Own a podgy pooch? Dublin based swimming clubs could help them shed the pounds
It may not be the most conventional approach, but some people are bringing their dogs to a custom-built swimming pool to help them lose weight.
A number of centres throughout Dublin have begun catering specifically for dogs who are battling their weight or other health problems.
One centre, the Canine Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre in Sallins, Co Kildare has a swimming pool where canine lovers bring their pets to help them shed the pounds.
The centre has a number of regular dog owners who travel and pay €35 for an hour-long session to help their dogs lose weight.
However, most slots at the centre are reserved for priority cases, including dogs with arthritis, spinal injuries and cruciate ligament injuries.
So many owners are now bringing their dogs to the swimming pool that there is a waiting list of up to 40 people.
Manager and owner Mick Murphy was inspired to build the centre six years ago when he saw what he calls a "gap in the market".
Mr Murphy says that people come "from all over" for the service.
"People would bring them as a part of a weight management program," he told the Herald.
"They would put their dog on a reduced calorie diet and they would take them to do hydrotherapy as well to get the weight down. We were doing a lot more [weight management] at the start, but we tend to give preference to the really bad cases, like spinal injuries and cruciate injuries now.
"But we would have people who are coming here on a weekly basis just to keep their dogs fit and they've been coming for the last couple of years. They have a regular slot," he added.
The centre offers a number of services, such as a swimming pool where the dogs swim together, and an underwater treadmill which is used to treat dogs with spinal injuries.
"When we started off first we had to go around to all the vets and educate them on what we were doing, and what benefit it could be," Mr Murphy said.
No dog's dinner as Oscar is a winner
A slimmed-down spaniel has won a pet weight loss contest after shedding almost 40pc of his bodyweight in just six months.
Ten-year-old Oscar once tipped the scales at 3st 6lb (22kg) but is now a trim 2st 1lb (13kg) after taking part in a UK veterinary charity's annual Pet Fit Club.
He was put on a strict diet and exercise programme, including hydrotherapy, after getting fat on Sunday dinners and leftovers, leaving him breathless on walks around the garden. Oscar's owner, June Lawrence (78), from Wolverhampton, admits that she spoiled the dog after her husband died last year.
June's daughter, Karen Allen, said: "Before Pet Fit Club Oscar didn't get much exercise. My mother is disabled so struggled to walk him.
"As he piled on the pounds he wanted to exercise even less and it became a vicious cycle. He is a completely different dog now - like a puppy again."
A Chihuahua called Tyty, from Glasgow, and Kaspa, a Labrador from Cardiff, each lost 29pc of their bodyweight and were awarded joint second place.