Overweight dog that resembled a puffer fish slimmed down in RSPCA care

A dog which was so fat she resembled a puffer fish has been returned to a healthy weight under RSPCA care and is now loving her new life in a new home.

Lily, a Jack Russell-type dog, was overfed by her former owner and not getting enough exercise. She was found to be almost twice the weight she should have been when the RSPCA were called out to help.

Animal rescuer, inspector Demi Hodby visited the dog, aged 8, in her previous home and tried to work with the owner to help Lily slim down and enjoy some quality of life.

But the owner was struggling to meet her needs so agreed to sign the pet over into the care of the RSPCA and she was taken to the Lancashire East branch to be cared for.

On her arrival Lily was found to be almost twice the weight of a healthy dog of her breed – weighing in at a whopping 13.7kg when she was admitted on January 26.

Demi said: “When I went to see her I couldn’t believe her size – she reminded me of a puffer fish. She was blown up like a balloon. She couldn’t even walk to my van so I had to carry her. Lily had no quality of life and was in real danger of dying prematurely from heart failure so she really did need help.”

Once at the RSPCA branch staff got to work on providing Lily with a special diet dog food and was given a number of small feeds.

As she lost weight she was also able to exercise more which helped her slim down and when she was re-homed with her new owner Ruth *, aged 80, on May 30 she was a healthy 7.7kgs.

Jeanette Aimscough, animal centre manager at the branch, said: “Poor Lily looked like a balloon on legs when she first came to us and she struggled to move.  She even had sores on her belly from it rubbing against the floor as she walked – she was struggling to breath and panting. But as she lost weight she began to enjoy playing – she was certainly a couch potato and we were delighted when she went to her new home and we know she is now enjoying a new lease of life and is much more active.”

Ruth said Lily is still having her special diet and has now learned how to run so is enjoying some exercise which she was previously unable to do.

She said: “My other pet dog died so I was looking for an older companion and I came across Lily and was more than happy to adopt her. She is a lovely girl – she likes to cuddle and sleep on the sofa – but has also found out how to run now so loves to have a little trott around.

“She is still on a special diet and seems to be really happy and settled (pictured right). She is a fantastic dog and I am so pleased to care for her.” (Right, pictured in her new home)

Figures have suggested that almost half of all cats and dogs are overweight.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Pet obesity is a serious welfare issue affecting a large proportion of our pets today. Recent studies have suggested that around half of all pet dogs are overweight and this can cause serious health and welfare issues for them such as heart disease and diabetes.

“Obesity can affect all types of pets and the main cause is from eating too much or not exercising enough. As a rough guide for dogs and cats – you should be able to see and feel the outline of their ribs without excess fat covering them. Other tips are that you should be able to see and feel their waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above. Anyone who is concerned about their pet’s weight should speak to their vet for advice.”

If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight please speak to your vet for advice. If you’d like to adopt a cat from the RSPCA please visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet for more information.