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From Jumbo Jack to Jumping Jack Flash - UK’s biggest pet loser takes slimming crown
Jack was around twice his ideal weight before shedding 6.35kg on PDSA Pet Fit Club
Jack, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, has been crowned the UK’s pet slimming champ for 2012 after shedding nearly one third (31%), of his bodyweight which equates to a remarkable 6.4kg. The now healthy hound is one of 17 formerly obese pets to have undergone a physical transformation as part of a six month diet and fitness regime run by leading veterinary charity, PDSA. In total, the pets have lost 86kg or 13 stone and 7 pounds – roughly equivalent to 28 Yorkshire Terriers, over 200 tins of dog food or a female giant panda!
Nicknamed ‘Jumbo Jack’ by owner Rose Welch (52) when she adopted the already super-sized Spaniel back in January of this year, the seven-year-old from Stanmore, Middlesex, has been transformed by his involvement in PDSA’s annual slimming contest, Pet Fit Club. At the beginning of the competition he tipped the scales at 20.5kg, around double his ideal weight. Six months on he is a far healthier 14.1kg, and has trimmed an impressive 20cm off his waist.
Jack had been overfed and hardly exercised prior to being adopted by Rose. His obesity had caused him to become deaf, as the extra fat blocked his ear canals. He struggled to walk more than a few steps, couldn’t play, and couldn’t even bark.
“When Jack first came to us he was morbidly obese and could barely walk,” said Rose. “I couldn’t bear to see him in such a sad state so took him to the vet to talk about a diet and fitness plan. Today he is a different dog and we call him Jumping Jack instead of Jumbo Jack, as he jumps every time he barks now. He is fit, healthy and happy – everything a pet should be – and we are absolutely thrilled.”
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, added: “This is a great success story for all concerned. Having adopted a seriously overweight animal, Rose has done a wonderful job in managing Jack’s food intake and safely increasing his exercise. As for Jack, he undoubtedly feels much fitter and happier, and has a greater life expectancy than when he was overweight. The fact that he is eight years old just underlines the fact that it’s never too late to improve a pet’s diet and lifestyle.”
Jack’s remarkable achievement saw him beat off a field of overweight pet challengers from across the UK, who are now enjoying significant benefits to their health and wellbeing, thanks to losing weight on Pet Fit Club.
Jack’s owners have won a pet-friendly holiday at the Four Seasons hotel in Perthshire, as well as a year’s free supply of diet food from Hill’s, to help Jack reach his ideal weight.
PDSA Pet Fit Club is now in its seventh year and has seen 68 pets (46 dogs, 21 cats and 1 rabbit) lose a total of 238kg (37stone 7lb) since 2005. The weight loss is the equivalent of a baby grand piano, 77 Yorkshire Terriers or more than 4,000 sausages or 600 tins of dog food.
Other top pet slimmers this year are:
Billie – Black and white tom cat from Sunderland:
Highly commended contestant Billie, a black-and-white tom cat from Sunderland, always had a bigger appetite than his feline housemate, according to retired owner Vilma Warren. But years of helping himself to double portions meant he ballooned to nearly twice his ideal weight. Twelve-year-old Billie’s amazing weight loss has resulted in a slimmer, happier and healthier cat, and he now plays like a kitten again, according to Vilma. From a starting weight of 8.7kg (93% overweight), the tubby tom cat cut down to 6.7%kg, representing a loss of 2kg (23%) and a resulting 13cm reduction in his waist measurement. This is particularly impressive for a cat, as weight loss in cats has to be done very slowly, and should be managed and overseen by a vet or vet nurse.
Billy – Cocker Spaniel from Airdrie (near Glasgow):
Also highly commended is another Billy – this time it’s formerly full-figured Billy Hunter, a Cocker Spaniel from Airdrie. The six-year-old’s love of food led to him piling on the pounds until he struggled to climb stairs, prompting owner Jane to take action. From a start point of 23.3kg (one third overweight) Billy has shed 6.9kg to arrive at a far trimmer 16.6kg (a drop of 29%) and, according to Jane, he now has a spring in his step, enjoying long walks without getting out of breath.
Bobby – Mini-Lop rabbit from Middlesbrough:
This year’s top-performing rabbit slimmer in PDSA Pet Fit Club is Bobby, a four-year-old mini-lop from Middlesbrough. Bobby had a bad habit of stealing her partner’s food rations and eventually her dewlap (the roll of skin under the chin) grew so big she had difficulty grooming herself properly. Thanks to Pet Fit Club she has gone from 2.39kg to 1.7kg shedding 0.7kg (29% of her bodyweight) and losing 6cm from her waistline. As in cats, rapid weight loss can prove fatal for rabbits, making her achievement a shining example of how rabbits can slim safely with veterinary guidance. Bobby is now much more active and also much happier, as demonstrated in her now regular ‘binkies’ – this is when rabbits jump and twist in the air and is seen as the ultimate expression of rabbit joy.
Fifi Bottomley – Black and White female cat from Bradford:
Black and white cat Fifi was commended for her slimming efforts, having shed 2kg (9.3 to 7.3) which represents 22% off her starting weight. Eight-year-old Bradford puss Fifi was rescued as a starving kitten by her first owner and her greedy nature is thought to be related to this early experience. She persuaded neighbours to feed her extra meals, and has even been known to steal bird food from the garden. Her weight ballooned until she was morbidly obese, but since dieting she is much more active and playful.
Merlin – Border Collie from the Wirral:
Border Collie Merlin from the Wirral used to love biscuits, but his extra bulk contributed to the onset of arthritis. Since taking part in Pet Fit Club, Merlin has not vanished entirely, but has shrunk from a whopping 42kg (more than double his ideal weight) to a far healthier 31kg. The 11kg loss accounts for over quarter (26%) of his starting weight. His new slim-line figure means he is now much more active, healthy and happy.
Molly – Rottweiler from Barnsley:
Four-year-old Molly, a once rotund Rottweiler from Barnsley, started Pet Fit Club almost two-thirds heavier than her ideal weight. Thanks to a supervised diet overseen by PDSA vets and vet nurses, she has lost 17kg (from 66 to 49kg – 26% of her starting weight) and her waist has reduced by 18cm. Six months ago Molly would struggle to walk for longer than ten minutes, but since fighting the flab she is now much happier and far more energetic.
Deco – Labrador from Bradford
Three-year-old Golden Labrador, Deco, lost a total of 8kg or 18% of his bodyweight on Pet Fit Club. However, he started the competition in March 2012 weighing 44.3kg, having already slimmed from his heaviest weight of 55kg. Deco has managed to reach his ideal weight through Pet Fit Club (around 36kg) so his total weight loss is 18.7kg (nearly 3 stone). In addition, his owner, Jan Green, joined her pet’s weight-loss journey, losing a staggering three stone since November 2011. Together they have lost a whopping six stone.
Pet owners and supporters can see all of this year’s finalists’ results and also register their interest to take part in the next competition at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.
Pet obesity facts:
Findings from the landmark PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report*, the biggest assessment ever produced in to standards of pet wellbeing, show that 2.4 million UK dogs (a third of the dog population) are fed scraps or leftovers as one of their main types of food and 42% are given treats daily which is bad news for their waistlines. Meanwhile, 86% of cat owners give their feline friend treats, including cake, cheese and chips. This is fuelling the pet obesity epidemic, and current estimations are that one-in-three dogs and one-in-four cats are overweight.*
- Over a third of all dogs (35% or 2.9million) in the UK are now overweight or obese.*
- Cats don’t fare much better, with PDSA data showing that around one-in-four are overweight (approximately 3 million).
- Rabbits have the worst diets compared to dogs and cats with 42% being fed too little hay every day, and 49% being fed rabbit muesli (a mix of seeds and flakes) which should not be fed as it can lead to obesity and dental problems.**
- Overweight pets are at risk of serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, and have a lower life expectancy than healthy pets.
- Over-feeding treats and providing an incorrect diet are the primary causes of pet obesity, with 90% of dog owners admitting to feeding treats such as cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits, toast and takeaways.*
* Information taken from PDSA PetCheck assessments of the weight and general health of nearly 30,000 dogs between 2006-2010. During this period, the percentage of overweight dogs has risen from around one-in-five (21%) to more than one-in-three (35%).
** Information taken from the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report 2011, a survey of 11,124 dog, cat and rabbit owners in the UK was conducted online between 21st September – 16th November 2010 through the YouGov panel. Data is weighted to be representative of dog, cat and rabbit owners in the UK.
Join in the conversation on Twitter: @PDSA_HQ / #petfitclub
Fifi has lost 2kg on Pet Fit Club and will be continuing to diet until she reaches her ideal weight