Two older cats are looking for a second chance at happiness

Two older cats, Poppet and Parker, are hoping to find their second chance of happiness after they were both abandoned by their previous owners.

Nine-year old Poppet is 52 in human years and 12-year old Parker is 64 in human years, meaning they have a combined age of 116.

On average, it takes the RSPCA twice as long to rehome a cat over the age of three and more than three times as long to rehome an older cat, with an average of 45 days to rehome a cat over seven years old compared to a kitten which takes just 12 days.

However, the RSPCA Stourbridge branch is hoping someone will take a chance on these golden oldies who still have so much love to give.

Poppet (pictured above) has been in the care of the branch since July after she was abandoned several years previously when her owners moved out of their house and left her behind. She spent years trying to find shelter under cars, curling up on doorsteps trying to get warm, and over the years had become in a really poor condition.

Heather Cain, RSPCA Stourbridge and District branch, said: “Poor Poppet was in a truly awful condition. We spotted her when we were trying to help with another cat situation – she’s only about nine years old but she looked like she was in her teens. She was skin and bone and her coat was filthy dirty and matted.

“It was as though she had given up trying to look after herself a long time ago. It just wasn’t on her agenda when each day became about surviving the elements. When she was called over, she came to greet us and enjoyed some fuss and purred, despite everything she had been through, so we made enquiries with local residents and were able to establish her history.

“She was amazingly grateful to have been rescued and have a warm and safe environment for the first time in years. Our fosterer brushed loads of dead fur out of her coat and she is now starting to transform before our very eyes.”

Poppet had a full vet check which revealed that she is diabetic so needs insulin injections and also had some rotten teeth which were removed as soon as she was well enough.

Parker’s owners left him behind after they sold their house.

Heather added: “Poppet is extra special to us and we want to find her an extra special home, her new home needs to be relatively quiet as she is a gentle soul. She would make a brilliant companion cat as she likes to be on your lap and follow you around and also likes a nice, warm comfy spot to snooze a few hours away.

“We are hoping to find someone who has experience of diabetes and is not fazed by giving the regular insulin injections Poppet will need.”

Parker was also living outside after his owners sold their house and left him behind. The new homeowners had been feeding him since they moved in 12 months earlier, but unfortunately, at around 12 years old, his health started to deteriorate, and the new homeowners’ current pets would not tolerate him in the house, so they sought help from the branch.

Heather added: “At his grand old age, he was so grateful for a comfy, warm bed and straight away picked his favourite bed by the radiator in his foster home. Once he came into RSPCA care, he was diagnosed by vets with stage two kidney failure which can be managed with a special prescription food but will mean he requires medication in the future.

“Parker is also deaf and has a little bit of arthritis in his back legs which he takes supplements for but despite all this, he is a really gentle and friendly cat who loves fuss and some bad company. When he isn’t purring and headbutting for affection, he will happily snooze in his bed.

“What we want more than anything is for Parker to be somewhere he can be safe and happy for whatever time he has left.”

Parker would make a great companion cat as he is very friendly. Given his age, health and his hearing impairment. Parker will need access to a small patio or supervised visits to a secure garden in the summer months rather than roaming free.

He is unphased by other animals so could be rehomed with a placid dog or cat – CKD can be a difficult disease to manage so ideally, he would need an owner who has previous experience of this and will know how to ensure Parker has the happiest time for however that may be.

The branch can offer support for the cost of the on-going health conditions for both these cats provided the owners is within the branch are and continues treatment with the branch vets.

If you think you can give one of these cats a loving home, you can visit the RSPCA Stourbridge and District branch website here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘UK’s oldest dog’ shows no signs of slowing down at age of 21

Staff at Dogs Trust Salisbury believe ex-resident Queenie is the UK’s oldest dog at the grand old age of 21.

After being in their care for eight years, Queenie was eventually adopted in 2018 by Bridget Pike, who is now the rehoming centre’s interim Assistant Manager.

Bridget got to know Queenie over many years whilst she was a Canine Carer at Dogs Trust Salisbury and whilst they developed a loving bond, Bridget couldn’t offer Queenie the home environment she needed at the time. But once Bridget’s circumstances changed, she adopted, she adopted Queenie in 2018 and says she is showing “no signs of slowing down.”

Queenie shares her home with two other golden oldies, also from Dogs Trust Salisbury – Bridget’s other rescue Terriers, ten-year-old Bonnie and 12-year old Bo. Despite a collective age of 43, they all enjoy a potter around in the garden and a walk in the forest.

Other than being on some medication for her joints. Queenie is happy and healthy and certainly as a zest for life – she even fought off a severe tooth infection and an inner ear problem last year, which temporarily left her with a head tilt.

Bridget says: “Queenie is one tough cookie. Despite the fact she can’t run around like she used to, she loves to be out and about in the fresh air. I got her a doggy pushchair that I can put her in when she’s had enough of walking but still wants to be outdoors.

“She’s almost completely blind but there’s nothing wrong with her sense of smell – she knows if I haven’t topped her dog food with cooked chicken and stands there looking up at me until I add it to her food.”

Queenie arrived at Dogs Trust Salisbury in July 201 from another Dogs Trust Rehoming centre after originally being found as a stray. She had worries around meeting stranger and being touched so the team placed her in their specialist Stepping Stones rehabilitation facility, where she lived happily amongst other dogs and had dedicated staff that could cater to her needs to help her be able to cope with the things that worried her.

When Bridget adopted her, Queenie spent the first two weeks hiding in the dining room. But she soon came out of her shell and gradually ventured in other areas of the home.

She has now well and truly landed on her paws and Bridget says she’s an ‘amazing dog’ who enjoys her food, getting an early night and the occasional ‘mad five minutes’, doing zoomies around the living room.

Bridget is keen to encourage people to not overlook the golden oldies in rescue centres who are looking for a second chance.

Bridget explains: “I feel so privileged to have been able to offer Queenie a happy home in her later life – I just wish I could have done it sooner. She does have some anxieties and worries but she’s actually the easiest dog I have ever owned.

“She brings so much joy into my life, I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She has so much character and it just goes to show that you shouldn’t overlook older dogs, there’s often still plenty of life and love left in them.”

Dogs Trust Salisbury has a number of older dogs in its care at the moment and are keen to encourage people to consider the advantages of owning an older dog, which include:

1 They need less exercise but are still just as fun!

2 They are used to living in a home so come house-trained and are not as destructive as a puppy!

3 Their personality is already shaped so new owners can really understand and appreciate the dog they are welcoming into their family.

If you think you could offer a dog the warm, loving home it deserves you can call 0203 897 0536 or visit www.dogstrust.org.uk for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pony rescued from muddy bog

RSPCA officers and fire crews launched a rescue mission to save a pony stuck neck-high in muddy flood water in Northamptonshire.

The young piebald cob was stuck fast in the muddy banks of the water – in fields off Irthlingborough Road, Wellingborough – with only his back, neck and head visible.

RSPCA inspectors Michelle Hare and Susan Haywood went to help the stricken pony on Friday evening (31 January). She said: “The poor pony was so far from any roads across so it’s incredibly lucky that someone spotted him. When he arrived, we had to walk 25-minutes across the field before we found him.

“There was no access at all so Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service had to come into the field from a different side and it took them a further 20 minutes to find us in the dark.”

The pony – thought to be a youngster – was submerged in the muddy banks surrounding a large area of flooding. After two hours of trying to get to the pony, his rescuers were finally able to assess the best way to free him.

Michelle added: “We have no idea how long the poor pony was stuck neck-high in the muddy water. He was in such a remote location he could have been like that for hours – or even days. He was very lucky to have been spotted.  We put some boards down and managed to get the straps around him so we could begin trying to haul him out.”

The team eventually managed to free the little pony who was completely exhausted by the ordeal.

“He was absolutely shattered. He wouldn’t stand or move, and we were really worried about him. We couldn’t get him to a vet because we couldn’t get a trailer across the waterlogged fields. We stayed with him and finally we heard some whinnying in the distance and a large mare appeared.

“The youngster got straight to his feet, rushed over to her and started feeding. It was so lovely to see. With some warm milk in his tummy and his mum by his side. I’m sure he’ll be okay.”

Michelle is now working to speak to the horses’ owner to ensure the safety of the pony in the future.

She added: “The fields here are vast and run underneath a viaduct and between a lake and a river. When it rains heavily, they do get waterlogged but because the fields are so big the horses can always find dry standing. It seems in this case it was an unfortunate set of circumstances that the young pony strayed too far into the flooding and got himself stuck.”

Anyone who sees an animal in need of help or who has welfare concerns for any animal should contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency helpline on 0300 1234 999.

 

 

 

 

Doggie slimming club takes the biscuits

Owners of overweight dogs are being encouraged to sign-up their portly pets to Britain’s first online canine slimming club.

SlimmingDogs.co.uk is offering to help overweight dogs get healthy and shed pounds by ditching brown biscuits and poor-quality kibble.

Overweight humans have had slimming clubs for decades, but the new site is believed to be the first online fat fighting community solely for obese dogs.

For the first time pets can get the slimming dogs feeling with a programme of healthy eating and exercise designed to melt away the excess pounds.

The club has been created by healthy dog food brand Pure Pet Food to help educate owners about the problems that can be caused by a poor diet. They came up with the idea after helping hundreds of dog owners to switch to a healthier diet.

The move comes after researchers found the number of overweight dogs is currently at all all-time high in Britain. Research last year found the number of overweight dogs had risen by 50% in two years with one in eight dog owners reporting that their vets had warned them about their dog’s health.

The PDSA research suggested as many as 1.7 million dogs could currently be classed as dangerously overweight or obese in the UK alone.

Canine obesity is associated with osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer and more, and a poor diet is a major contributing factor.

The increased popularity of heavily processed dried dog foods, or kibble, over recent years is believed to be one of the factors behind the rise in dog obesity along with busy lifestyles resulting in less time for dog walks.

Now busy dog owners can sign up to join SlimmingDogs.co.uk for free to receive healthy eating and exercise advice tailor made for their pet. Like Charlie the Pug (pictured above) who was a little on the heavy side and suffered with itchy skin. His owners changed his diet with the help of Pure Pet Food and he is now well-proportioned pug.

A SlimmingDogs spokesman said: “We all love our dogs and it’s easy to fall into the trap of spoiling them with processed food and treats. But when you consider there could be almost two million overweight dogs in the UK it really is shocking and time something was done to tackle the problem.

“It’s not that dog owners don’t care it’s that they lack the information needed to ensure their dogs stay on a healthy diet. The food we feed our dogs has changed massively over the past generation with the rise in popularity of brown biscuits coming at the same time as the increase in the weight of dogs.

“We believe this is more than a coincidence and we are on a mission to help educate dog owners to the reality of pet nutrition. We hope that by joining SlimmingDogs.co.uk we can help many more owners and they dogs to return to a happy healthy lifestyle. By joining us pet owners will join a community of like-minded animal lovers eager to share information and advice.”

Miracle the kitten found in a bin finds a loving new home

A kitten called Miracle who was found in a bin in Durham just before Christmas is starting her new life with a loving family.

Miracle’s owners collected her on Saturday (1 February) and say that she is already showing her playful side and coming to them for a stroke.

Pauline Irwin, who lives near Stanley with her husband Phil and daughters Jessica and Grace, got in touch with the RSPCA after hearing Miracle’s story.

Pauline said: “We had a cat for nine years and she was such an important part of our family. We weren’t really looking for another one, but we saw her picture in the paper and fell in love. We just had to offer her a forever home, after all she had been through.”

The RSPCA appealed for information after Miracle was discovered in an industrial bin in an alley off Providence Row on Friday 20 December.

Animal Collection Office Shane Lynn said: “It really was a Christmas miracle. A passer-by heard the 10-week old’s cried and called the RSPCA. I had to use a ladder to climb into the bin and get her out so there was no way she was going to be able to do so herself. The chances of her being found were slim to say the least.”

Shane took Miracle to the RSPCA Cat Rehoming Hub in Darlington where she was cared for by one of its volunteer cat fosterers – and renamed Luna. Set up by five local RSPCA branches, the Cat Hub rehomes cats rescued by RSPCA officers across the North East and on Saturday the now lucky Luna became the 500th cat to be rehomed by the Hub since it opened in April 2018.

RSPCA Cat Hub Rehoming Co-ordinator Sophie Moran-Barker said: “Pauline and her family were first to see Luna after Christmas and reserved her straight away. We are particularly pleased that Luna is the cat who takes us to the milestone of 500 cats rehomed, as she had such a terrible start in life.

“The Hub was established with the aim of rehoming 120 cats each year, so rehoming 500 cats in less than two years means that we are performing very well. Up to 30 cats and kittens are available for rehoming at the Hub at any one time. As soon as one cat leaves, another comes in, so we are always fundraising and grateful for any support.”

The first of its type in the country, the Hub was established by local RSPCA branches to deal with the growing problem of abandoned and neglected cats in the region and is funded by donations from the general public and by business sponsorship.

The five RSPCA branches that set up the Cat Hub are:

  • RSPCA Sunderland, Hartlepool & South Tyneside branch
  • RSPCA Darlington & District branch
  • RSPCA North Teeside & District branch
  • RSPCA Northallerton, Thirsk & Dales branch
  • RSPCA Middlesbrough South Tees & District branch

Anyone who would like to support their great work can visit www.cathub.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

The nation’s sleepiest pets revealed: fifteen of the cutest competition entries

Pet parents across the UK have been submitting hilarious and adorable photos of their furry friends sleeping and now the very best have been revealed.

Recent research found that over a third of Brits don’t let their pets sleep on their bed, so many need to find somewhere else to rest their head. This can lead to them dozing off in some rather bizarre places and positions.

To show just how cute and funny snoozing animals can be, online bed and mattress specialist, Bed SOS, launched a competition to find the nation’s sleepiest pets.

After receiving over 650 entries. Amy Briscoe from Southampton has been chosen as the winner and will receive a brand-new bed worth up to £400. Amy’s picture of her cat, Spartacus, sleeping awkwardly on a towel rail had the judges in stitches.

Danny Richmond, Managing Director of Bed SOS, said: “The standard of the entries was incredibly high and we faced the almost impossible task of narrowing down hundreds of adorable pictures of pets to select the winner. We felt that Amy’s entry perfectly showcases just how cute, and strange, pets can be.”

Amy passed on a comment from Spartacus, saying: “This new bed means that I can snuggle up ALL day in comfort. I won’t ever get off the new bed and I will be the happiest cat alive.”

You can see Amy’s entry below, alongside 14 of the next best entries from the competition.

1 Amy Briscoe, from Southampton, won the competition. Her cat Spartacus finds the strangest place to sleep and is pictured here doing his best impression of a towel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Hannah Hudson, from Leeds, shared this photo of Ted and Tinks cuddled together in their bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Birmingham resident, Charlie Brunton, found his four-year old cat Chizzy snoozing in the wok.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Melanie Burton, from East London, found Daisy asleep half in, half out of her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Sue Hindmarsh, from Teeside, shared this photo of her dogs Holly and Bella getting cosy on the sofa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Michelle Barrows, from Winscombe, Somerset, found seven-year old Bobby using the laundry basket as a bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Cumbria resident, Karen Wilson sent in this photo of 15-year old Bradley napping in a Thermos bag. That’s one cool cat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Lance Bellers from Brighton bought his dog Sadie this Koala from Australia. She loves cuddling it in her sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Elisha Jamieson, from Port Glasgow woke her dog Mackeral up from his nap in her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 West Sussex resident, Judit Juhasz finds her 10-year old dog Molly asleep in some unusual poses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Lorraine Kirk from Derbyshire submitted this photo of Groucho falling out of bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Georgina Harrison from Bolton shared this photo of twelve-week old Kynda. When she’s not napping she works as a support dog. What an angel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 Sonia Chandler, from Chichester rescued five-year old Marley from a shelter in Romania. He likes to guard the remote in his sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Northampton resident Emma Asante’s cat, Kit is looking very snug inside her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Hayley Collier’s eight-year old daughter Khlow, from Windsor, loves napping with their new puppy Isco.

 

 

 

 

Heaviest doggie due ever looking for big-hearted owners

Dogs Trust Newbury is hoping to find big-hearted owners with an equally large sofa for a mother and daughter doggie duo.

Dogue de Bordeauxs, three-year old Honey and her mum five-year old Roxy are devoted to one another and tip the scales at almost 100kg combined.

They arrived at the Hamstead Marshall-based rehoming centre in January through no fault of their own and have lived together all their lives. Staff say that they are the heaviest doggie duo they’ve ever had and are looking for an owner who can offer double the love and give this adorable pair a forever home.

Dogue de Bordeauxs are a large breed and on average weigh between 55=65kg as adult dogs. Weighing a whopping 93kgs combined – about the same as the average washing machine – Roxy and Honey are gentle giants and looking for owners who aren’t put off by their size.

Sadly, they have had little interest since arriving at the rehoming centre and staff say that the fact that they are an extra-large breed needing to be rehomed together is possibly putting adopters off, but they will do everything they can to find a home for them.

Anthony Dominy, Rehoming Centre Manager at Dogs Trust Newbury, said: “When pairs of dogs come into our care, we always try to rehome them together so we’re really hoping someone comes forward soon.

“Roxy and Honey are absolute sweethearts who adore each other. They are gentle giants with sensitive souls and are always up for a fuss and giving slobbery kisses. They are very attached and will happily spend all day with each other and they need each other for confidence.

“Taking on a doggy duo, can be extremely rewarding – whilst it’s double the responsibility, you’ll also find that it’s double the love and you’ll certainly get that from these two beauties. Together they are a fantastic pair and can be shy initially but soon become friendly with everyone they meet.

“They could live with children older than 12 and have lived in a home previously so are housetrained and would be happy to be left for a couple of hours once they are settled, but would benefit from someone being around for most of the day, whilst they get used to their environment. Once Honey and Roxy have settled in, they will be loving and loyal companions.”

If you think you have the space in your heart and your home for Roxy and Honey you can contact Dogs Trust Newbury on 01488 505157.

 

 

 

 

Fish4Dogs welcome three new team members

Three is a magic number at Fish4Dogs which is welcoming a trip of new appointments with an eclectic range of experience from engineering and manufacturing to zookeeping.

The additions to the Fish4Dogs family – Kirsty Ashmead, Harriet Cook and Katy Farmer – will join the Customer Services and Marketing Teams.

Kirsty has experienced the power of Fish4Dogs first-hand. In one of her previous roles as a Carnivore Keeper for West Midlands Safari Park, she found the lure of Fish4Dogs Mousse would beckon the big cats for bedtime.

Kirsty reveals: “In the past, I used the mousse for getting naughty lions in at night. So, I am delighted to be joining Fish4Dogs which has a fantastic range of products all naturally derived from fish which has amazing health benefits for animals.”

Kirsty also has retail experience within the pet sector having worked at Pets at Home, she joins the Fish4Dogs Customer Services team, responding to calls and emails, processing orders and dealing with customer enquiries on the phone and social platforms.

Joining her as a fellow Customer Services Advisor is Harriet Cook, whose experience in business administration, marketing communications and customer service has extended across a range of sectors from construction and engineering to bathroom and plumbing.

As a competitive horse ride and owner of Adarah, a tri-coloured warmblood mare, she has a real passion for animals and their health and wellbeing. Harriet also has a 12-week old grey kitten called Oscar.

Katy Farmer joins the Marketing team as marketing assistant with extensive experience in international marketing. She previously worked as marketing coordinator for a global aluminium extrusion company which operated in 40 countries worldwide. During 17 years with the company, she worked across seven sites in the UK undertaking a full range of marketing activities.

She is looking forward to joining a completely new and exciting industry and is well-placed as the owner of two cockapoos Dash, aged six and bundle of fluff, Digby, who is just 16 weeks.

Graham Smith, CEO of Fish4Dogs, welcomed the new members of the team. He said: “We are privileged to have three people join the company with such extensive skills and experience. Our Fish4Dogs family is wonderful diverse and full of people who being knowledge and talents from different areas of business and walks of life.”

 

 

 

 

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance launch new interactive tool to help pet owners avoid pet regrets

New research from Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance found that more than a fifth of pet owners have regretted choosing their pet’s breed.

Reasons for regret included that they didn’t have enough time to look after the animal, they turned out to be allergic to the pet (18%) and because they didn’t like their pet’s personality (16%).

Despite being a nation of animal lovers, the study also reveals that more than half of cat and dog owners don’t research their pet’s breed before ownership, and only 18% spent more than a week researching the right breed for their lifestyle.

The research also revealed that more than a fifth of pet owners have rehomed an animal and dog owners are more likely to regret their pup, 26%, compared to cat owners, 16%.

The statistics echo the latest figures from the RSPCA as the charity rehomes over 40,000 pets in a year.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance has launched the Pawfect Match tool to enable future pet owners to make informed decisions when choosing the most suitable breed for them.

The tool enables dog and cat owners to research various breeds including how much exercise they will need; how excitable the animal is and how well they get on with children.

TV vet, Dr Scott Miller commented: “I am saddened to hear that so many pet owners are regretting the animals they have chosen as companions. Dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes and have different temperaments. Looking after a pet is a huge commitment so it is important that people undertake adequate research before buying a pet to ensure it is a happy experience for you and the animal.

“If a pet owner is struggling to look after their animal, I urge them to speak to a professional for advice. The Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance website also includes top tips for each dog and cat breed on how to care for these incredible creatures.”

The study also found that half of people decided to get a pet for companionship and 38% because a pet can offer unconditional love. Some pet owners admitted getting a pet breed because it had either appeared in a film or a celebrity owns them.

Jason King, Customer Director at Sainsbury’s Bank said: “Britain is a nation of animal lovers and pets are part of the family. We understand how important it is to undertake research before adopting or purchasing a pet, including what type of pet insurance is best suited to your dog or cat’s needs.

“Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance now offers lifeline cover for cats and dogs so that their owners can have peace of mind should anything happen to their four-legged friends.”

Visit the Sainsbury’s Bank Pawfect Match tool to understand more about pet breeds and how to care for your pet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charity searches for UK fattest dogs

Vet charity, PDSA is searching for the UK’s fattest dogs as it launches its annual pet slimming competition – Pet Fit Club.

Now in its 15th year, the competition aims to help tackle the UK’s pet obesity crisis – as the charity’s stats reveal up to half of UK pets (56% of dogs, 34% of cats and 30% of rabbits) are believed to be overweight or obese.

The most common reasons given by UK vets and vet nurses for excess weight in pets are: owner’s lack of recognition that their pet is overweight; feeding ‘treats’ or human food, and inappropriate portion sizes. All of which could be leaving our four-legged friend’s health, happiness and life-expectancy at serious risk.

Since 2005, Pet Fit Club has helped 143 pets (89 dogs, 44 cats, eight rabbits and two rats) lose 513kg (80st 12lb) – equivalent to a popular bear! The 2019 Pet Fit Club Champ, Luigi the Beagle, lost an impressive 8.7kg (1st 5lb) – 30% of his bodyweight – and 8 inches from his waist.

The charity, which provides free and reduced cost veterinary care to pets in need, is urging owners to enter their pets for the slimming competition to help them battle the bulge at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said: “Pet obesity has been a huge problem in the UK for many years and sadly there is no sign of improvement, with nearly one in every two pets seen by vets and vet nurses overweight or obese. This is a serious health issue, one of the biggest currently threatening pet wellbeing across the UK.

“Pets who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. Being overweight can also seriously aggravate other health problems, such as heart disease. For example, Pugs and French Bulldogs already struggle to breath because of their flat faces but carrying excess inches can make this much worse.

“Research has also shown that carrying too much weight can reduce a dog’s life expectancy by up to 2 years and 6 months.”

Selected pets are placed on a six-month diet and exercise programme, individually tailored to their needs and overseen by vets and vet nurses at their local PDSA Pet Hospital.

Participants receive free diet pet food for the duration of the competition, and the overall Pet Fit Club Champ, crowned at the end of 2020, will win a year’s free pet food and a pet friendly holiday.

Owners can find out more and apply online at pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub or by calling the Pet Fit Club team on 01952 797246. The closing date is Sunday 8 March 2020.

Nina adds: “We know that we are a nation of animal lovers, but unfortunately a lot of pet owners show their love and affection using food. And as the waistlines of the pet population have expanded, our understanding of a ‘healthy shape’ has become distorted – seeing overweight pets becomes normal. Recognising a healthy body shape – and if there is a problem – is the first step to making a positive change for your pet’s health.

“Most pets would be just as happy with extra attention – an extra walk or playtime – than food. And ‘treats’ of human food or too-large portions can be very bad for them. They should be fed a complete pet food suitable for their age and weight, with only occasional healthy treats, such as a few slices of carrot for dogs and a small piece of white fish or meat for cats. Our pets also need regular, varied exercise, suitable for their age and health, to keep their bodies and minds stimulated.”

Nina concludes: “Pet Fit Club helps transform the UK’s fattest pets into fit and healthy animals. Pets that could barely walk, climb stairs or fit through cat flaps will be given a new lease of life. Prevention is always better than cure, but it is never too late to make a change. With the right advice, a good diet, suitable exercise and a bit of willpower, owners have the ability to make a real difference to their pet’s lives. So, we’re urging owners who have the overweight pets to enter today.”

You can enter Pet Fit Club at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub