Battersea’s very own Nelly the Elephant highlights the problem of pet obesity

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home mark National Obesity Awareness Week by highlighting obesity in pets.

As part of National Obesity Awareness Week, which runs from 14 to 20 January, Battersea are warning pet owners of the implications that being overweight could cause dogs like Nelly, the Bulldog.

Ten-year old Bulldog Nelly ended up at Battersea after she was found tied up in a park with a note that simply read ‘sorry’. She was very overweight when she arrived, around 10 kilograms above the healthy weight for a female bulldog.

At 32 kilograms, she weighed the same as the average 10-year-old child.

During her stay at Battersea, Nelly underwent surgery to open up her airways, as she was having difficulty breathing, a common problem amongst fat-faced breeds.

Battersea’s vets believe Nelly’s size is likely to have hindered her breathing even further, making it difficult for her to exercise and shift some of the weight. As she took some time to recover from her operation, Nelly stayed at Battersea for 82 days in total, which is over double the average stay for a dog.

Battersea vet, Claire Turner, said: “The most common reason that pets become overweight s eating too much food and not getting enough exercise. Much like humans, pet calorie intake and expenditure need to be balanced to maintain a healthy weight. Nelly’s been on a strict diet and a gentle exercise regime at Battersea, as we need to help her peel off the pounds, while being careful with her breathing.

“Pet obesity is something we see a lot of her at Battersea, and research shows more than half of British dogs are overweight, so this is something every pet owner needs to be aware of. Pet obesity can cause serious health issues, so – if you think your cat or dog might be overweight – it’s best to consult your vet who will be able to assess your pet and advise you on how to help them lose the extra pounds.”

Luckily for Nelly, she has found her happy ending and has been rehomed by Roz Funnell in Hertfordshire.

Roz said: “After losing my old Battersea dog, Millie to a heart attack last year and then having a hip replacement in the summer, I was in absolutely no rush to rehome another dog. But, on a visit to Battersea with my nephew in November I saw Nelly walk past, and it was love at first sight.

“All the staff at Battersea have done an excellent job of looking after her, making sure that she was healthy enough to finally come home. I have a fantastic vet who will help me set a diet plan for Nelly, and hopefully with some gentle exercise we can both get a little bit fitter.”