Cheese on toast off the menu for plump pooch
A cocker spaniel with a liking for cheese on toast has ballooned to nearly six stones in weight.
Four-year-old Diesel piled on the pounds after his owner Marie Shacklady, from Blackpool, Lancashire, admitted she handed out too many treats to him when she was grieving for her mother.
Although Diesel was the largest pup in the litter when he was adopted by Mrs Shacklady, vets from PDSA (The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) warned her he was carrying more than double his ideal weight.
Mrs Shacklady, 52, said her wake-up call came when Diesel bounded off her sofa and hurt his back paw.
She said: "My mother died in August 2011 and I was feeling very down. In the New Year, I went to look around some kennels and ended up taking on Diesel.
"My mum used to watch the TV programme Send in the Dogs and her favourite dog was a Spaniel called Diesel, so that's how I picked his name.
"I admit I used to give him too many treats. He loves toast, with butter or cheese, and I used to give him a bit of sandwich if I was having one.
"I would look at him, especially when I was still grieving my mother, and would just give him a treat because he was helping me through everything."
PDSA vets have advised Mrs Shacklady to change the diet of Diesel, who weighs five stone 10lbs (38kg), and to increase his exercise.
Mrs Shacklady added: "We're now going on long walks on the beach every day and hopefully we can help him lose some of the weight."
Vet Vicki Larkham-Jones said: "Our research shows that vets are reporting increasing numbers of obese pets and that is a worrying trend.
"Just like in humans, obesity can lead to serious complications for our pets and it's important to recognise if your animals are carrying too many pounds.
"Thankfully in Diesel's case, Marie has taken advice from our vets and with increased exercise and a tight control on what he's fed, he can hopefully look forward to a happier and healthier future."
PDSA has warned of a national pet obesity crisis with new research indicating that nearly five million cats, dogs and rabbits are receiving inappropriate treats such as cake, chocolate, chips, takeaway and even alcohol.
To help fight the flab, PDSA has launched its annual Pet Fit Club competition - a six-month diet and exercise programme, tailored and overseen by expert vets and nurses.
The charity will select up to 12 overweight dogs, cats and rabbits from across the UK to participate.
Owners can enter their pets at www.pdsa.org.uk/petfitclub