A former lardy labrador from St Helens who was nearly double his ideal weight has been named runner-up the UK’s largest pet slimming competition – PDSA Pet Fit Club - after shedding more than two stone and 23 per cent of his bodyweight in just six months.
Seven-year-old, Alfie weighed-in at a whopping 60.75kg (9st 7lb) - 90% over his ideal weight 32kg (5st 1lb).
After PDSA vets warned that his health was at serious risk from his excess inches, his concerned owner cut out the big portions and increased his exercise. Now, Alfie has impressed the Pet Fit Club judges with his trimmer and healthier 46.8.kg (7st 5lb) figure.
Every year vet charity PDSA helps the UK’s fattest pets battle the bulge in Pet Fit Club - a six-month diet and exercise challenge, specially tailored and overseen by its vets and nurses.
Before taking on Pet Fit Club, Alfie’s huge appetite has caused him to become nearly double (90%) his ideal overweight.
His owner, Antony Mather, 75, from St Helens said his habit of giving in to Alfie’s greedy ways had led him to slowly pile on the pounds.
When Alfie started showing signs of arthritis, Anthony feared his dog’s excess weight would only make things worse.
However, six months on Pet Fit Club’s strict diet and exercise programme has changed his life.
Anthony said: “Pet Fit Club has worked absolute wonders for Alfie. He’s the same loveable dog but his whole attitude has changed – he’s fitter and healthier than he has been in a long time.
“Before Alfie could only manage a slow plod but since losing all of that weight he now sprints around our local park. He also enjoys jumping into the lake for a swim – something he wouldn’t have dreamed about doing six months ago!”
“It took us a little while to adapt to the strict diet and I still find it hard to resist his puppy-dog eyes, but it’s been worth it and Alife has got used to having smaller portions and less treats.
“We have had the odd slip up. I’ve nipped out for a few minutes and Alfie helped himself to my fish from the chippy!
"Apart from that he has kept on track, it’s up to us as owners to make sure our pets’ are getting a balanced diet and enough exercise.”
Despite his impressive weight loss, Alfie still has more weight to lose to reach his ideal weight (32kg / 5st 1lb).
Alfie’s programme has been supervised by Lizzie Whitton, Vet at Liverpool Huyton PDSA Pet Hospital
Anthony added: “I can’t praise both Lizzie and PDSA enough. She has been there with us every step of the way and was an enormous support to Alfie and me.
"With Lizzie’s help we are also managing Alfie’s arthritis much better, thanks to medication and his weight loss, he can lead a happy, normal life.
“I am so proud of Alife, people come up to us in the street and can’t believe how much weight he’s lost. Pet Fit Club is the best thing we could have done and we’re going to carry on with the diet until he reaches his perfect weight.”
PDSA vet Lizzie Whitton said: “The change I have seen in Alfie has been remarkable. He looks like a completely different dog to the one that first came here six months ago. Every month we’ve seen the big changes in him as the weight has come off.
“His owner Anthony has been very dedicated, he has stuck to the diet and it has paid off in a big way.
“Any owners who are worried about their pet’s weight should seek advice from their vet, who can work with them to get them on the right diet and safely increase their pet’s exercise levels.”
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing, who is on the Pet Fit Club judging panel, added: “It has been hugely rewarding to see Alfie and the other pets’ weight decrease over the last six months. Their success is testament to the hard work of their owners and our PDSA veterinary teams.
“Pet obesity is a growing issue that affects millions of UK pets. We believe up to 50%* of dogs and cats in the UK are overweight or obese, which can lead to serious long term health problems and a shortened life expectancy.”
The winner of Pet Fit Club 2019 competition is Luigi, a once-bulging Beagle from Cardiff, who swapped Sunday roast for diet food and extra walkies. He’s lost an incredible 30% of his bodyweight and 8 inches off his waist, reaching his ideal weight: 20.4kg (3st 3lb)
Since its launch in 2005 Pet Fit Club has helped 143 pets - 89 dogs, 44 cats, eight rabbits and two rats - lose 513kg (80st 12lb)!
Find out more about this year’s pet slimmers and register your interest for the 2020 Pet Fit Club competition at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.