’d struggle half way up and then had to stop for a rest before getting to the top. On walks, he would sluggishly walk towards a ball we’d thrown and often wouldn’t bother even trying to bring it back. But since being on the diet his tail hasn’t stopped wagging! He leaps and bounds, and is so full of energy.
“Before Pet Fit Club, I would continually feed him treats as a way of showing how much I love him. Those eyes are so hard to resist. But we know now that we were drastically affecting his life by doing this and it was no good for him. It was heart-breaking to say no at first. I felt as though I was starving him. But with the help of the PDSA team, we managed to stick with it and learn to say no.”
Alfie’s diet hasn’t been without its slip-ups, said Emily: “I was making a cheese sandwich and left it on the kitchen counter. I walked back in the room to find Alfie licking his lips, and the cheese sandwich gone!
“I want other people to realise there’s help out there. You don’t need to be embarrassed about having an overweight pet. I hope others are inspired by Alfie’s story and take their pet to the vets for advice and support. Alfie is proof that change is possible – we’ll never look back!”
Alfie’s weight-loss has been supervised by PDSA vet nurse Steph Williams, from Middlesbrough PDSA Pet Hospital. She said: “Alfie’s transformation over the last six months has been incredible. He is unrecognisable from the dog that waddled into our hospital for his first weigh-in six months ago. He’s much healthier and will be able to enjoy a much happier life.
“His owners Emily and Neil have been very dedicated to adjust his lifestyle for the better. They have listened to all the advice and stuck to the diet religiously. It’s helped increase Alfie’s exercise levels and showed what can be done with determination!
PDSA vet nurse Katy Orton, who helped to judge the competition, added: “It has been great to watch Alfie transform over the past six months. His success is testament to the hard work of his owners and our PDSA veterinary team at Middlesbrough Pet Hospital.
“Pet obesity is a growing issue that affects millions of UK pets. Up to forty per cent of dogs and cats in the UK are estimated to be overweight or obese. Recognising a healthy body shape is an important first step, so we are encouraging pet owners who are concerned about their pet’s weight to speak to their vet or vet nurse as soon as possible. This expert advice can help owners make the necessary changes to ensure their four-legged friends lead a happier, healthier life.”
PDSA Pet Fit Club – The Results
|NAME||STARTING WEIGHT||FINAL WEIGHT||TOTAL WEIGHT LOST||% WEIGHT LOSS||Result|
|4st 10lbs (30kg)||3st 1lb
|1st 2lbs (7.4kg)||12lb
Biggest rabbit weight-loss ever
|1st 8lbs (10.2kg)||1st 5lb
|1st 4lbs (8.1kg)||1st 2lb
|1st 12lbs (11.8kg)||1st 11lb
Since its launch in 2005 Pet Fit Club has helped 79 dogs, 37 cats and 8 rabbits lose a total 71 stone – equivalent to a grand piano or 16,000 doughnuts!