Biscuits and wine gums are off the menu!
Sweet treats and extra portions have been the dietary downfall of Bailey, a rather round Border Collie from Wishaw in Glasgow. As one of 18 podgy pets taking part in this year’s PDSA Pet Fit Club competition Bailey’s diet and exercise programme will be in the hands of staff at the PDSA PetAid hospital in East Glasgow.
Biscuit and wine-gum loving, Bailey (6), from Wishaw, Glasgow, was nominated by his owner Duncan Connor. Duncan and his wife, Pauline are determined to help Bailey become a slimmer and healthier dog by helping him to shed the pounds.
Weighing into the competition earlier this month, Bailey tipped the scales at 43.1kg, making him nearly 80% over the ideal weight for a healthy dog of his size. Duncan says: “Bailey is a big dog with a big and bubbly personality. He loves to swim in the pond in the nature reserve near our home and he tends to take us for walks as he is so strong. He likes to run around like crazy but exhaustion takes hold of him quite quickly and his weight forces him to slow down.”
When Bailey ran over some glass and ripped the tendons in his back legs last year he was housebound for six weeks becoming Duncan and Pauline’s special patient. “We spoilt him rotten and he began to pile on the pounds,” said Duncan, “but once we noticed how podgy Bailey was getting and our vet confirmed that he was officially overweight we stopped the treats immediately for his own good.”
Starting weight: 43.1kg
% overweight: 80%
Ideal weight: 24kg
Bailey still taps the door of his food cupboard with his paw when he’s hungry and he is always looking for extra food but there are no extra portions now that he is on a strict diet to slim down.
Having spent five years perfecting his very effective begging technique - especially for biscuits - Bailey has found his new treat-free diet something of a challenge.
“Ignoring Bailey’s begging eyes has been very difficult for everyone in the family,” said owner Pauline. “We used to give into him all the time but he has not had cheese or a biscuit since starting the diet. I’m so proud of him.”
Bailey weight loss is going to plan, and he is enjoying life and exercise more than ever before. Pauline added: “Bailey really has a spring in his step these days but he has worked out a new way of begging for treats – he sits with his paw in his bowl!”
Always a dog with an appetite for anything edible, Bailey adapted to his new diet food well and packed it away with great relish. Taking several walks a day and leaving the sweet treats in the past, Bailey gradually began to lose weight and the family noticed a new spring in pet’s step. At the half-way point Bailey had reached a very handsome 38.5kg.
“Bailey was doing so well and we were so proud of him and ourselves for sticking to his new diet but then we hit a hiccup,” explained Bailey’s owner Pauline. “I became ill and Bailey became my constant companion while I was virtually housebound for a while. He was with me all the time and I’m afraid I started sharing treats with him again and because I was too soft he started to put on a little weight.
“Despite warnings from my husband and my daughter my bad habits started to rub off on Bailey and every time I appeared with a cup of tea he knew that I would have a biscuit with that too. It was so hard to resist those big begging eyes!”
Treats of biscuits, cakes and being Pauline’s constant companion during her recovery were temporary setbacks for Bailey but he will be continuing with the diet food and reducing the treats as he helps Pauline recover and take more walks. “I feel very guilty,” said Pauline, “but this experience has made me realise that I need to help Bailey lose his excess weight. He was so much happier and brighter when he was losing the weight earlier in the competition. Maybe we can diet together? After all he has helped me back on my feet so now I owe it to him to make him happier and healthier.”
Sean Wensley, PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, said: “Excess pounds can contribute to a number of serious health conditions and, sadly, it does reduce life expectancy. But the good news is that it’s never too late to make positive changes to a pet’s diet and lifestyle.”
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